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The Vatican has given its blessing to exorcisms as a standard practice in the Catholic Church.
The Congregation for the Clergy decided last month to recognise the International Association of Exorcists, which consists of 250 priests in 30 countries who perform religious ceremonies to “liberate the faithful from demons” under canon law, and has approved its statutes.
The Association was introduced in Italy in 1991 by veteran exorcist Fr Gabriele Amorth, to share experience as increased interest in occult practices boosted demand.
Fr Francesco Bamonte, an exorcist from the Diocese of Rome told L’Osservatore Romano that the Holy See’s approval of the IAE “is cause for joy … for the Church as a whole.”
“Exorcism is another form of charity,” he said.
Pope Francis has mentioned Satan on a number of occasions.
Last year he appeared to exorcise a wheelchair-bound man who said he was possessed by the devil.
Above: Items usually used in an exorcism. Photo: CNS/Nancy Wiechec