Pope Benedict XVI unintentionally exorcised two allegedly possessed men when he chanced to go past them in Vatican City, a new book has claimed.
The book, The Last Exorcist - My Fight against Satan by Father Gabriele Amorth, one of the best-known exorcists from the Catholic Church, alleges that the men were taken to St Peter's Square to be exorcised of demons in May 2009.
According to the Daily Telegraph, two assistants of Amorth escorted them pair into the square as the pope was driven around the crowds. They seated the two men in a sitting area reserved for the disabled.
As the pope approached, both men, named only as Marco and Giovanni, began acting strangely and trembling uncontrollably. Amorth said that when one of his assistants asked Giovanni to control himself, he said "I am not Giovanni" in a voice that was not his own. The priest claimed that as the pope stepped down from his vehicle, both men threw themselves to the floor.
"They banged their heads on the ground. They were trembling, slobbering, working themselves into a frenzy. The pope watched from a distance. He raised an arm and blessed them. For the possessed it was like a furious jolt - a blow to their whole bodies - to the extent that they were thrown three metres backwards," the Daily Mail quoted Amorth.
The two men reportedly stopped howling but cried uncontrollably.
Amorth is no stranger to controversy and his outspoken views have often embarrassed the Vatican. He believes that yoga is satanic because it leads to a worship of Hinduism and "all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation".
"Practising yoga is satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter," he said.