Exorcists now have a legal weapon at their disposal after t he Vatican formally recognised a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who liberate the faithful from demons.
The Vatican's Congregation for Clergy has approved the statutes of the International Association of Exorcists and recognised the group under canon law, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reported.
More than his predecessors, Pope Francis speaks frequently about the devil, and last year was seen placing his hands on the head of a man purportedly possessed by four demons in what exorcists said was a prayer of liberation from Satan.
The head of the association, the Rev Francesco Bamonte, said the Vatican approval was cause for joy.
"Exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer," he told the paper.