Benedict XVI cured two men of demonic possession when he blessed them in St Peter’s Square, a leading exorcist has claimed.
Fr Gabriele Amorth said that when the Pope blessed the men they “flew three metres backwards” and “howled no longer”.
In extracts from a new book, published yesterday by Panorama magazine in Italy, Fr Amorth explained that incident occurred when the men, known only as Giovanni and Marco, attended a general audience.
When the Pope appeared, Fr Amorth said, according to AFP: “The two possessed men fell to the floor and banged their heads on the ground. The Swiss guards watched but did nothing; perhaps they have seen how the possessed react when faced by the Pope before?
“The Pope began to wave to the crowd and Giovanni and Marco started to howl, drool, shake and fly into a rage.
“The possessed were then hit by a wild jolt, their whole bodies were hit. They flew three metres backwards … and howled no longer.”
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi denied that the Pope had performed an exorcism.
“Even if the facts are true, it’s not correct to talk about an exorcism by the Pope, who was not warned or aware of their presence,” he said.
Fr Amorth made a similar claim about Blessed Pope John Paul II. In 2000, he said that the late pope performed an impromptu exorcism on a a teenage girl at the end of an audience in St Peter’s Square. The Vatican’s press office declined to comment on the claim at the time.