Against Satanic Panics > Recent scaremongers > Carlo Climati
Recent anti-Satanist scaremongers:
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2006 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
Carlo Climati is an Italian journalist who is mentioned in quite a few of the news articles I've seen about the Vatican's course on "Satanism and exorcism." (See my collection of links to articles about Exorcism, the Vatican, and the current Italian Satanic Panic on my page about Exorcism, "spiritual warfare," and anti-occultism.)
In Rome on June 25, 2004, the Catholic news agency Zenit in published 5 Phases of an Adolescent's Slide Into Satanism: Interview With Journalist Carlo Climati. About this Zenit interview, Geifodd has sent me the following comments in email:
ZENIT: Italy is still shaken by the discovery, in early June, of the bodies of Chiara Marino, 16, and Fabio Tollis, 19, in the woods northwest of Milan. They were last seen in January 1998 with other members of their rock band, the Beasts of Satan. Investigators say they were victims of "ritual" killings.
GEIFODD: Which investigators? And what is the evidence that they were "ritual" killings?
CLIMATI: Naturally, one must not fall into the error of generalizing and condemning all rock music. But at the same time, one must be realistic and realize that Satanic rock already turns over a volume of business worth billions. Too many singers spread the non-culture of violence, drugs and hatred.
GEIFODD: It's true there's lots of singers who talk about violence, drugs and hatred, in their music. But not even most of these singers are Satanists, and not all of those who are Satanists talk about such in their music either. Glenn Danzig's lyrics, for instance, talk about Satan but do not involve violence or drugs. King Diamond's lyrics have nothing to do with drug use at all, and the violence and hatred he speaks of is usually that perpetuated by Christians.
CLIMATI: The third phase is the young person's purchase of music magazines that talk about his favorite singer. Lately, in certain rock periodicals, there is not just talk of music, but also of Satanism and esotericism.
GEIFODD: Which rock periodicals?
CLIMATI: Sometimes even addresses are given of Satanic sects or Internet sites of singers linked to the world of the occult.
GEIFODD: The author overrates Satanic musicians. Not all Satanists are into heavy metal, and probably even fewer of them become involved with Satanism because of heavy metal. In my experience, most young people who get into Satanism because of a rock band usually only dabble in it temporarily, then move on to something else.
I (Diane Vera) would add here that a young person's interest in Satanism can be initially sparked in all sorts of different ways. For example, what first got Geifodd interested in the possibility of becoming a Satanist was reading the Christian Bible and noticing that the Christian God is, in fact, portrayed as being far more evil (by modern standards) than Satan. (Later he was introduced to Satanism itself via the Internet and by reading The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey.)
Back to Geifodd's comments on the Climati interview:
CLIMATI: So, in order to know more, the fourth phase is entered: the search on Internet. Starting from simple curiosity for the sites of Satanic rock singers, there is the risk of going to the pages of authentic sects, or discussion groups frequented by Satanists.
GEIFODD: He does not mention what the "risks" of contacting authentic sects or Satanic discussion groups actually are. For instance, if he were to claim that people on these pages seduce young viewers into commiting crimes, he could easily be proven wrong. However, he doesn't seem to state any particular reason as to why it is a "risk."
CLIMATI: In analyzing this phenomenon it is very important to examine it in depth. One must not stop at incidents of violence or macabre rites that are carried out in forests.
GEIFODD: True; but one must not fixate upon them, either.
CLIMATI: I want to stress especially the "Do what you feel like" idea, an invitation to moral relativism and a life without rules. It is man with his presumption who wants to usurp God's place and live under the standard of his own egotistical pleasure.
GEIFODD: He conveniently forgets to mention that most forms of Satanism teach that we are ultimately responsible for our own actions. We may believe in moral relativism to a degree, but "living under the standard of our own egotistical pleasure" does not translate into mindlessly killing people. Obviously, if you kill people, you are detracting from your pleasure in the long run via the likelihood that you will eventually be put in jail for your crimes.
CLIMATI: Moreover, at the base of Satanism is the death of hope. The invitation to withdraw into oneself and believe in nothing — in the fact that life is only a jungle in which the powerful triumph over the weak.
GEIFODD: Perhaps he is thinking of LaVeyanism. But there are plenty of Satanists who believe in hope; these are most likely usually theistic.
CLIMATI: Unfortunately, many young people seem to be fascinated by certain terrible philosophies. It is not difficult to identify them at night, outside premises that offer this kind of music. In general, they are dressed in black. Often their arms are marked by small, self-inflicted wounds.
These cuts are a sign of rendition, of pessimism. They symbolize, perhaps, other deeper wounds, which are those of everyday life. A life often marked by inability to communicate, lack of conversation in the family, difficulties in school or at work.
GEIFODD: In high school, I met about twenty young people who were like this. Their interest in Satanism was only superficial and in passing; they liked the "scary look" of Satanism, but whenever I tried to discuss actual Satanist theology and ritual with them, they would get bored. Eventually, some of them became Odinists, some became Neo-Nazis, and most became born-again Christians. A few were institutionalized.
The reason these kids mutilated themselves is NOT because of any authentic involvement in Satanism, but because they were all raised in families that adhered to extremely strict religious codes. We are talking about Protestant fundamentalist Christian families that teach their children that things like the following are all EVIL and will make you go to Hell after you die, unless you spend every moment of your existence feeling sorry and guilty: (1) dancing, (2) kissing, (3) holding hands, (4) girlfriends calling their boyfriends (rather than the reverse), (5) watching television, (6) having nocturnal emissions, (7) feeling any sort of lust for even the opposite sex, let alone the same sex, (8) boys having long hair, and (9) taking even a passing interest in another religion. (I myself was not brought up that way, thank Satan.)
This sort of attitude quite naturally drove many of these kids insane and they would rebel, as all children naturally do, as a way of getting the proper attention they felt they lacked. They would do this by dressing in black, wearing black fingernail polish, doing drugs and listening to "unacceptable" music - most of which is hardly unacceptable by any true metalhead's standards - and talking about the Devil. A few of them were so driven by their puritanical neurosis that they felt a need to torture and kill small animals, especially cats. Many of them practiced self-mutilation.
None of these kids were serious Satanists. None of them actually worshiped the Devil, nor did any of them take an interest in my explanations to them of what most forms of Satanism really entail. These kids were not interested in immersing themselves in another religion, but simply escaping their self-responsibility and numbing themselves. And they were not driven to become this by any rock band or form of occultism. Instead, they were driven to do it by their strict Christian upbringing. Satanism is not to blame for these young people's problems; hardcore conservative Christianity is.
CLIMATI: The solution lies in accustoming young people to have a greater critical sense. Young people should not "imbibe" passively everything that certain rock stars say. We must help them to reflect, to understand, to reject those who promote the non-culture of death.
One must not allow oneself to be ensnared by terrible philosophies. If a singer promotes violence, we must not buy his records. Let's applaud those artists who communicate a positive message in favor of life. There is no lack of good examples. Suffice it to look for them.
GEIFODD: No, we should be teaching our children how to think critically. Just because a singer talks about violence in their lyrics does NOT mean they are endorsing it. And even if they ARE endorsing it, this does not entitle the listener to agree. There is violence and hatred and death in the world, and trying to gloss over these things by ignoring certain types of music isn't going to make the problem go away. It is better to make our children face their fears at an early age, teach them to think critically, and help them to understand that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions.
CLIMATI: Otherwise, Satanic rock singers, imperturbable, will continue to hold the top spots in the charts.
GEIFODD: What??? Maybe things are different in Italy, but, here in the U.S.A. at least, there is not a single Satanist musician who is in a "top spot" in the charts. All the people in the "top spots" are rappers, rhythm and blues musicians, alternative rock groups, and country singers.
See also my page about Italy's current Satanic panic.