Beliefs Culture

Pope Francis thanks exorcists for showing ‘love’ to the possessed

An exorcist and a woman possessed by the devil.

ROME (RNS) Just in time for Halloween and against an unspecified “steady increase” of demonic possession, Pope Francis thanked exorcists for showing the church’s “love for those possessed” by the devil.

About 300 exorcists from around the world attended a convention in Rome last weekend (Oct. 25-26) and their spokesman later expressed concern about the number of people turning to Satanism and the occult.

An exorcist and a woman possessed by the devil.

Photo courtesy of udra11 via Shutterstock

An exorcist and a woman possessed by the devil.

In a message sent to the Rev. Francesco Bamonte, who heads the International Association of Exorcists (known as AIE), Francis urged the experts to demonstrate “the church welcomes those suffering from the devil’s work.”

Without citing specific numbers, AIE spokesman Valter Cascioli told Vatican Radio there has been a “steady increase” in the number of people turning to demonic practices and they are left suffering from serious spiritual and psychological damage.

“We are living in a particularly critical time in history, where urgency, superficiality, exasperated individualism, secularization seem to almost dominate our culture,” Cascioli said.

“The battle against evil is becoming more of an emergency. We are calling for major vigilance.”

Last May, priests and lay people gathered in Rome for a six-day course conducted by the Legionaries of Christ and Catholic researchers on how to carry out exorcisms and meet the growing demand for their services.

The AIE was formally recognized by the Vatican in June.

The church’s most famous exorcist, the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, now 89, claims to have conducted more than 50,000 exorcisms during his career. He has just released a new book in Italy entitled “The Devil: A Contemporary Inquest.”

“Speaking about the devil is never easy, but it interests everyone, ” he told an Italian daily this week.

KRE/AMB END McKENNA

About the author

Josephine McKenna

Josephine McKenna has more than 30 years' experience in print, broadcast and interactive media. Based in Rome since 2007, she covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis and canonizations of their predecessors. Now she covers all things Vatican for RNS.

16 Comments

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  • Aside from simply being wrong-headed and archaic, “exorcism” is dangerous, even deadly, and had no business existing in the 20th century, let alone in the 21st.

    Those poor, deluded fools (*) who look to Pope Francis as a beacon of “progressivism” in the Catholic Church should ask themselves why their “forward-thinking” hero believes that practicing an idiotic medieval ritual to treat people who suffer from psychological or neurological illnesses should be described as “loving.”

    (*) Or are they willful liars?

  • “There is one good by whose coming is the manifestation, which is by the Son, and by Him alone can the heart become pure, by the expulsion of every evil spirit from the heart. For the multitude of spirits dwelling in it do not suffer it to be pure; but each of them performs his own deeds, insulting it often with unseemly lusts. And the heart seems to be treated somewhat like the courtyard of an inn. For the latter has holes and ruts in it, and is often filled with dung; men live filthily in it, and taking no care for the place because it belongs to others. So fares it with the heart as long as no thought is taken for it, and it is unclean and many demons dwell therein. But when one good Father visits it, it is sanctified and gleams with light. And he who possesses such a heart is so blessed, that he shall see God.”
    – Clement of Alexandria c 150 – c 215

    Right. When the one good Father visits it. Communion is the cure.

  • Don’t worry, the newspapers will assign this story to the back pages next to the fillers and used-car sales. Most will simply leave it in the basket and forget.

    As for television, you’ll won’t see this story on the 5:30 news (NBC, ABC, CNN, CBS, etc) at all.

    The libbie media will protect their favorite Gay-Marriage Pope at all costs, and they know they have to pretty much bury this story. Consider it done.

  • Your point being??

    Why the aggressive outburst against seemingly everyone involved, or peripheral to, the incident in question?

  • If a person feels they have lost control of themselves in some way why not allow help for them wherever it comes from. Counselling,prayer,exorcism.

    What is it that lets a human being kill and dismember a small child and throw the pitiful parts into the sea? Or the schoolboy who savagely kills his teacher for no reason?
    Such people are possessed by something very bad. I see no harm in exorcism if it is done by sensible people and under controlled conditions.

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