ROME – A group of international exorcists has raised the alarm about a new children’s book teaching kids how to interact with and summon demons, saying the publication is not only a spiritual threat, but is a disguised attempt to lure young people into satanism.

“You don’t mess around with demons. Whoever invites a child to summon a demon is like a person who puts a grenade in their hands to play with. Sooner or later the child will pull the pin and the bomb will explode in their hands,” the International Association of Exorcists said in a statement last week.

“Whoever invites a child to summon a demon is telling them that it’s possible to get help from a criminal to get something. Whoever invites a child to summon a demon is causing them to lose their identity and to be morally, psychologically and spiritually destroyed,” they said, adding that those who invite children to summon demons are already “an ‘ally’ of the demons.”

The statement, released Dec. 11 and signed by Father Francesco Bamonte, president of the association, was in reference to a new children’s book titled, A Children’s Book of Demons. Published in May, the book is directed to children aged 5-10 and was penned by Aaron Leighton, an award-winning illustrator and known fan of occult practices.

A description of the book speaks directly to children, saying: “Don’t want to take out the trash tonight? Maybe you’re swimming in homework? Perhaps that big bully is being a real drag? Well grab your coloured pencils and sigil drawing skills and dial up some demons! This paranormal parody is filled to the brim with funny spirits more silly than scary!”

“Summoning demons has never been so fun!” it says.

Several websites carrying the book have described it as a “playful guide” that allows readers, most of whom will presumably be children, to conjure “gentle demons” by drawing their “sigil,” or magical symbol, after they wake up in the mornings.

Decked with colorful images of some 20 different demons, the book urges children to summon these dark creatures in order to do everything from making themselves sick in order to get out of school and eat ice cream all day, to hypnotizing others and giving themselves “genius-level” smartness.

After the description of each demon, some of which include disclaimers warning kids that allowing a specific demon into their head can be a bit “freaky,” children are instructed to draw the demon’s symbol in a specific color after they wake up in order to summon it.

Coloring pages are also provided so kids can color in the demons they have been taught to summon. The concept of summoning is simplified so as to be understood by young children, with the symbols described as a “telephone number” through which they can contact the demons.

When doing an internet search, the book falls under the genres of “humor,” “fantasy fiction” and “children’s literature.”

In their statement, the exorcists said the book is part of a wider modern attempt to propose satanism “as a normal alternative” to other forms of worship or philosophies of life.

“It goes so far as to affirm that if devil worship is limited to the simple celebration of the devil and those who practice it do not commit crimes, there is nothing wrong,” they said, explaining that this points to a clear and complete lack of discernment between good and evil.

Satanism, they said, not only allows the person to be overcome by the demons they summon, but sooner or later it leads those who practice it into falling victim to a dark internal transformation which leads them to develop “a behavior according to principles that are destructive and harmful to human dignity.”

They condemned the book as part of a “nefarious project” initiated in the 1970s of normalizing contact with demons and seeing the practice of satanism as something positive, cautioning that the symbols provided are similar to those often found in “grimoires,” or textbooks for magic which offer instructions on how to create objects such as talismans and amulets, how to perform spells and invoke spirits.

“Whoever invites a child to invoke demons is inviting them and preparing them to be unhappy,” they said, “because they do not present them for what they really are: good angels who voluntarily become evil, enemies of God and of humanity, beings full of hatred toward every man, intent on suggesting every evil and every perversity, with the sole purpose of pitting ourselves against one another and in the end definitively separating us from God and leading us into eternal perdition, an endless suffering.”

The book, they said, is one of many new forms of occultism disguised as a game in order to lure in young people by advertising it as something positive, but which ultimately leads to devil worship.

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Exorcists for years have spoken out against several common vehicles they believe are used to open the door to demonic possession, such as an increasing devotion to “Santa Muerte,” meaning “Holy Death” or “Saint Death,” in many parts of Latin America.

Documentaries and TV shows such as the hit series “Sabrina” on Netflix have also been condemned by exorcists as contributing to the normalization of satanism and occultism, especially amongst the young.

Shamanism, a practice in which a person strives to attain altered states of consciousness in order to interact with what they believe to be a spirit world, has also increased among young people, as well as  games such as Ouija boards and the “Charlie Charlie challenge,” in which players cross two pencils on a grid with sectors marking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and ask a supernatural reality, “Charlie,” to answer the questions they ask.

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In their statement, the exorcists condemned the “dark practice” of these games and devotions, as well as Leighton’s book, saying they “totally [subvert] the discernment between what is good and what is bad.”

“Here, perhaps, more than elsewhere the words of the Lord are valid,” they said, and quoting from Chapter 18 of Matthew’s Gospel, added that “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Follow Elise Harris on Twitter: @eharris_it

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