Vatican University Hopes Satanism Classes Will Help Explain Heavy Metal Ritual Killings

Worried about ritual killings in Italy by sect members that belonged to a heavy metal band called BEASTS OF SATAN, a Vatican-recognized university has launched a course to help priests and seminarians understand what makes people turn to the occult, according to the Associated Press. The class is billed as the first of its kind, with wide-ranging instruction by exorcists, psychologists and a police criminologist.

One of the victims of the ritual killings was a 19-year-old stabbed to death in 1998. She may have been targeted because her killers believed she was a personification of the Virgin Mary, prosecutors allege. Another victim was shot last year and buried alive.

Beyond the violence, Italian officials are concerned about young people who develop personal forms of Satanism, outside the sects closely monitored by police. They often learn about the devil through the Internet.

"It's a more spontaneous and hidden phenomenon, a problem of loneliness and isolation, a problem of emptiness, that is fulfilled by the values of Satanism," said Carlo Climati, an author who will teach a course on the devil's lure to young people. Read more.

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