Zamboanga diocese skeptical about case of possessed women
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Archdiocese of Zamboanga said Thursday it was treating with utmost care the reported possession by evil spirits of at least four women at the Women’s Crisis Center in the village of Santa Barbara here. The alleged possession was reported on Tuesday by the city’s social welfare officer, Francisco Barredo, and Carmen Luna, head of the WCC. Barredo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the four women manifested behaviors “that indicated they were possessed by evil spirits.”
“They became so strong that four persons could hardly control them, their voices became like that of men and they were uttering undecipherable words,” she said. Luna said one of the women suddenly spoke fluent Filipino when she never used the language before. Barredo said the phenomenon was witnessed by city councilors Rudy Lim and Rogelio Valesco, whom she called in to help. She said they brought the women to the nearby Santo Niño Church, where “a prayer healing was performed and gradually the possession subsided.” She said it was not the first time an evil possession happened at the WCC. The WCC building was erected on what was once a burial ground for soldiers killed in World War II, according to Ayala Parish Priest Father Amado Vano.
Monsignor David Alonso, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga City, said the Catholic Church believed in evil possession but it has to deal with any occurrence with skepticism. He said any person claiming to have been possessed by evil spirits had to be examined first.
“The patient has to seek medical attention first. It could just be a mental case,” Alonso said.
Barredo admitted that the woman sought shelter at the WCC after being abused and raped.
Alonso said that only one priest in the city has been authorized to perform exorcism.
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