Vatican City - The Vatican has recognised the International Exorcists Association (AIE), its official newspaper reported Thursday.
Exorcists are ordained priests who perform special religious rites to chase out demons or spirits from people who are believed to be possessed.
The decision to recognise the AIE was taken on June 13, with the announcement made in Thursday's edition of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
"Exorcism is a form of charity, benefiting people who suffer; it is undoubtedly an exercise of corporal and spiritual mercy," AIE President Father Francesco Bamonte told the newspaper.
AIE, initially known as the Italian Exorcists Association, was founded in 1991 by Father Gabriele Amorth, a well-known devil-chaser.
The organisation currently has about 250 affiliate priests in 30countries.