I don't usually post about man-bites-dog stories, but this one is just too hard to resist:
The Catholic Church has vowed to "fight the Devil head-on" by training hundreds of priests as exorcists.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 82, the Exorcist in Chief, announced the initiative amid church concerns about growing worldwide interest in Satanism and the occult.
Under plans being considered, each bishop would have a group of priests in his diocese who were specially trained in exorcism and on hand to take action against "extreme Godlessness". ...
"Now bishops are to be obliged to have a number of established exorcists for their diocese. Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil. You have to hunt high and low for a proper, trained exorcist."
Now, I haven't actually been in the position of having to hunt high and low for a proper, trained exorcist, but I did have to look for a good plumber recently, and that was definitely no picnic. So I can totally empathize.
But unfortunately for the nearly unlimited future humor potential of the story, Father Amorth was apparently speaking out of turn:
Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, flatly denied the Petrus report. The papal spokesman said: "Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of ordering local bishops to bring in garrisons of exorcists to fight demonic possession.”
Ah well. Still, you have to admit that this is a lot more interesting than your run-of-the-mill internal organizational turf war.