Priests in Argentina were captured on video performing an exorcism on a woman they say was possessed by "the devil."
Video footage of the intense procedure surfaced online on Tuesday and immediately went viral on social networking sites. A 22-year-old woman, identified only as Laura, is seen being pinned to the ground by clergymen as they cast out demonic forces from her in a chamber at the Lutheran Charismatic Church in Buenos Aires.
As Bishop Manuel Acuna, 52, leads the exorcism, Laura can be seen writhing and wincing in pain while yelling profanity at the religious leaders. Prior to the horrifying scene, local congregants gathered at the church to pray for the woman and Acuna briefly explained why he had to perform the exorcism.
"The demon exists. He's not an idea, he's not a theory, he's not something abstract," he said, according to the Mirror. "The devil is a personality and therefore has a strategy. We are talking about something terrifying, a fallen angel. The devil is not a metaphor. The devil is something real that Jesus Christ faced. The devil looks for the perdition of the human being and for this he will use any possible evil instrument."
At one point in the video, Laura begins sweating profusely as her wriggling becomes more intense and the clergymen struggle to restrain her. Acuna can be heard saying "leave, leave her now!"
His prayer grows louder as he places what appears to be a wooden crucifix above her chest which evokes even more agonizing screams.
One local man said that while the exorcism was shocking to witness, it was necessary for the deliverance of Laura's soul.
"We could hear her screaming and crying and we prayed for her deliverance," said Augustus Amador Arevalo, 32, who prayed for Laura. "She was a good girl but turned bad when the devil possessed her. She had to be exorcised, she had to be free."
Toward the end of the clip, one of the clergymen is seen placing something in Laura's mouth and within seconds her head falls back, the writing stops and she is quiet.
"Thank God, we've recovered a daughter of God," said Bishop Acuna. "You haven't seen a major exorcism. This was a group of demons similar to the ones that Jesus faced. Her delivery is God's gift for us today."
What does the Bible say about exorcism?
Scriptures that reference exorcism and demonic possession appear throughout a number of passages in the Bible, including Matthew 10:1-42, Luke 11:18-19 and Acts 19:11-16.
"And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction," Matthew 10:1-42.
"And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges," Luke 11:18-19.
"And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul. So that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched His skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, 'I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims,'" Acts 19:11-16.