The Catholic Church is building a centre dedicated to exorcisms in the Philippines after an apparent surge since the pandemic.
The St Michael Centre for Spiritual Liberation and Exorcism in Manila will be the first of its kind in Asia and will train priests in the art of expelling demons and provide a dedicated site to perform the rituals.
Father Jose Francisco Syquia, director of the archdiocese and chief exorcist, said he receives around 10 reports a day of spiritual disturbances.
The church said that mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical stress caused by the pandemic made for a perfect storm for possessions and demonic intervention.
The archdiocese said: 'A product of more than seven years of prayers, planning and fundraising, this will be the first of its kind in Asia, if not the world.'
Father Syquia added: 'This centre will minister to those in bondage to the devil who are therefore the poorest of the poor and are usually overlooked.'
The centre has a chapel as well as rooms for counselling, exorcisms and interviews.
Father Syquia says 'full possession' only accounts for 20 per cent of all exorcisms, with the majority being performed on people who are being 'harassed physically' by the evil spirits.
He believes witchcraft and unhealthy home lives can be contributing factors, and there has been a 'sharp increase' in the past three to five years.
Only Catholic priests who have undergone intensive training and received approval from a bishop are allowed to perform exorcisms.
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