By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
VATICAN CITY (Worthy News)– The Vatican has formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who liberate the faithful from demons, according to the AP.
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reported Tuesday that the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy had approved the organization's statutes and recognized the group under canon law, thereby giving it the authority to perform exorcisms.
The head of the association, the Rev. Francesco Bamonte, said the Vatican approval was cause for joy.
"Exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer".
The Catholic Encyclopedia defines an exorcism as "the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice." The Rite of Exorcism is a sacramental by which a priest is authorized to drive out those spirits.
Last year Pope Francis was seen placing his hands on the head of a penitent purportedly possessed by four demons in what exorcists alleged was a prayer of exorcism, but Vatican sources said it was simply a prayer, period.