We were not used to a Pope continuously claiming to defend ourselves and to fight against the demons. The wider the audience around him is, the stronger Pope Francis’ utterances are. And since the Holy Father lives immersed in the love of the faithful, one can well imagine how all this disturbs the evil. The stresses of Bergoglio not to underestimate the very existence of Satan and his deceptions – from conflict to the use of money – show the existence of a very special fight which sees the Pope in the forefront.
An exorcist Pope, then? The Curia does not confirm officially, but more and more episodes are taking place after a gesture or a prayer of the Vicar of Christ. The last one happened just recently, in Turin, during the visit to the Holy Shroud.
In Piazza Vittorio Veneto, dozens of thousands of people gathered for the Mass. When reciting the “Our Father”, with the hands of the Pope on the crowd, a woman of about 50 who was sitting in the front rows, near the altar, started to scream and squirm. First, disjointed words – the eyewitnesses said – then insults, blasphemies. And finally, punches, kicks and invocations to the devil. Doctors and policemen could do nothing; they did not manage to chill out the woman, who was then entrusted to the priests, who waited for the diocesan exorcist’s arrival.
The woman was already known by the Vicariate, which defined her as “a very serious case”. She’s from Turin, has got a child; an apparently ordinary person, then. However a victim of these phenomena. And the hands of the Pope – together with the prayer – sparked the incident.
At the arrival of the Holy Father, another woman, waiting in line to see like many others the sacred relic in Turin, fell into a state of trance. “She started to turn her head jerkily, in an unnatural way. It looked like a horror movie”, one of the faithful said. The woman, who had already been treated by an exorcist in Milan, started to scream “I’ve got the devil inside me” and to speak incomprehensible languages. Then she collapsed to the ground in convulsions. Those present tried to help her. Finally, after about ten minutes of trance, she stood up again and went away alone.
The most impressive case, which is still remembered by the whole planet, is the incident occurred in May 2013, when a priest accompanying a disabled man introduced him to the Pope, with a few words that the TV cannot grasp. The expression of Pope Francis changed suddenly. He appeared pensive and concentrated, and laid hands on the young man praying intensely, and then the boy opened his mouth.
The protagonist of this story is called Angelo, he is a Mexican from Michoacan, he is about 40 and has two children. An ordinary family except that, occasionally, the man would fall prey of the demons that dwell inside him. He himself told his story to the newspaper El Mundo, after the experience in St. Peter’s Square: four evil spirits had taken possession of his body at the age of 14 and had remained there ever since. The help from 12 priests was useless, including that from Father Gabriele Amorth, who tried several times to free him from the evil spirits. The verdict was: Angelo suffers from an incurable case of demonic possession. Then the meeting with the Holy Father: his hands on his neck, almost whispered words while the man abandoned himself harmless on his wheelchair.
We know how much the Church has always been cautious about the liberation from the evil. And even in this case someone talked about a liberation prayer and not about a real exorcism; and then it is often stressed that the spectacularized approach, according to which at one stroke one can be freed from evil, is a misleading reading.
Angelo told how that terrible possession began: “It was in 1999. I was in a bus, returning from Mexico City. I felt a sort of force getting into the bus. I could not see it, but I felt it. It approached and stopped in front of me. Suddenly I felt like a stab in the chest, I felt like it was opening my ribs”. At first, he thought it was a heart attack, but the truth was quite different. Gradually, his health started to get worse: he felt suddenly into states of trance, and felt his skin pierced by a thousand needles. “They told me that I was speaking in another language. I did tests, x-rays, analysis..Nobody has ever been able to give me an explanation”.
There is no doubt that Pope Francis is fighting against the evil; his repeated calls testimony how much he is concerned about the matter. His last call was during the meeting with the Renewal of the Spirit in St. Peter’s Square last Friday: before referring to the 23 Egyptian Copts killed in Libya, highlighting that “those who cut the throat clearly acknowledge the root in Christ” and that this disturbs the divider; then talking about corruption: “The river – he said – must get lost in the ocean. If it becomes stationary it is corrupted. If this stream of grace does not end in the ocean of God, it works for itself”. But in this way, Francis explained, it leaves ground to the devil who tempts the man with vanity: “How many leaders turn into peacocks? You think to be able to do anything and then you slide in the businesses; the devil always passes through the wallet, it is the front door”.
Before him, Pope John Paul II – according to the posthumous memoirs of the prefect of the Pontifical Household, Archbishop Jacques-Paul Martin – on March 27, 1982 drove out Satan from the body of a woman victim of demonic possession.
Anyway, it is sufficient to look at what is happening around the world to figure out that a fight between the good and the evil is taking place: in the name of religion the most heinous crimes are done; the majority of people live in hunger or exploitation; the attacks on the fundamental values are continuous; this prevailing relativism. The planet is going to self-destruct itself. A slap to the Creation.
The exorcisms of the Pope and his constant exhortations to defend ourselves from the evil are evidences of a fight that has just begun.
Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo