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Exorcist Association Gets Green Light From Vatican

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A detail of a priest's crucifix during a lesson by Father Gabriele Nanni, an official exorcist of the Roman Catholic church, at the Regina Apolostolorum pontifical university in Rome 17 February 2005. Around one hundred priests today attended the first lesson on satanism and exorcism at the Vatican-linked Regina Apostolorum university. AFP PHOTO / Alberto PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Exorcists now have a legal weapon at their disposal.

The Vatican has formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who liberate the faithful from demons.

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.

More than his predecessors, Pope Francis speaks frequently about the devil, and last year was seen placing his hands on the head of a man purportedly possessed by four demons in what exorcists said was a prayer of liberation from Satan.

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," he told L'Osservatore.

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