Spanish Priest Arrested for Conducting Exorcisms on Anorexic Girl

Spanish Priest Arrested

A priest was summoned to court last month to answer questions related to more than a dozen exorcisms that he allegedly conducted on a teenage girl who suffered from anorexia. The investigation took off after the girl and members of her extended family reported to Spanish authorities that she had been made to endure over 12 sessions of exorcism.

The girl, a resident of Burgos, told police officials that she had been coping with anorexia and anxiety ever since she turned 16 but her parents refused to see the problem for what it is and told themselves her symptoms were signs of her being possessed by the devil instead. Reportedly, the girl was undergoing psychiatric treatment in May 2012, when her parents decided to take her to a priest in Valladolid, who put her through several sessions of exorcism over a period of three months. The girl shared details of how she was compelled to lay on the ground and tied up with crucifixes placed all over her head. Allegedly, pictures of saints were placed on her body during these rituals, which lasted between one to two hours.

Initially, the judge ruled that the girl’s exorcisms had crossed the line into domestic violence leading up to injury and abuse.

The archdiocese of Burgos clarified in a statement:

“After the girl was admitted various times to hospitals in Burgos and Valladolid, her parents, distraught on seeing that she wasn’t recovering, brought her to the exorcist.”

The archdiocese also said that the girl’s parents alone decided to have her treated through exorcisms. Reportedly, that is when the bishop picked the accused exorcist through a legitimate process.

In defense of their rituals, the archdiocese said:

“Exorcisms are a religious practice that has been maintained as part of the church’s tradition, and is a right available to all of the faithful.”

The accused, who has not yet been found guilty, is expected to make further appearances in court in the coming weeks.

Spain has as many as 15 priests to carry out exorcisms, eight of whom were appointed in 2013 by Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, who was the Archbishop of Madrid at the time. The sudden addition was a result of the country’s growing demand for exorcisms.

Photo Credits: New York Daily News

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