Pope Francis did not perform an exorcism when he prayed over a young disabled man in St. Peter’s Square on Pentecost Sunday, according to the Vatican’s spokesman.
“The Pope had no intention of doing an exorcism, so it is absolutely false that this has been done. He simply prayed for the sick person,” Vatican press office director Father Federico Lombardi told CNA May 21.
The idea that Pope Francis performed an exorcism was fueled by a video posted online by channel TV2000, which is overseen by the Italian bishops’ conference.
In the video, which is a preview of the May 24 episode of “Vade Retro” (“Go Back” in Latin), a young man is presented to the Pope by Legionary Father Juan Rivas.
What he said to the pontiff is unknown, but the Pope seemed to become serious and began praying over the young man in a wheelchair, placing both his hands on his head.
As the Pope prayed, what sounds like a growl can be heard coming from the young man as he opened his mouth and recoiled downward in his chair.
The Pope’s security detail can be seen hovering in the background, and one of them comes in to quickly take a letter from the Fr. Rivas, before the Pope passes on the next person.
“As usual, the Pope had many patients and many people in difficulty presented to him, and the Pope always prays intensely for them,” Fr. Lombardi said about the encounter.
Marta Jimenez Ibanez contributed to this report.