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An Exorcist Tells His Story - Gabriele Amorth
Book Review - An Exorcist Tells His Story – Gabriele Amorth
Exorcism, Exorcists and the power of evil.
In 2010 can such a thing still be part of day to day life in a modern world? The answer is a very definite yes!
Who is the author?
Father Gabriele Amorth has been a Catholic priest since 1954 and the chief exorcist in Rome since 1986.
He is author of ‘An Exorcist Tells His Story’ and ‘An Exorcist – more stories’ (Pub Ignatius) they are a salutary journey through his experiences of almost 25 years in this most extraordinary role; not official Catholic works, rather accounts of his personal experiences throughout an amazing ministry.
He founded the International Association of Exorcists in 1990 along with 5 other exorcist priests.
What’s the story?
Fr Gabriele Amorth sets out calmly and factually the processes, people and events which come from his experiences of hundreds of exorcisms.
Who is Satan? Who or What are Demons? What power do they have? These questions and many more are answered here. As a Catholic, I was educated and interested by both titles.
Can one say entertained? I think so – as entertained as one can be when reading a factual account; perhaps a little slow in places and the theology and descriptions of church teachings perhaps a little dry, but necessary to give a context.
In the conclusion Fr Amorth says ‘I wrote with the intent of turning the fruits of my direct experience into practical help for the faithful, because no other book in print today has done so. I hope that I have been of service to all who are interested in the topic of exorcism.’
I think he has achieved that intention with these two books of his life’s work as an exorcist.
My experience of the book
I am a catholic – a convert – and I certainly believe in Satan. What is sometimes more difficult to get one’s head around is that he is working in and is a profound influence on our world today.
I came across these books by chance and I was immediately struck by the humility and compassion of the author. However, he is no pushover! Gabriele Amorth has stood against some of the most powerful forces of evil and has withstood press and media interest and at times ridicule.
His compassion shines through in the books which can at times be a little technical. He uses examples of exorcisms – real people, places and events - which show us in a graphic way the suffering of people possessed.
The Catholic Church has to some degree suppressed the ministry of exorcism; it has become a matter of debate and at times concern that on the face of it there is a move away from this important ministry. Gabriel Amorth brings it to the fore in a clear and at times moving way.
What is Exorcism?
A definition from the online Britannia encyclopaedia says that exorcism is;
'An adjuration addressed to evil spirits to force them to abandon an object, place, or person; technically, a ceremony used in both Jewish and Christian traditions to expel demons from persons who have come under their power.'
It goes on to describe the origin of the word itself;
It is derived from exorkizo, which is used in the Septuagint (Genesis 24:3 = cause to swear; III (I) Kings 22:16 = adjure), and in Matthew 26:63, by the high priest to Christ, "I adjure thee by the living God. . ." The non-intensive horkizo and the noun exorkistes (exorcist) occur in Acts 19:13, where the latter (in the plural) is applied to certain strolling Jews who professed to be able to cast out demons.
A powerful and effective formula – the original rite of Exorcism was written in 1614.
In a series of 1986 audience talks about angels and the devil, Pope John Paul II had said Satan has been defeated by Christ's death and resurrection, but he continues to try to win over people.
"It cannot be excluded that in certain cases the Evil Spirit tries to exercise his influence not only on material things, but also on the human body, for which one speaks of diabolical possession:"
"It is not always easy to discern that which happens preternaturally in these cases, nor does the Church easily yield to or support the tendency to attribute many occurrences to the intervention of the demon,"
"One cannot deny that in his desire to harm and to lead toward evil, Satan can reach this extreme manifestation" of his power.
After a decade of preparation, a new modern rite was published on Jan 26 1999. Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, in announcing the revisions said;
"We know there are Catholics who have not received good formation and doubt the existence of the devil, but this is an article of faith and part of the doctrine of the Catholic Church,"
"Whoever says the devil does not exist is no longer a believer."
- Vatican to create more exorcists to tackle \'evil\' - Telegraph
The Roman Catholic Church has vowed to "fight the Devil head-on" by training hundreds of priests as exorcists.
- Daily Telegraph
Devil defeats the Pope in Vatican exorcism battle By Bruce Johnston in Rome Published: 12:00AM BST 11 Sep 2000
- Exorcisms On the Rise
An internet library of journal articles, essays, book excerpts, and other texts chosen for their objective, concise, and clear presentation of Catholic teachings, history, and culture.
- BBC News | UK | Exorcism enters a new age
Priests are performing an increasing number of exorcisms, aided by a new manual from the Vatican.
- CNN article - new Vatican rite of Exorcism
VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- Blaming Satan for many of today's ills, the Vatican on Tuesday unveiled updated exorcism rules, along with a caution not to mistake psychiatric problems for diabolic possession.