More on Italian Satanism

The British Daily Telegraph adds some more details about the “Satanism and Exorcism” course at the pontifical Regina Apostolorum (discussed here a couple of days ago) and Satanism in Italy:

A recent resurgence of interest in Satanism has been fuelled by films such as Exorcist: The Beginning (2004). A respected research institute, Eurispes, has catalogued 650 satanic organisations in Italy, many around Milan and Rome.

Church officials estimate that half a million Italians have had contact with satanic sects.

Exorcist: The Beginning? Could that turkey – a religiously-illiterate mass of clichés that wasn’t even particularly scary – really be an inspiration for anything? And two other questions come to mind: a) how many members are in these “650 satanic organisations”? and b) what does “contact with satanic sects” mean? I’ve flicked through a copy of LaVey’s Satanic Bible – is that “contact”?

I’ve also been unable to track down this “catalogue” that Eurispes is supposed to have compiled. In fact, the only information on the subject from Eurispes that I could find is from a report that came out in November: Infanzia e Adolescenza: Rapporto EURISPES – Telefono Azzurro 2004. The report contains the following:

Satanismo e sette sataniche. Il satanismo «(…) è una religione basata (….) sull’adorazione di Satana che può essere inteso sia come divinità malefica a sé stante, che come avversario del dio cristiano».

Le sette sataniche, a differenza delle altre sette religiose di tipo ordinario, rivolgono la propria fedeltà, più che alla personalità carismatica, alla stessa dottrina satanica.

Nel documento del Ministero dell’Interno del febbraio 1998 vengono individuati nove gruppi “satanico-luciferini” per un totale di 200 adepti.

Il CESNUR (Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni), nel 2002, elenca le sette sataniche in Italia specificando il numero di adepti: Bambini di Satana (50 adepti); Chiesa di Satana – razionalista (20 adepti); Chiesa di Satana – occultista (20 adepti); Gruppi minori (20 adepti).

Sempre il Cesnur parla inoltre di 5.000 adepti nel mondo e stima che il maggior numero di aderenti si trovi negli Usa, seguiti da quelli di Spagna e Scandinavia. È invece impossibile un censimento sul Satanismo giovanile o “acido” per le proprietà di de-strutturazione gruppale che caratterizza il fenomeno.

Infine dai dati dell’indagine campionaria pubblicata nel 4° Rapporto Nazionale sulla Condizione dell’Infanzia e l’Adolescenza (Eurispes, Telefono Azzurro, 2003) emerge che sia i bambini sia gli adolescenti utilizzano Internet come mezzo per comunicare con gli altri.

Tali dati preoccupano soprattutto se si considera che tra i bambini che si collegano ad Internet (47,6%) il 9,4% lo fa per chattare e il 13,8% per usare la posta elettronica, mentre tra gli adolescenti (67,8% di essi si collega ad Internet) la percentuale di coloro che chattano sale al 26,4% e l’utilizzo della posta elettronica al 35%.

La Polizia Postale, attraverso il monitoraggio di siti satanici on line e basando la metodologia sul conteggio dei motori di ricerca, ha evidenziato un fortissimo aumento dei siti satanici tra il 1999 e il 2003.

  • Club satanisti su Internet:
  • Anno 1999: 114 siti satanici
  • Anno 2000: 277 siti satanici
  • Anno 2001: 322 siti satanici
  • Anno 2002: 502 siti satanici
  • Anno 2003: 1.010 siti satanici

Actually, I’ve never learnt Italian, but with a bit of common sense and help from Babelfish, it’s pretty obvious that this “650 satanic groups” does not appear. What’s more, the report cites studies by CESNUR and the Ministero dell’Interno for its information on Satanism, but makes no mention of any other report Eurispes itself (apart from on the topic of internet usage by teenagers), so one suspects that this is all there is. And what’s the conclusion?

Nel documento del Ministero dell’Interno del febbraio 1998 vengono individuati nove gruppi “satanico-luciferini” per un totale di 200 adepti…Sempre il Cesnur parla inoltre di 5.000 adepti nel mondo

In other words, according to the Ministero dell’Interno, there are 200 members in total in Italy, and according to CESNUR, 5,000 in the world. A 2003 report on CESNUR’s website gives a figure of 240 organised Satanists in Italy, but notes this figure does not include isolated Satanists or juvenile delinquents:

from the police data, which concern different Italian regions, we can presume that in Italy the phenomenon in question involves about a thousand people while a more restricted circle (2.000-3.000 people) adopts styles typical of the satanic subculture (clothes, symbols, gestures…) without yet taking parts in any real activities of the juvenile satanism groups.

These statistics are hardly surprising or shocking (and by the way: the fact that not one hack who has covered this story bothered to contact CESNUR is pretty shabby).

Bizarrely, the Telegraph then decides to balance its report, not with a comment from an Italian Satanist, but with the spokesperson of the British branch of the Church of Satan:

Gavin Baddeley, a leading member of the Church of Satan in Britain, which has 4,000 members, and a contributing editor to its official magazine, Satannia, said exorcisms by the Catholic Church sometimes caused serious injury.

More sources on statistics for the UK and the world (but not Italy) can found on (scroll down).

5 Responses

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  3. […] small groups of teenagers get up to this sort of thing (as in the recent case in Italy, which I blogged on at the time). Kouri then starts going further off the rails: How many Satanic practitioners are […]

  4. […] question of how many Italian Satanists there are has been discussed on this blog before. While Benzi has 600,000 members in 8,000 sects, a Telegraph report in mid-2005 cited a […]

  5. […] have blogged on fears about Satanism in Italy several times in the past, such as here and […]

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