VATICAN CITY – Last week, Pope Francis entertained the International Association of Exorcists at the Vatican, an act which helped legitimize the group and it’s work of fighting demon possessions. His welcoming of the organization, consisting of a group of 250 priests in 30 nations, officially recognizes the exorcists by canon law, and adds another piece of evidence towards the idea that Pope Francis believes wholeheartedly that the Devil is a physical being and that Catholics must guard themselves against his attacks.
The odd juxtaposition between the Pope’s progressive, modern views on income inequality, celibacy in the priesthood, and more and his truly arch-conservative views on demon possession have confused many of his critics– which The Vatican admits is the entire point.
“So many in the world think they know what to expect from His Holiness. He’s a do-gooder, he’s a man of the people, he’s going to bring Catholicism into the modern era,” said Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for Vatican City. “They don’t know what to make of this. Demonic possessions? Really? They’re speechless.”
Pope Francis has even gone so far as to seemingly perform an exorcism himself, when he laid hands on a man in a wheelchair last year who claimed he was possessed by demons. “The gossip hounds went into overdrive on that one,” admitted Parolin. “It was a textbook performance, straight out of the The Exorcist. Afterwards everybody was so impressed. Did he really do that? Was it staged? Did he wink? We’re not telling.”
Members of the International Association of Exorcists praised the Pope for standing strong against the Devil. “The pope is also the Bishop of Rome, and like any bishop he is also an exorcist,” said head of the International Association of Exorcists Father Gabriele Amorth. “We live in an age in which God has been forgotten. And wherever God is not present, the Devil reigns.”
“I honestly can’t say what His Holiness truly believes,” said Rev. Joseph Walter Koterski, President of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. “But if there’s one thing to learn from this, it’s that you just can’t predict this Pope. One day he’s feeding the masses, the next he’s tying a 14 year-old girl to a chair and drenching her with Holy Water. It keeps everybody on their toes.”