Whoever thought becoming a priest was not financially lucrative could learn a thing or two from Father Francesco Saverio Bazzoffi. A senior priest in Florence, Fr Francesco is under investigation for fraud after allegedly collecting £3 million ($59,846,001 USD) by performing fake exorcisms!! According to the prosecutors, the priest would stage shows at the House if the Sainted Archangels, an organization he founded. The “shows” that would attract crowds of over 400 had his associates pretend to be possessed by demons and Fr Francesco would allegedly exorcise them using ancient and obscure rites. He would then offer to “heal” members of the audience who were sick and give donations to his organization.
Prosecutors have also put 13 (is it a coincidence that 13 is considered an unlucky number!!) of the priest’s associates under investigation. They had started monitoring Fr Francesco in 2005 and his house was raided last month where several documents were seized that showed the priest had £3 million ($59,846,001 USD) in his bank account. In his defense, the priest denied that he had ever practiced exorcisms and admitted that he did not have a license to do so. “I have always only carried out blessings,” he said. His blessings sure turned out to be a “worldly and materialistic” blessing for him don’t you think? The priest claimed that all the money for his charitable work, though it might seem like a lot, was a sum total of lots of small donations. “Around 30,000 people come to us every year. The police should be able to see that the money always goes out to our projects in India and the Philippines,” he added.