March 16th, 2010
08:25 PM ET

Vatican exorcist: Pedophiles tempted, not possessed

The Rev. Gabriele Amorth says people can tempted by Satan while others can be literally possessed.

As the Vatican's chief exorcist, it's the Rev. Gabriele Amorth's job to expel the devil when someone is possessed. He's performed more than 70,000 exorcisms in his career, he estimates.

But there is a difference between possession - where the devil takes hold of someone's body and actions - and temptation, where Satan lures a person into doing evil, he said.

As a child abuse scandal sweeps across Europe, with accusations being made against priests in Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, Amorth said the pedophiles are tempted, not possessed. He has never done an exorcism on a child molester, he said.

"I have carried out exorcisms on some priests who had been molested by the devil," he said, without going into details. "But cases of pedophilia exorcised, no. ... Pedophiles are not possessed by the devil, they are tempted by the devil."

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- CNN Belief Blog

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