Rorate Caeli

BREAKING UPDATE: Francis versus Lucifer?

Update from the AP

The Rev. Gabriele Amorth, a leading exorcist for the diocese of Rome, said he performed a lengthy exorcism of his own on the man Tuesday morning and ascertained he was possessed by four separate demons. The case was related to the legalization of abortion in Mexico City, he said.

Amorth told RAI state radio that even a short prayer, without the full rite of exorcism being performed, is in itself a type of exorcism.

"That was a true exorcism," he said of Francis' prayer. "Exorcisms aren't just done according to the rules of the ritual."

Original Rorate story:

We have been covering (here) the remarkable words of Pope Francis -- remarkable only because the post-Conciliar Church has all but buried Satan for dead, but remarkable nonetheless -- and the Devil, and our need to recognize his power and reject his temptations.

His words, however, may have just be taken to a whole other, public level.

A caution: the Vatican, through Fr. Lombardi, has already, somewhat, dismissed this. The denial, as usual, leaves a lot to interpretation -- the "had no intention to" line is always the "out" of a spokesman. Read it for yourself here and decide.

Now, from The Sun (go here for additional photos):

POPE Francis has been embroiled in a scandal after footage emerged today appearing to show him giving a man an exorcism in St Peter's Square.

The astonishing incident between the Pontiff and the person in a wheelchair, took place immediately after Pentecostal mass on Sunday May 19.

The video shows how a priest leans across the boy or young man to tell Francis something, at which point the Pope’s expression becomes more serious.

The Pontiff then grips the top of the subject’s head firmly and is seen pushing him down into his wheelchair.

As this is happening Francis recites an intense prayer, and the boy’s mouth drops wide open and he exhales sharply.

Francis’s usual smile then returns and he continues with the traditional and more gentle Sunday greetings for sick or disabled visitors to St Peter’s.

La Repubblica newspaper this morning quoted an exorcism expert has saying: “It was a prayer of liberation from evil or even a real exorcism.”

The leading Roman exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, said: “Francis is also the Bishop of Rome and like all bishops he’s an exorcist.”

The new Pope has made it quite clear since his election that he believes the Devil, whom refers to as “the Enemy” and “The Prince of this World” is a real force that needs to be fought constantly.

The Vatican has downplayed the incident, filmed by the religious satellite channel TV2000, saying it was simple prayer.

The former Pope, Benedict XVI, never performed an exorcism, Francis is on record as having performed them, however, as was Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II.


  1. Bénies soient les mains du pontife que donnent miséricorde, guérison, et le pain supersubstantiel!

  2. A very powerful prayer indeed! Please notice that at .30 the attending priest hands the manila file to someone next to Pope Francis.

  3. Why can't we just take the Vatican Spokesman seriously at face value and believe that it was just a simple prayer for a handicapped person. Even if it turned out to actually be an exorcism, so what? There are much more important things to talk about NOW like the huge Tornado in OK yesterday.

  4. hayfarmer,.. what are you insinuating by saying hand over the manila package? elaborate please.

  5. Katalina, I always find comments like yours to be strange. No one forced you to read this article. Do you peruse the internet during times of crisis to make sure everyone is talking only about that crisis? And how do you know which crisis is the right one to talk about? Please remember that some of us enjoy reading about the Holy Father, and we, like him, believe demonic possession to be a great crisis - on par with that of any weather-related tragedy.

  6. Katalina said "There are much more important things to talk about NOW like the huge Tornado in OK yesterday."

    There are always tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, fires, and other natural disasters that kill far more than 24 people each day. Not to mention all the man made tragedies. They just so happen to be ignored by the selective lenses of the media. Of course we need to pray for their souls and their family's, regardless of where they are or if the media even bothers to cover it.

    As for this story, different blogs focus on different stories. Without this focus, blogs like this one should just close up shop and just point to Google News.

    As the story points out, the Holy Father is not shy about mentioning the Devil and the need for spiritual combat. I don't see any contradiction between having an exorcism and Fr Lombardi's remarks. Even if the intent was just for healing, any good bishop would also include an exorcism prayer because some illnesses are due to the Devil. From the video, whatever happened did not look or sound like either a person calmly receiving a blessing, or even a Charismatic Catholic "slain by the spirit" (if you don't know what this means, don't ask). While this doesn't prove an exorcism has taken place, it does strongly suggest it was done (even implicitly) given the history of this Pope.

  7. It could of been a deliverance rather than a full fledged exorcism. Than again he is the successor of the prince of the apostles and has great authority. Whatever it was, like some have said, it wasn't no simple blessing.

  8. We wish to sensationalize everything. Is it wise to accuse the Vatican spokesmen of grave sin - breaking the 8th commandment - by seriously lying if it was an exorcism. There are many prayers, no less than the Our Father, excuse me, Pater Noster, which has among its words an exorcism.

    I can only think of the Hank Williams Jr. song, "This ain't Dallas" ... and this ain't 'Dynasty'... This is not the Exorcist or a sequel or Demeter. Got to Spiritdaily if you want that.

    Yes demons are real, but God is even more real as he is the author of reality itself.

    But returning to C8, not everything which is true is to be revealed. Jesus himself told many to say nothing. Why violate the privacy of both the Pope (in what way ought we render what is due - to try to find out the bizarre and titillating things worthy of "Weekly World News"?), and the person he blessed?

    Why can't you leave something alone? All must be a source of division (diabolos?). Everything must be utterly important in the spiritual conflict. Don't look inward at the long laundry list of your own failings - look there! Demons! The Pope! Exorcism! Much more interesting!

    Instead of each of us trying to become saints, we prefer to live with our evil and fight it impersonally, indirectly, and vicariously. Our own demons are much harder to exorcise.

  9. Anonymous9:01 PM

    TZ, I don't know who your comments are pointed towards, but WE did not accuse Lombardi of lying. We said he left himself plenty of wiggle room, which all spokesman do -- even Vatican spokesman.

    So no one at Rorate has accused him of mortal sin. Let's stick to what we actually wrote.

  10. That certainly wasn't the rite of exorcism, either the new or the traditional. Nothing in that video indicates or proves that the Holy Father exorcised a demonic presence. I think we should be careful not fall into the same behaviors as the Neo-Cats who often seem to have a certain fixation with exorcisms and the demonic.

    From the posture and demeanor of Pope Francis, this looks to me like a typical deliverance prayer that you find in charismatic circles, and given the Pope's love of the charismatic movement, I think this would be a safe assumption.


  11. I am a "Neo-Cat" and I don't have a fixation on this stuff.


  12. All I can say is, This sort of reaction to a blessing is not Normal.

    Something happened there.

  13. Exorcisms are not usually conducted in public so who can say that B16 never performed one???

  14. Our Holy Father battles Evil in many forms. This day it was in possession of a man. Please note the last guteral sound directed at Pope Francis' face and look into his eyes. It is not the look of a "fan" of the Pope receiving a benign blessing. Fr. Amorth has more work to do.

  15. Anonymous11:48 PM

    Hayfarmer, Fr Amorth's excorcism was today, two days after Francis' improvised excorcism.

  16. Thank you Adfero for the correction. Let us pray for the man's soul and for our Holy Father and Fr. Amorth. St Michael give them strength and protect them in battle.

  17. Anonymous12:24 AM

    No worries. Just led a family rosary for the same intention: Francis to continue battling the Devil in public.

  18. I like what the Holy Father did.

  19. Did anyone else hear the poor man's snarling around the 0:18 mark? One can hear it faintly cutting through the organ music.

    Sent shivers down my spine.

    Sancte Michaël Archangele…

  20. Did anyone else hear the poor man's snarling around the 0:18 mark? One can hear it faintly cutting through the organ music.

    Sent shivers down my spine.

    Sancte Michaël Archangele…

  21. Katalina :

    Why can't we just take the Vatican Spokesman seriously at face value and believe that it was just a simple prayer for a handicapped person.

    Irrelevant, a simple prayer for the remission of sickness is itself a form of exorcism.

  22. who are all these people lol?

  23. The amusing thing about the article is that the author refers to Pope Francis being embroiled in a "scandal". Really? Since when is it a scandal for a Pope to perform an exorcism (if that's what it was)?

    Mad Trad

  24. Anonymous12:58 PM

    You know, scandal really IS the right word. All scandal is is scandalize, shock, etc.

    MOST Catholics no longer believe in the Devil. Neither do most bishops. If they did, most of them would actually have an exorcist in their diocese, or 10. Most have none. They simply refer people to shrinks.

    So, one can assume many lukewarm Catholics will be scandalized by this public display, as will non-believers. So it is a scandal.

    But it's an awesome, awesome scandal!

  25. Actually, Adfero, the true meaning of a scandal is to cause someone to sin (i.e. a hard-core party-goer who draws others into drinking to excess, using drugs, etc., would be scandalizing). Whatever the Pope actually did here, it certainly was not a scandal in the true sense. If you want to call it shocking or sensational (at least to some), then call it that, but scandal it was not.

  26. Anonymous1:42 PM

    The second definition of "scandal" is this:

    "The outrage or anger caused by such an action or event."

    My analogy is correct.

  27. It is exorcism no doubt. Have seen a similar short act in a mass in my country. A teenage boy was possessed, started to mock Jesus Christ, he imitated the priest, but turned the words around, he said a lot of bad words, even sexual. His mother was desperate, but she couldn' do anything. So - the priest just stopped, took some water from the credence table, went off to the pew and did about exactly what we see pope Francis here do. And - the same reaction. Mouth open, a deep breathe out. The boy was silent and like another person the rest of the Mass. This priest has a almost holy record. He is dead now.

  28. There are a number of things about Pope Francis that I could take issue with, one of them being his eschewing of many traditional elements of Catholic worship and the papacy. I also can't wait for the cult of personality that has already formed around him to die off so we can focus on the faith itself and its substance as opposed to one man's style.

    That said, there are positive things to be said about Pope Francis Francis talks openly about the devil, about the supernatural and the nature of evil. He performs exorcism, which is practically taboo to talk about nowadays. I see this as a tremendously positive development, not only theologically, but culturally. There has been an assault on traditional Catholic culture and religious expression, starting with the Mass, and as I mentioned earlier, it's not cool to take the supernatural seriously or talk about faith-related dangers. The misconception exists that Christians must be happy-clappy all the time. Regardless of what shortcomings Francis might have (and we all have them), this is one thing I would dearly love to see more of. Even if it is not a full-fledged exorcism or something you would see in the movies, it's still an exorcism and the people present actually BELIEVE in it.

    Most of the people who are part of the 'Francis bump' think Francis is someone that he is not. If they saw this, maybe they would rethink what Catholicism is really about.


  29. To me it is obvious that the boy is suffering a demonic possession, and that the pope was not giving him a run of the mill "blessing." It's obvious if you watch the video. He pushed him down forcibly into the chair. The exhalation was also wholly unnatural and in keeping with all recorded accounts of exorcisms. Jesus cast out demons with a word so it's not impossible for someone invested with such tremendous authority such as the pope to do so as well. It sounds, however, that the process was completed the next day.

    I don't fault Lombardi for the statement. The Holy See eschews anything that can lead to tacky sensationalism in these matters.

  30. Well according to an official from the Vatican, it wasn't an Exorcism. So who is lying here?!. I really don't feel many RC priests today have the power to cast a fly out of anyone, let alone a demon. Do to their trust in modern psychology vs true faith. Can't image "Busted Halo" from the Catholic channel doing an Exorcism. The Pope better be careful performing an Exorcism on TV or any public place, in modern atheistic Western Europe, or he will locked up for child molestation. Atheists know human law, not God's law.

  31. If you pay attention (and speak spanish), the Father behind him (the boy) tells Pope Francis something. At the beginning you can not understand then he says what seemed: "10 exorcismos, diez, no se lo han podido quitar" and the goes on talking but can't hear anything else.

  32. If you pay attention to what the priest behing the boy tells Pope Francis you can hear he mentions the following: "Ten exorcisms, ten, and they havent been able to take it out" He says it in Spanish ("Diez exorcismos, diez, no se lo han podido quitar").

  33. Kudos to Adfero for holding the line. This is a scandal--the best kind--and those who have eyes ought to see. There is NO question in my mind that demonic spirits were in possession of that boy and Pope Francis gave them a jolt. Fr. Amorth finished the job. And I defy anyone who read Amorth's book to challenge his integrity.

  34. Anonymous1:30 AM

    According to the AP story, it was a 43 year old man, not a boy.

    The Sun's description of what physically occurred is pure tabloid journalism: "The Pontiff then grips the top of the subject’s head firmly and is seen pushing him down into his wheelchair." That's bogus. No physical force was used.

    I was by the idea that this event has embroiled the Pope in a scandal. That doesn't make sense, unless we are to believe that Satan has actual minions.

    Oh, I see. Good point.

    The Washington Post has jumped on the Sun's bandwagon, and is trying to turn this against the Pope. Their headline is:

    "Pope and the devil: Francis’ fascination with Satan leads to suspicion he performed exorcism".

    Suspicion? That's an interesting word. Evidently Satan has an Inquisition.

    Tomorrow's headlines:

    "Pope suspected of proselytizing."

    "Is Pope Francis secretly Catholic?"

    "Pope bullies Satan; charges pending."

  35. As we say in Spanish "Bendito Sea Dios!" or Blessed be God!. Bl. John Paul ll is said to have told a young woman who was possessed, "Tomorrow I will say a Mass for you". This young Lady was immediately liberated from diabolical possession. She went on to marry. Bl. John Paul ll himself Baptized their children. Pope Benedict XVl riding in the Popemobile through St. Peter's square, spotted 3 men, he had the Popemobile stopped and he gave the 3 men a Blessing. This Blessing is said to have powerfully thrown the 3 men back 3 meters. Later it was learned that these 3 men were diabolically possessed and they had gone to look upon the Pope in the hopes of liberation. They were liberated. These stories were told by Fr. Amorth. May God continue to Bless His Holiness Pope Francis.

  36. OBVIOUS EXORCISM!!! Those who write that we need to concentrate on more important things like tornadoes, tells me one thing:

    They are proud and egotistic and need to ask Jesus into their hearts as lord and savior, not just warm a pew on Sunday's. Jesus showed compassion wherever he went. Pope Frances is Christ for the church.I pray for him. We all need to be the hands of Jesus in our world today, we are a royal priesthood a holy people in these times.NOW IS THE TIME TO EVANGELIZE PEOPLE!!!Are we REAL Catholics using our God-given power to cast out Satan in this generation? We meet people everyday that have needs as this man, we are asleep in the church. I believe when the persecution for the church really starts heating up, then our faith is going to shine.


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