Did the pope perform an exorcism?

Italian bishops’ conference claims pontiff freed sick man from the devil


The Vatican has played down suggestions the pope may have performed an exorcism on a sick man.

The pope laid his hands on the head of a young man after celebrating Mass in St Peter’s Square.

The man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, convulsed and shook, and then slumped in his wheelchair as the pontiff prayed over him.

The television station of the Italian bishops’ conference said it had surveyed exorcists, who agreed that the pope either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil.

The Vatican was more cautious, however, saying Pope 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.”

Fuelling the speculation is the pontiff’s well-known obsession with the devil, a frequent subject of his homilies.