Exorcist squad hired to fight Satan in Madrid

The church has selected eight recruits who will undergo special training to combat what has been described as an "unprecedented rise" in cases of "demonic possession".

Exorcist squad hired to fight Satan in Madrid
Catholics in Spain are taking on Beelzebub with a crack damned-buster exorcism squad. Photo: GIULIO NAPOLITANO/AFP

The Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio María Rouco Varela, has taken the unprecedented step of selecting eight priests to lock horns with Satan as expert exorcists.

Press agency EFE reports that the exorcists' specialist ghostbuster training will be led by Cesar Franco, one of the Spanish capital's three auxiliary bishops.

According to online website 'Religious Freedom', the decision was taken personally by Archbishop Rouco Valera to meet an avalanche of requests for help from the faithful to fight their otherworldly foe.

Many alleged victims of demonic possession and evil influence claim to have opened the gateway to hell with occult practices such as black magic, palmistry, Ouija boards and fortune telling.

Sources close to the Archbishop would confirm only that the issue is "being studied".

No priests are currently licensed to perform exorcisms in the Madrid area, and all would-be banishers of evil must be personally approved by the Archbishop himself.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that : "When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism."

Church rules say that a "Major Exorcism" can only be performed by a priest authorized by the bishop.

Seasoned exorcists are said to begin with the textbook Rituale Romanum but improvise somewhat once the tête-à-tête with Satan is underway.

Author José María Zavala, whose book, 'This is how you beat the Devil', will be used to train the rookie damned-busters, said that only 18 active exorcists are currently registered in Spain.

Zavala named Father Salvador Hernández Ramón of Cartagena in Murcia, as the Spanish priest generally considered most fit to battle Beelzebub after years of doing regular exorcise routines around the country .

He noted: "Father Salvador spent a year in Rome exorcising with Father Gabriele Amorth. Father Salvador is the top exorcist in Spain, very famous within the church but barely known outside it."

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No flip-flops or hot pants: Seville Cathedral imposes strict dress code

There’s a time and a place for everything, they say, and tourists are being given a reminder of that when they try to enter the sacred interior of one of Spain’s most visited monuments.

No flip-flops or hot pants: Seville Cathedral imposes strict dress code
The signs appeared at Seville Cathedral gateways this week.

Authorities at Seville Cathedral have felt the need to instil some decorum on the masses, insisting that beachwear and even casual summer attire are not suitable for church.

This week signs went up at the doors of the Andalusian capital’s most visited tourist attraction pointing out the strict dress code.

Photo: DepositPhotos

From now on those who want to climb the famous Giralda tower to take in the breathtaking views across the cathedral rooftops and city beyond, or pay their respect at the tomb of the explorer who discovered the Americas (Christopher Columbus is said to be buried here) must be dressed appropriately.

No flip-flops, hot pants, beach wear or hats. And both men and women must remove headgear such as sunhats, baseball caps or visors.

“To preserve respect for the sacred character of the temple, we remind you that in the summer months it will be essential to comply with the rules of decorum in clothing,” states a message from the Cathedral Council on its website.

“Dressing appropriately promotes coexistence, cordiality and respect, showing the correct sensitivity for a visit to a cathedral.

“Please remove headwear when entering and refrain from wearing beach shoes. Ladies will not be allowed entry wearing vest tops, miniskirts or hotpants and men should not dress in tank tops.”

Visitors are also advised not to raise their voices, race around, or smoke, eat or drink within Cathedral itself.

READ MORE: 14 reasons why you should visit Seville this year