WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Reaction to a viral video showing Pope Francis performing what some say is an exorcism is pouring out across the globe and in Washington, D.C.
The video shows the Pontiff greeting parishioners after Sunday mass at the Vatican. One of those faithfuls is a young man in a wheelchair. Pope Francis puts his hands on his head and recites some words, and what happens after is what has the world a buzz.
The opinions are split. The Vatican insists it was nothing more than prayer, however, other religious leaders in Italy say it was in fact an exorcism. The young man in the wheelchair is seen breathing heavily and gasping.
Dr. William Stuart, an anthropologist and exorcism expert from the University of Maryland, said the video was inconclusive.
"There's nothing that is all that definitive. On the other hand it could just be some kind of a healing ministry," Dr. Staurt said.
The Pontiff has come under heavy criticism because of the possibility that it may have been an exorcism. It's a rite that has long ingrained history in the Catholic faith, but those dishing out the criticism are upset because they believe it's a thing of the past, according to Dr. Stuart.
He continued, "There are among those that think that we're past that. That the custom of exorcism was a 2,000 years ago but once the church gets institutionalized there are other defenses against Satan, because it is Satan and his minions that are identified as the possessing agents."