Bishop exorcises entire city by helicopter

A Colombian bishop exorcised an entire city plagued by violence, drug smuggling and poverty last weekend, sprinkling holy water from a helicopter.

Before he began the mass exorcism, Monsignor Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya, the bishop of Buenaventura, said he would say a prayer intended to purge the area of demonic infestation.

He decided to carry out the ancient rite shortly after a 10-year-old girl was tortured and murdered.

“We have to drive the devil out of Buenaventura, to see if we can restore the peace and tranquility that our city has lost due to so many crimes, acts of corruption and with so much evil and drug trafficking that invades our port,” Montoya told a local radio station.

“We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura, from the air, and pour holy water on to it to see if we exorcise and get out all those demons that are destroying our port, so that God’s blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets.”

A helicopter for the aerial exorcism, was provided by Colombia’s army.

Buenaventura was named Colombia’s most violent place in 2014.

Human Rights Watch says “many of the city’s neighbourhoods are dominated by powerful criminal groups that commit widespread abuses, including abducting and dismembering people, sometimes while still alive, then dumping them in the sea.

“The groups maintain ‘chop-up houses’ where they slaughter victims, according to witnesses, residents, the local Catholic church and some officials.”

Fifty-one homicides were reported in Buenaventura in the first five months of this year: 20 more than the same period last year.

Although exorcisms are usually carried out on individuals, in 1890 Pope Leo XIII added a prayer, “Exorcism against Satan and the Fallen Angels”, for resolving demonic infestation.

Last year, the Vatican held an exorcism training course for priests, saying demands for deliverance from demonic possession had greatly increased across the world.

The increase represents a “pastoral emergency”, according to the Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists, which represents more than 200 Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox priests.


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