Madrid’s Catholic Church says it needs exorcists

In this image made from video provided by APTN, Pope Francis lays his hands on the head of a young man on Sunday, May 19, 2013, after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The young man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, convulsed and shook, and then slumped in his wheelchair as Francis prayed over him. The television station of the Italian bishops’ conference said it had surveyed exorcists, who agreed Francis either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil. The Vatican was more cautious Tuesday, saying Francis “didn’t intend to perform any exorcism. But as he often does for the sick or suffering, he simply intended to pray for someone.”  (AP Photo/APTN)
In this image made from video provided by APTN, Pope Francis lays his hands on the head of a young man on Sunday, May 19, 2013, after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The young man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, convulsed and shook, and then slumped in his wheelchair as Francis prayed over him. The television station of the Italian bishops’ conference said it had surveyed exorcists, who agreed Francis either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil. The Vatican was more cautious Tuesday, saying Francis “didn’t intend to perform any exorcism. But as he often does for the sick or suffering, he simply intended to pray for someone.” (AP Photo/APTN)

MADRID (AP) – The Catholic archdiocese in Madrid says it needs more exorcists to help some of its faithful cope with the devil.

An archdiocese spokeswoman said Friday that Madrid only has one exorcist priest and that it is considering a plan to train more. She spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with archdiocese policy.

“The devil exists. That’s a fact,” she told The Associated Press.

Only a priest authorized by a bishop can perform an exorcism and the brief rite involves blessings with holy water, prayers and an interrogation of the devil by the exorcist during which the demon is asked to leave the victim.

ReligionenLibertad, a Catholic website, blames the growing secularization of Spanish society for what it calls an increase in people asking for help with their demons.

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