The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.
Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.
They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of "Godlessness."
Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.
Father Paolo Scarafoni, who lectures on the Vatican's exorcism course, said interest in Satanism and the occult has grown as people lost faith with the church.
He added: "People suffer and think that turning to the Devil can help solve their problems. We are being bombarded by requests for exorcisms."
The Vatican is particularly concerned that young people are being exposed to the influence of Satanic sects through rock music and the Internet.
Can I laugh now?
I mean seriously, does Pope Benedict actually believe that my problem is Satanism and that a good exorcism is going to save me from godlessness? Or for that matter that godlessness equals Satanism? If he does believe either of these things the man is obviously mentally ill. I mean, what century does he think he's living in if Satanism is a viable diagnosis? This man epitomizes everything that is wrong with theists. They are living in a century which no longer exists. And truth be told, the wackier their beliefs the longer ago that century was. And Benedict, for his part, seems to be living in the 13th century.
And the next time a theist claims that real believers don't really believe the nutty things atheists complain about... just point to this "sophisticated theologian".