Pope Francis says some spiritual troubles require an exorcist.
He told a hearing of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Friday.
He said that one of the three tribunals of the Roman Curia or Vatican administration, the Penitentiary has jurisdiction over issues such as the confession of sins.
“In cases in which the confessor were to become aware of the presence of real and actual spiritual disturbances … he must not hesitate to turn to … exorcists,” the pontiff was quoted as saying in a statement from the Vatican.
Rule out psychological problems first
The confessor should first rule out the possibility that the person is afflicted by psychological problems “through a healthy collaboration with the human sciences” before deciding that the problem is due to “supernatural circumstances” and turning to an exorcist, Francis said.
Catholic priests must be “endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life” before being allowed to conduct exorcisms, according to a 1985 letter to bishops by then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.