Possessed? Call an exorcist, says the Pope

  • 18/03/2017
Pope Francis (Getty)
Pope Francis (Getty)

Even the Pope gets spooked, it seems.

Pope Francis has told a hearing at the Vatican that some spiritually troubled people may require an exorcist.

The Pope told the Penitentiary, which watches over such issues as the confession of sins, that in cases where people confessing "genuine spiritual disturbances", the person listening to the confession shouldn't hesitate to turn to exorcists.

The pontiff advised they should first rule out the possibility that the person has psychological problems, before looking at whether supernatural circumstances exist.

Catholic priests of the right calibre are allowed to conduct exorcisms, according to a 1985 letter to bishops by then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later served as Pope Benedict XVI.

There is no scientific evidence demons or spirits can possess people, nor is demonic possession recognised as a valid illness by major psychiatric organisations.

The Vatican developed its first official rules on exorcisms in the 1600s, and updated them in 1999.

Last year, Pope Francis said the devil was behind "malicious" resistance to his reforms of the church, and in January that Christians have to battle "unclean spirits" every day to move closer to Christ.


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