July 2, 2014 3:41 pm

Exorcist group formally recognized by Vatican

In this image made from video provided by APTN, Pope Francis lays his hands on the head of a young man on Sunday, May 19, 2013, after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The young man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, convulsed and shook, and then slumped in his wheelchair as Francis prayed over him.

AP Photo/APTN

VATICAN CITY – Exorcists now have a legal weapon at their disposal.

The Vatican has formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who liberate the faithful from demons.

READ MORE: Pope Francis’ obsession with Satan leads to suspicion he performed exorcism

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported Tuesday that the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy had approved the organization’s statutes and recognized the group under canon law.

More than his predecessors, Pope Francis speaks frequently about the devil, and last year was seen placing his hands on the head of a man purportedly possessed by four demons in what exorcists said was a prayer of liberation from Satan.

The head of the association, the Rev. Francesco Bamonte, said the Vatican approval was cause for joy. “Exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer,” he told L’Osservatore.

Global News

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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