By Michael H. Brown
Exorcist in Rome says the Church has stripped itself of weapons against evil
Father Gabriele Amorth, the official exorcist in Rome, has warned that wanton consumerism, sexual promiscuity, the occult, abortion, and homosexuality have caused a tremendous outbreak of demonic activity at a time when the Church has stripped itself of weapons to fight it.
Amorth’s remarks come in a bestselling book, An Exorcist Tells His Story, and parallel warnings from such places as Fatima — where seer Lucia dos Santos said we are facing a “decisive” battle with the devil — and Medjugorje, where just two weeks ago, on January 1, the Virgin told seer Marija Pavlovic that devotion is urgent at a time when “Satan is free from chains.”
The remarks also parallel comments by the Pope himself, who before he ascended to the throne of Peter once commented that we are in an “apocalyptic” battle between light and dark.
Indeed, it was just last summer that the Pope himself, along with Father Amorth, attempted to exorcise a 19-year-old girl who erupted into a demonic tirade during an audience at the Vatican [see original story].
In the rest of the Church, however, the practice of exorcism has largely disappeared except for extraordinary cases — and only after approval of psychologists or psychiatrists who rarely believe in demonic phenomena to begin with. Though Jesus admonished His follower to cast out devils — and did so Himself on numerous occasions — in many cities this charism has been all but lost.
“I must point out that too many churchmen are totally disinterested in these problems, and so they leave the faithful defenseless,” writes Father Amorth. “I believe that taking the exorcisms out of the baptismal ritual was a grave mistake (and it seems that Paul VI shared my opinion). I believe that it was a mistake to have eliminated, without a suitable replacement, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel that we used to recite after each Mass.
I am convinced that allowing the ministry of exorcism to die is an unforgivable deficiency to be laid squarely at the door of the bishops. Every diocese should have at least one exorcist at the cathedral, and every large parish and sanctuary should have one as well.
Today the exorcist is seen as a rarity, almost impossible to find. His activity, on the other hand, has an indispensable pastoral value, as valuable as that of the preacher, the confessor, and those who administer the other sacraments.
“The Catholic hierarchy must say a forceful mea culpa,” continues Amorth. “I am personally acquainted with many Italian bishops; I know of only a few who have ever practiced or who have assisted during an exorcism or who are adequately aware of this problem, I do not hesitate to repeat what I have written elsewhere; if a bishop, when faced with a valid request for an exorcism — I am not talking about the request of some demented person — does not address the problem, either personally or by delegating the task to a qualified priest, he is guilty of a most serious sin of omission. As a result of this negligence, we now have lost what once was the school; in the past, a practicing exorcist would instruct a novice.”
For Father Amorth’s books see our bookshop