Let the battle against evil commence. The Pope has officially revived the medieval practice of exorcism .
The Vatican has dispatched a group of 250 demon-fighting priests - with the rather badass name the International Association of Exorcists - who claim to save people from evil across the world.
Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reports that the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy had approved the organisation’s statutes and recognised the group under canon law.
'The power of Christ compels you'
The move gives legal recognition to the performance of an exorcism, and is apparently a cause for joy – according to the head of the association.
“Exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer,” the head of the association, Reverend Francesco Bamonte, said.
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained describes that an exorcism is a confrontation and not simply a prayer and once it has begun it has to finish no matter how long it takes.
If the exorcist stops the rite, then the demon will pursue him which is why the process being finished is so essential.
After the exorcism has been finished the person possessed feels a “kind of release of guilt and feels reborn and freed of sin.”
Not all exorcisms are successful the first time; it could take days, weeks, or months of constant prayer and exorcisms, the Encyclopedia explains.
Pope Francis is vocal in his ideas about Satan and speaks frequently about the Devil’s work.
He was quite clear about the personification of evil in one of his opening speeches as Pope: “Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the Devil,” he declared.
Last year an incredible video showed the pontiff placing his hands on the head of a boy in a wheelchair, reciting an intense prayer.
At the time, Father Gabriele Amorth, the Catholic Church's best known exorcist and the head of the International Association of Exorcists told La Repubblica newspaper: "The Pope is also the Bishop of Rome, and like any bishop he is also an exorcist.
"We live in an age in which God has been forgotten. And wherever God is not present, the Devil reigns."
The Catholic Encyclopedia defines exorcism as “the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice”.
Apparently evil is on the rise. Earlier this year Rev Bamonte told La Repubblica: “Diabolical possessions are on the increase as a result of people subscribing to occultism.“The few exorcists that we have in the dioceses are often not able to handle the enormous number of requests for help.”