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Exorcist who was spiritual director to Pope Francis dies aged 102

Fr Carlos Aldunate SJ (Jesuitas de Chile)

Fr Carlos Aldunate SJ, an exorcist who taught Pope Francis, has died in Chile aged 102.

Fr Aldunate was a spiritual director for the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he was studying for his juniorate in 1960.

According to Civiltà Cattolica, Pope Francis shared the following anecdote about Fr Aldunate: “Carlos was the (auxiliary) custodian and was … the king of common sense. Once, I remember I went to see him because I was feeling a lot of rage against a person. I wanted to give him a piece of my mind: tell him that this is not OK, that you are a so-and-so. Father Aldunate said: ‘Calm yourself! Do you seriously want to break with this person from the get-go? Try different approaches.’ I never forgot that advice, and I thank him for that”.

Fr Aldunate was an exorcist as well as being the rector of the Jesuit seminary of Chile. He was also a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile (UCA), and at the University of the North.

The Jesuit priest also wrote a book titled: “The Devil, Doctrine and Catholic Practice”. In 2011 he explained that he was driven to write it after a speech given by Pope Paul VI in 1972. In this speech, he explained the need to fight against the devil. Father Aldunate explained his exorcisms: “Once you suspect that someone needs an exorcism, then you pick up the phone and call a bishop to ask for authorisation.

“It’s an obligation of charity. Many priests fail to practice it because they lack the experience, or they don’t think of performing one.”

Fr Aldunate and Pope Francis met for one last time on January 16, 2018, in the Sanctuary of Saint Albert Hurtado, during the Pope’s visit to Chile.