The Vatican has put to rest speculation that Pope Francis performed an exorcism on a young man in a wheelchair after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square who was seen convulsing and trembling while the pope prayed over him.
According to the International Business Times, a video of the incident was shown on TV 2000, which is owned by the Italian bishop’s conference, and shows the pope placing his hands on the head of a boy in a wheelchair. While he prayed, the boy began to convulse and tremble. Other news reports said he then slumped forward in the chair.
Exorcists commented on the scene, saying the pope was “either reciting a prayer for freeing from the devil, or performing an exorcism.”
However, the Vatican was much more cautious in their assessment of the event.
“The Holy Father did not intend to perform any exorcism,” said spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi. “As he often does with sick and suffering people who are presented to him, he simply intended to pray for the suffering person.”
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