Pope advocates exorcism against spiritual disturbances

Pope Francis has sparked a rise in the practice

 ROME—In the annual hearing of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Pope Francis told those in attendance that people with the most severe spiritual disturbances ought to be treated by exorcists.

 The Pope was discussing the qualities needed to be a ‘good confessor’ and in particular he highlighted that a confessor should remind himself that he too is a sinner.

 “You can not forgive without the awareness that you have been forgiven first”.

 He talked about the importance of trying to comprehend the obscure when dealing with confessants. “Discernment is also necessary because those who approach the confessional can come from desperate situations; they could have spiritual disturbances, which should be subject to attentive analysis, taking into account all the existential, ecclesiastical, natural and supernatural circumstances”.

 The Holy See continued, “ if the confessor observes the presence of legitimate spiritual disturbances- they could be largely psychological- then they must be verified through a sound collaboration with human science”. Although in extreme cases, he stated, “it’s worth calling the exorcists”.

The Pope clarified his comments, saying, “but these people should be chosen with much care and prudence”.

 Pope Francis has been credited with sparking a revival of exorcisms in the Catholic Church, with the practice becoming ever more popular in dioceses across Latin America and Europe. Francis is not afraid to talk about the devil’s spirits and his most recent discourse in the tribunal today was no different.

His Holiness has just marked four years as Head of the Catholic Church when he succeeded Benedict XVI on March 13, 2013.