Pope Francis gives exorcists his blessing
AFP · 4 Jul 2014, 08:00
Published: 04 Jul 2014 08:00 GMT+02:00
- Exorcism course 'open to priests and housewives' (08 May 14)
The association's practice of exorcism is now recognized under canon law, the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper reported on Thursday.
Pope Francis often insists on the need to fight "Satan" and "demons", and was captured in dramatic images last year placing his hands on the head of a boy in a wheelchair who appeared to slump at his touch - an act of prayer exorcists claim was intended to free the victim from the devil.
The first association of exorcists was founded by Father Gabriele Amorth, the Holy See's chief exorcist for almost 30 years, who has described intense sessions with possessed people who scream, blaspheme and spit shards of glass.
He set up an Italian exorcists association in 1991, after which he began organizing meetings with devil fighters from other countries, leading to the establishment of the international group.
Francesco Bamonte, the head of the association, told L'Osservatore that the recognition was "a cause for joy for the whole Church," saying that "exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer".