Citing what they describe as a culture saturated with “sexy young vampires,” tarot cards, New Age spirituality, and a burgeoning interest in the occult, the premier demon-fighters in the Catholic Church are gearing up to train a new generation of priests in the fine art of exorcism.

Crux dipped into a week-long course on “Exorcism and the Prayers of Liberation,” offered by an institute for priests linked to the Legionaries of Christ religious order, which is Rome’s largest seminar on exorcism that carries a seal of approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy. In it, clerics are armed both with ancient techniques and cutting-edge data from the latest sociological and psychological studies of post-modern spiritual trends.

More than 170 priests from various parts of the world traveled to Rome in mid-April to learn about the most misunderstood, and also most endlessly fascinating, feature of Catholic life, at a time when nobody in the Church is talking more openly or often about the influence of the Devil than Pope Francis himself.

Read Inés San Martín’s report on Crux tomorrow.