Vatican denies pope performed public exorcism

June 3, 2013

When Pope Francis laid both hands on the head of a young man in a wheelchair and prayed intently over him for several minutes, he was not performing an exorcism, said the Vatican spokesman.

The young man, who was among dozens of people in wheelchairs greeted by the pope at the end of Mass May 19, appeared somewhat agitated when the pope approached.

The priest with him said something to the pope, who then prayed over the man.

“The Holy Father had no intention of performing an exorcism, but – as he often does with the sick and suffering people presented to him – he simply intended to pray for the suffering person before him,” said the spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.