MANILA (AFP) – A blood-curdling scream echoes through the Roman Catholic chapel in Manila as Father Jose Francisco Syquia says a prayer of exorcism over a Satanic cult member believed to be possessed by the devil.
"It's very painful," the woman cries in an unearthly voice, her body contorting in an attempt to break free from the tight grasp of Syquia's assistants. After a few minutes she falls silent, her limp body exhausted....The case is among hundreds documented on video and kept by Syquia, who heads the Manila Archdiocese's Office of Exorcism -- the only one that exists in the Catholic nation of 94 million people.
"She would have levitated had she not been restrained," Syquia said of the woman in the video, portions of which were shown to AFP during a rare interview at his office in the basement of a seminary in Manila....Syquia believes he is in the frontline of the battle between good and evil on earth.
"There is a great dramatic increase of possessions right now," said the 44-year-old priest. "More and more the demons are gaining a foothold into this society."
While non-believers often joke about the devil, and demonic possessions are trivialised by Hollywood, Syquia insisted the torment suffered by those he had healed was real.
"I have seen scratches suddenly appearing on their skin, of inverted crosses on the forehead. These persons would be conscious at the time, and they tell me its like razor cutting from the inside of the skin," he said.