A senior priest in Florence is under investigation for fraud after allegedly amassing £3 million by performing fake exorcisms. Prosecutors said that Father Francesco Saverio Bazzoffi would “stage shows” at the House of the Sainted Archangels, an organisation he founded. During the events, which regularly attracted crowds of over 400 people, a number of associates would “pretend to be possessed by demons” and Fr Bazzoffi would allegedly exorcise them using ancient and obscure rites. He would then offer to “heal” members of the audience who were sick, and solicit donations to his organisation.

One witness told police: “During Mass, the priest spoke in Aramaic, and strange things happened. I do not know if it was group hysteria or our suggestibility, but I remember one old woman screaming in a man’s voice while five big guys held her down.” Prosecutors, who have also put 13 of his associates under investigation, started monitoring Fr Bazzoffi in 2005. His house was raided last month, and several documents were seized that showed the priest had £3 million in his bank account. He denied that he had ever “encouraged” sick people to believe he could heal them. “These accusations would make me laugh, if it was not such a serious thing.”

He added: “The House of the Sainted Archangels is not a registered business and does not have a bank account. So I opened one in my own name.

And the Catholic Church is puzzled why people are jumping ship…..

  1. Improbus says:

    Which is worse? Exorcisms or e-meters?

  2. keane-o says:

    The church is more pissed off at not getting their cut.

  3. Aaron says:


  4. JFStan says:

    Using the word “fake” before “exorcisms” is redundant.

  5. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    What other kind of exorcisms are there?

  6. pat says:

    “A senior priest in Florence is under investigation for fraud after allegedly amassing £3 million by performing fake exorcisms.”

    A fool and their money are soon parted.

  7. James Hill says:

    #5 – There are fewer liberals posting here. In other words, the beneficial kind.

  8. jbenson2 says:

    The Catholic Church is in big trouble when they have idiots like Father Pfleger in charge, who think Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright are the nation’s greatest Biblical scholars.


  9. Colonel Panic says:

    I think we need an exorcism on this thread..hmmmm. ….let see…who could it be…could it be…..JAMES HILL!!!

  10. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #9 – A troll will be a troll…

  11. gregallen says:

    Another person, closer to home, who has made big money doing exorcisms is Bob Larson. He’s a pretty fascinating guy. Here’s a YouTube of him: http://tinyurl.com/5znldg

    Some form of “demon possession” seems to be common in most cultures. I’ve personally seen it in Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. I haven’t see it personally but I think it exists animistic cultures, too.

    Obviously, it’s a metaphor that works for a lot of people. In my opinion, out-of-body experiences and alien abductions are a western secular form of the same psychological phenomenon.

  12. gregallen says:

    … oh, I forgot to mention the most common western-secular form of exorcism: “detoxing”.

    Lot’s of alternative health practitioners are making big money off of that mythology.

  13. amodedoma says:

    Is there some sin a catholic priest won’t practice?

  14. gregallen says:

    >>> # 13 amodedoma said, on April 4th, 2008 at
    >>> Is there some sin a catholic priest won’t practice?

    I’m sure not. But the Catholics I know will tell you that the vast majority of priests are good, decent people.

    I certainly will say that about the protestant clergy I know. But, yes, there are some evil ones in our church tradition, too.

  15. Mr. Catshit says:

    #12, greg,

    Good point. There are con artists and charlatans in all areas of life. When a member of the clergy starts taking advantage of people though, the hypocrisy is a little much for most people.


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