ROME, May 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A video that appeared to show Pope Francis conducting an impromptu exorcism has gone viral in the Catholic world and beyond, and now this week a leading exorcist has said that the man was suffering from demonic influence related to abortion in his native Mexico.
The video shows Pope Francis greeting and blessing sick and disabled pilgrims in St. Peter’s piazza after the Mass on Pentecost Sunday, May 19. When he reaches a young man in a wheelchair, he stops to bless him and has a brief word with his care-giver. As the pope places both hands on the man’s head and bows his own head in prayer, the man slumps down in his wheelchair and appears to start panting in distress. A moment later, the man calms and the pope moves on. One of the pope’s assistants takes a sheaf of papers from the care-giver.
The Italian bishops’ conference television agency, TV2000, reported that this unusual event was definitely either an exorcism or a prayer for deliverance. But the next day Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, denied this, saying that Pope Francis did not “intend” to conduct an exorcism that day.
“The Holy Father did not intend to perform any exorcism,” Fr. Lombardi said. “As he often does with sick and suffering people who are presented to him, he simply intended to pray for the suffering person.”
But the man, who has now been identified by the name “Angel V.,” recently gave an exclusive interview in Rome to the Spanish daily, El Mundo.
The 43-year-old father said he came to Rome from the Mexican state of Michoacán and said he has seen at least 10 priests, including the celebrated exorcist Gabriele Amorth, to deal with his possession, but all had failed.
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Father Juan Rivas, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ, accompanied Angel to Rome told El Mundo that he revealed the man’s situation to the pope that afternoon. Rivas said he told Pope Francis, “Holiness, this person needs a blessing, he has had more than 30 exorcisms and the demons that live in him do not want to leave him.”
Fr. Amorth, the renowned expert on demonic possession has many times confirmed that participation in the act of abortion is one that will leave a person open to demonic influence, if not outright possession.
Fr. Amorth later told RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, that he had subsequently conducted an exorcism on Angel and had determined that he was possessed by four demons and that the infestation was related to the legalization of abortion in Mexico City. Fr Amorth told El Mundo, “Angel is a good man, he has been chosen by the Lord to send a message to the Mexican clergy and bishops to tell them they have to make an act of reparation for the horrific abortion law passed in Mexico City in 2007, which marks an outrage to Our Lady. Until they do this Angel will not be liberated. “
Fr. Amorth told media that the pope’s prayer was definitely one of exorcism, that as a bishop and the pope Francis was automatically entitled to conduct such a prayer, even without the Church’s formal ritual.
Amorth, who trains exorcists and is the head of the International Association of Exorcists, said the pope’s exorcism will help to balance the growth of atheism that includes disbelief in the devil.
“We live in an age in which God has been forgotten. And wherever God is not present, the Devil rules,” said Amorth. “Today, unfortunately, bishops don't appoint sufficient exorcists. We need many more. I hope that Rome will send out directives to bishops around the world calling on them to appoint more exorcists.”
Speaking to the Sunday Times in the UK, Fr. Amorth said, “I will ask the pope to give all priests the power to carry out exorcisms, and to ensure priests are properly trained for these starting with the seminary. There’s a huge demand for them.”