Vicenza, Italy: On Sunday, December 5 at approximately 11:00 am the customary progression of people quietly awaiting to attend confession was shattered as a woman reportedly became highly agitated and began screaming in various languages including Latin.
"It was frightening, horrible," one of the women who was in attendance at the time told Il Giornale di Vicenza. The disturbance was bad enough, but she reports that what made it worse was that "it altered between three different voices."
The father believed his 26-year-old daughter was suffering from "a psychiatric problem," but her mother was convinced there was a "demonic influence" to blame.
According to La Republica the woman had already undergone an exorcism in Verona, but her parents brought her to St. Mary of Mount Berico Sanctuary for confession.
In response to the disturbance, the friars are said to have escorted everyone out of the church and to have barred the doors from the inside. Some of those that were escorted out are said to have remained in the square praying while others, afraid of the screaming that could be heard from within, called the police.
Officers and medical personnel responded to the church, but were not allowed access.
Father Giuseppe Bernardi, 80, the official exorcist was called in, but soon found himself needing to call for reinforcements as the woman reportedly continued to run around the sanctuary screaming blasphemies and even slapped her mother. Additional prayers were sought via video feed.
It allegedly took four people to immobilize her.
Finally, at about 8:30 pm it ended.
"She went to sleep," one of the friars told La Repubblica. "We think that this could be a sign of liberation."
"Could be" does not sound very reassuring on the heels of an ordeal that, now that it is making international headlines, does not help protect the dignity of the individual suffering.
Exorcisms are not formulaic words written on a page that produce results and freedom. It is Jesus Himself that has all power and authority- as a bondservant of His, those filled with His Spirit have delegated authority to deal with the demonic; no questions asked.
It's not about the ability of the individual praying but rather the Spirit indwelling that believer.
For more information on the spiritual battle and effective equipping for the believer, see Russ Dizdar's courses Confronting the Powers which can be found both on his website Shatter the Darkness and on Through the Black.