Pope Francis was merely praying in a video that some claim shows him performing an exorcism on a Mexican pilgrim, the Vatican says. In the video—broadcast on a TV station owned by the Italian Bishops' Conference—the man convulses and then goes limp after the stern-faced pontiff places his hands on his head, the BBC reports. Exorcists say that no matter what the Vatican claims, the pope was clearly expelling the forces of evil from the man.
"The Pope is also the Bishop of Rome, and like any bishop he is also an exorcist," says Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's former chief exorcist. "It was a real exorcism," he says, claiming that the pilgrim was possessed by no fewer than four demons. The pope's frequent references to Satan have fueled suspicion that the incident was an exorcism, but a Vatican spokesman says it was at most a "prayer for liberation," the AP notes.