The Catholic Church’s chief exorcist has said that the Devil is at work in the Vatican.

Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, says that in the Vatican, there are “cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon”.

He has been chief exorcist for nearly 25 years and claims to have dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession.

Speaking to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the chief exorcist said that the Catholic sex abuse scandal and the incident where a mentally unstable woman attacked the Pope on Christmas Eve were evidence that the Vatican had been infiltrated by the Devil.

Father Amorth said the Devil was “pure spirit, invisible”.

He added: “But he manifests himself with blasphemies and afflictions in the person he possesses. He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, transform himself or appear to be agreeable.

“At times he makes fun of me but I have to say I enjoy my work.’

Father Amorth agreed that the 1973 film The Exorcist gave a “substantially exact” impression of people possessed by the Devil.

He said: “From their mouths, anything can come out – pieces of iron as long as a finger, but also rose petals. When the possessed dribble and slobber, and need cleaning up, I do that too. Seeing people vomit doesn’t bother me. The exorcist has one principal duty – to free human beings from the fear of the Devil.”

He added that the Pope believed in exorcism.

He said: “His Holiness believes wholeheartedly in the practice of exorcism. He has encouraged and praised our work.”

In the past, Father Amorth has suggested that Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil.

In 2006, he said: “Of course the Devil exists and he can not only possess a single person but also groups and entire populations.

“I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler and Stalin did.”

Last week, it was revealed that the Vatican had been hit by a gay sex scandal.

It was claimed that a chorister had procured male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting.

The chorister, 29-year-old Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, was sacked after police heard him talking on a wiretap to Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness.