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Pope Francis: Call an exorcist if you need one

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Pope Francis on Friday said confessors “should not hesitate” to refer penitents to exorcists, if they are suffering from “genuine spiritual disturbances.”

The pope was speaking to hundreds of priests taking a course on confession organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican court which deals with issues surrounding the sacrament.

Francis said having good confessors “was more useful than ever,” and “even necessary in our times,” and said churches should make confession more available to the faithful.

He said a good confessor must be a true friend of Jesus, a man of the Spirit, and should make the confessional a place of evangelization.

The pontiff said confessors are called to venture to the “peripheries of evil and sin,” and those who approach the confessional may come from the most desperate situations.

“They could also have spiritual disturbances, whose nature should be submitted to careful discernment,” Francis said, “taking into account all the existential, ecclesial, natural and supernatural circumstances.”

Francis was careful to point out priests should work with professionals to make sure a person is not suffering from psychological disorders, and again emphasized “discernment is necessary.”

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Deacon Greg Kandra
Headlines and Homilies
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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