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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - A prominent exorcist priest, interviewed in a new bestseller on demonic possession and divine deliverance, is claiming that the Devil is terrified of Pope Francis.
"I hate Pope Francis because he is the vicar of 'that one' [Jesus], but he scares me because of his power," the Devil, speaking through a possessed man told an exorcist priest from a large diocese in Mexico, the exorcist testifies in the book.
According to the exorcist, the Devil said that "God inspired Francis to proclaim the Holy Year of Mercy so that people would pray for him. But it was a fiasco. No one prayed! We conspired and created confusion around his teaching."
The rite of exorcism does not allow the priest to converse with the victim, but "these were utterances spoken by the devil under duress, forced by the Lord Jesus," the exorcist explains in the book Exorcists Against Satan: Face To Face With the Devil.
Since it was released in Italian bookstores on Tuesday, the book by Fabio Marchese Ragona, a Vatican journalist for Mediaset (a television empire owned by Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi), has become a bestseller on Amazon.it.
The book features a thus-far unpublished interview with Francis, who admits that he has never conducted an exorcism as pope but that if he were to encounter a victim of possession, he "would ask for the support of a good exorcist, as I already did when I was archbishop."
In fact, the Mexican exorcist notes that Francis did pray over "Angel," a 53-year-old Mexican man who flew to Rome to seek prayer from the Holy Father in 2013.
Father Gabriele Amorth, who was a Vatican exorcist at the time, confirmed that Angel had received a "prayer of deliverance" from the pope, who laid hands and prayed for him on Pentecost Sunday in St. Peter's Square.
In the book, an evil spirit who has possessed a nun, also expresses his antipathy for Pope Francis, saying, "I hate him; he always speaks badly of me. Have you seen how much trouble I cause him?"
When Ragona asked the pope what he makes of the Devil's words, Francis replied, "It is possible that I get on the Devil's nerves because I try to follow the Lord and do what the gospel says. And that annoys him."
"At the same time, he is certainly happy when I commit some sin. He seeks man's failure, but he has no chance if there is prayer," the pope adds.
What is certain is that the Devil tries to attack everyone without distinction and tries above all to strike those who have more responsibilities in the Church or in society. Even Jesus suffered temptations from the Devil. We can also think of those [suffered] by Simon Peter, to whom He said: "Get away from me, Satan." Even the pope, therefore, is attacked by the evil one.
"The Devil can also enter the Temple of God, to sow discord and turn one against the other: Divisions and attacks are always the work of the Devil," Francis stresses. "The Devil either destroys directly with wars and injustices, or he does it politely, in a very diplomatic way, as Jesus recounts. Discernment is needed."
The Mexican exorcist also recounts other demons speaking against Francis. One demon tells him that "[t]here are so many clergymen who are part of Freemasonry. I have infiltrated, through them, many key posts in the Vatican, so Pope Francis is surrounded by my loyal followers."
The demon goes on to name a high-ranking cardinal who was "tempted several times but did not join Freemasonry, and for this reason, I attacked him."
"I deeply hate that old man [Benedict XVI]," says another demon. "He is humble. I'm afraid of him because he can deeply understand what is happening to this man [the victim]. He would be able to interpret the different signals and would understand everything."
Ragona also describes exorcisms performed by Fr. Vasil Pantelyuk, the parish priest of the Greek Catholic church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Dnipro, the fourth largest city in Ukraine.
In his exorcism, the priest specifically commands Satan to depart from the Russian president: "Don't you dare trick Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin anymore, sneaky serpent."
For several months, Fr. Pantelyuk has been reciting prayers of deliverance for the Russian president, who, according to many Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests and bishops, was inspired by the Devil in unleashing the war, Ragona explains.
The author compares the exorcisms directed at Putin to Pope Pius XII performing "remote exorcisms on Adolf Hitler who, according to the German bishops, was possessed by the Devil."
"It was they who reported it to the pontiff, warning him. Several years later, in 1958, in his private chapel in the papal apartment, in the presence of the nuns on duty, Pacelli practiced exorcisms also to avert the victory of communism in the Italian political elections," Ragona writes.
Veteran Vaticanist Sandro Magister notes how Pope Francis talks about the Devil with "surprising frequency" and with "a frequency on a par with that with which the same subject recurs in the New Testament."
In doing so, "Jorge Mario Bergoglio parts ways with the current preaching in the Church, which is silent about the Devil or reduces him to a metaphor," Magister remarks.
For Francis, "the Devil is not a myth, but a real person," adds Magister. "[I]n speaking of the Devil, Francis demonstrates that he has very clearly in mind his biblical and theological foundations."
"Pope Francis seems to be obsessed with the Devil," writes Fr. Thomas Rosica. "His tweets and homilies about the Devil, Satan, the Accuser, the Evil One, the Father of Lies, the Ancient Serpent, the Tempter, the Seducer, the Great Dragon, the Enemy and just plain 'demon' are now legion."
Francis "does not believe him [the Devil] to be a myth, but a real person, the most insidious enemy of the Church. Several of my theologian colleagues have said that he has gone a bit overboard with the Devil and Hell!" Rosica adds. "This intelligent Jesuit Pope is diving into deep theological waters, places where very few modern Catholic clerics wish to tread."