The video shows Pope Francis greeting and blessing sick and disabled pilgrims in St. Peter’s piazza after the Mass on Pentecost Sunday, May 19. When he reaches a young man in a wheelchair, he stops to bless him and has a brief word with his care-giver. As the pope places both hands on the man’s head and bows his own head in prayer, the man slumps down in his wheelchair and appears to start panting in distress. A moment later, the man calms and the pope moves on. One of the pope’s assistants takes a sheaf of papers from the care-giver.
The Italian bishops’ conference television agency, TV2000, reported that this unusual event was definitely either an exorcism or a prayer for deliverance. But the next day Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, denied this, saying that Pope Francis did not “intend” to conduct an exorcism that day.