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Exorcism or not, it's still a miracle

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis regularly visits pilgrims in St. Peter's Square following his Masses, often taking time to bless and pray alongside the elderly and sick. This habit has provoked speculation that he may have performed an exorcism on Sunday. A Vatican spokesman has denied this rumor.

ROME, ITALY (Catholic Online) - "The Holy Father had no intention to perform any exorcism," a Vatican statement said. "Instead, as he frequently does for the sick and suffering persons who approach him, he simply meant to pray for a suffering person who was presented to him."

The statement was sent by Rev. Federico Lombardi in response to a video which has gone viral since it was posted online Sunday.

The video, taken after last Sunday Mass, shows the Holy Father smiling as he takes the hand of an unknown man in the crowd. That man is seated in a wheelchair. A priest standing behind the man whispers something into his ear as the Holy Father, in front of him, lays hands upon his head.

The man appears to tremble and shake then gives a sigh. He went limp and his mouth opened.

The video was posted on TV2000, which is owned and operated by the Italian Bishop's Conference.

Experts on exorcisms said they have no doubt. The Holy Father performed an exorcism on a man possessed by demons.

That man has been identified as a 43 year-old from Mexico called "Angelo."

However, official word from the Vatican is that the Holy Father did not perform an exorcism.

Pope Francis is a known adversary of Satan and he has spoken of the Devil many times over his career and as pontiff. The practice of casting out demons has a long tradition in the Church and was done most notably by Jesus Christ himself as the Gospels prove.

However, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki told the media on Tuesday that Pope Francis did not perform a normal exorcism saying it was "clearly not an exorcism as most people understand it."

It's true. Most exorcisms take much longer and involve much more ritual.

However, faith healings and other similar miracles have indeed occurred with the simple laying of hands and few words spoken.

Regardless of what Pope Francis intended, something such as an exorcism and the laying of hands is a private, intimate affair between the victim of possession and a spiritual caregiver. We may find out later if "Angelo" was helped or healed as a result of the Holy Father's blessing, or if perhaps he was merely consoled. For the Holy Father can pray, but it is truly the power of God that brings healing.

And healing is not just physical. Often, we are left with physical suffering, which we are privileged to share with Christ, but are instead granted spiritual healing. In any case, what happened between Pope Francis and Angelo is between them and God.

This, in itself, is a miracle and it happens every day because no matter our shortcomings, or sins, we are loved by many, from God to our Holy Father, and by all of Christ's faithful.

So no matter what, let us pray for their well-being and that of one another.

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