The Vatican on Tuesday rushed to deny the contents of a television broadcast that appeared to show Pope Francis performing an exorcism on a wheelchair-bound boy.
"The Holy Father did not intend to perform any exorcism," the Rev. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said in a statement reported by Raw Story. He was referring to a report from TV 2000 — owned by the Italian bishops' conference — that included experts on exorcisms confirming that the pontiff was ousting demons during his brief discussion with the boy.
The video showed the pope laying both hands on the boy and uttering some words. Shortly after, the boy starts to shake, Raw Story reported.
A voice on the video then says: There is "no doubt the pope was either reciting a prayer for freeing from the devil or performing an exorcism," Raw Story reports.
The Vatican, however, said he was simply praying.
"As he often does with sick and suffering people who are presented to him, he simply intended to pray for the suffering person," Father Lombardi said in the Raw Story report.
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