Pope Francis’ blessing effect seen as exorcism, Vatican denies claims

(Fox News Latino) Pope Francis has set off a whirlwind of rumors about his exorcism capabilities after he laid his hands Sunday on the head of a young man.

Can he really be an exorcist?

After celebrating Mass, Francis walked out to St. Peter’s Square and among others blessed the young man, who heaved deeply a half-dozen times, shook, and then slumped in his wheelchair.

The television station of the Italian bishops’ conference said it had surveyed exorcists, who agreed there was “no doubt” that Francis either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil.

The Vatican was more cautious Tuesday. In a statement, it said Francis “didn’t intend to perform any exorcism. But as he often does for the sick or suffering, he simply intended to pray for someone who was suffering who was presented to him.”

Fueling the speculation is Francis’ obsession with Satan, a frequent subject of his homilies, and an apparent surge in demand for exorcisms among the faithful despite the irreverent treatment the rite often receives from Hollywood. [More]

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