By Miguel Martinez.
The Italian weekly, Cronaca Vera (March 3rd, 1999) reveals the following about Massimo Introvigne: "An expert on diabolical phenomena reveals that he received a very delicate appointment from the Church: he has to keep an area of Italy under control which Satan is trying to conquer." The title, as we shall see, faithfully represents the contents of the article.
To get an idea of what Cronaca Vera is, one should take a look at the cover.
Where we come across the following:
1) a fleshy girl in her underwear wagging her breasts at the reader.
2) the following three titles:
"Panic in a hospital! Night shift nurses attacked in the changing-room by a mysterious sex-fiend"
"Pretty young beautician strangled with an iron wire by her African fiancé who would not accept that their affair was over"
"For the last 66 years, a nobleman and his family have been driving the same car."
Now let us go to pages 34 and 35 of this soft-porn magazine. Which is where we find the interview with Massimo Introvigne, under the title "He Studies the Devil in Order to Defeat Him".
"He is considered one of Italy's most important experts on diabolical appearances, perhaps because Massimo Introvigne does not just read books or listen to what he is told. He wants to see the phenomena from close up, with his own eyes, even though this often means watching shocking scenes which knock people less firm than him off their balance."
But Introvigne is not only a scholar; indeed, he is not a scholar at all. Echoing the words of the Inquisitors of the past, he explains the following to his interviewer:
"There is one purpose behind my interest for occult activities: to get to know Satan and his followers in order to defeat them. The Church not only knows about my work, but approves and supports it."
This extraordinary statement should be read next to a sentence which appears on the Website of Introvigne's organisation, CESNUR:
"CESNUR is independent from any religious group, Church, denomination or association." (http://www.cesnur.org/about.htm)
At this point in his interview with Cronaca Vera, Introvigne commits suicide, bringing CESNUR down with him. At least, I can find no other word to describe the text that follows:
"Massimo Introvigne says he founded Cesnur - a study centre on new religions - ten years ago together with the Archbishop of Foggia and Bovino, monsignor Giuseppe Casale. He goes on to say that this prelate entrusted him with the extremely delicate job of keeping a special area of our Peninsula under control, an area where there has been a disturbing increase in black masses and other blasphemous ceremonies.
"The risky area lies between Monte Sant'Angelo and San Giovanni Rotondo" [in Puglia in Southern Italy], the expert explains. "Yes, in the very area where the faithful come to pray to Saint Michael, the leader of the good angels against Lucifer, and to pray Padre Pio. Obviously, Satan has decided to sharpen his weapons in the place that the religious feeling of the population is most powerful and authentic. Basically, it is here that the war between the powers of good and evil is building up."
The scholar adds that, for reasons which nobody understands, this small corner of the world has always stood out for its marked spirituality […].
"But the Devil is furious because of these acts of devotion towards the Lord and the saints", continues Massimo Introvigne. "So he has called together his followers and unleashed the evil spirits […]".
Massimo Introvigne now reveals that he attended a black mass which disturbed him deeply: "[…] I still remember the altar covered with a dark cloth, on which stood a skull and a statue of the Devil with a gigantic sexual member".
From the Devil's genitals, the interviewer goes on to interview another person who has the ill luck of living in the very area where Introvigne works as ghostbuster. However the protection afforded by CESNUR's director is apparently not enough:
"We also speak about Satan with Mary
Galvan, the 70-year old lay sister who helps the poor in these very towns
("Cronaca Vera" n. 1373): 'Some time ago, while I was in a procession,
the Devil pushed me down the steps. However I am not afraid and I trust
my guardian angel. Luckily, each one of has this irreplaceable protector.'"