Pope Francis appears to have been captured on video performing an exorcism in St Peter’s Square.
The astonishing footage, taken immediately after Pentecostal mass on Sunday 19th May, shows the Pontiff approach the second of two wheelchair bound people, whose face is pixelled out.
After a priest leans across the boy or young man to tell Francis something, the Pope’s expression becomes more serious, the voice-over notes. He then grips the top of the subject’s head firmly and is seen pushing him down into his wheel chair. As this is happening the Pontiff recites an intense prayer, and the boy’s mouth drops wide open and he exhales sharply, Italian press reports added this morning.
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.
The Argentine 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.
La Repubblica quotes an exorcism expert has saying: “It was a prayer of liberation from evil or even a real exorcism.”
The Vatican has downplayed the incident, filmed by the religious satellite channel TV2000, saying it was just a 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.