|Born||1 May 1925 (age 88)
Modena, Emilia, Italy
|Employer||Roman Catholic Church|
Life and work
Amorth was born in Modena, Emilia. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1954 and became an official exorcist in June 1986, under the tutelage of Candido Amantini. He is a member of the Society of St. Paul, the congregation founded by James Alberione in 1914. In 1990, he founded the International Association of Exorcists and was president until he retired, at 75, in 2000. He is now honorary president for life of the association.
Amorth's favorite film is The Exorcist. He thinks that it is substantially correct and based on a true story, although the special effects are exaggerated. In an interview with the London Sunday Telegraph, Amorth stressed that "People need to know what we do."
In October 2000, he said that he had performed over 50,000 exorcisms (which ranged from "a few minutes" to "several hours" in length). In March 2010, he said that the number had increased to 70,000, corresponding to roughly eight exorcisms per day on average from 1986 to 2010. By May 2013 he said he had performed 160,000 exorcisms in the course of his ministry.
Edward Peters, a professor of canon law, finds Amorth's claim to have personally performed 30,000 exorcisms over nine years "astounding". Even accepting Amorth’s claim that only 94 of his 30,000 exorcisms represented full-blown possession, that would have required roughly one case a month to be thoroughly examined and processed over nine years with hardly a break. Amorth believes that a person may be possessed by more than one demon at once, sometimes numbering in the thousands, which is what accounts for the high number of reputed demons exorcised.
Amorth has also been quoted as saying that the senior officials of the Nazi Party were actively involved with Satanism and that both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were possessed. When asked whether the devil can strike inside the Vatican City, Amorth stated, "He has tried already. He did it in 1981 by attacking John Paul II by working with those who armed Ali Agca".
He attributes the number of exorcisms performed to his opinion that "People have lost the Faith, and superstition, magic, Satanism, or ouija boards have taken its place, which then open all the doors to the presence of demons."
Amorth offers the following guidelines to those exercising the charism of exorcism. Any such person must be highly regarded for his prayer life, faith, acts of charity and judgment. In addition he must rely solely on the Word of God and traditional prayer, be completely detached from monetary concerns, profoundly humble and treasure obscurity.
"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:8
He said that the new rite of exorcism is "a farce. An incredible obstacle that is likely to prevent us from acting against the demon." He observes that the new exorcism rite forbids exorcisms on people who have been reportedly subjected to evil spells. Father Amorth exclaimed, "Absurd! Evil spells are by far the most frequent causes of possessions and evil procured through the demon: at least 90% of cases. It is as good as telling exorcists they can no longer perform exorcisms."[unreliable source?] He also[clarification needed] noted that it also "Solemnly declares that one should not carry out exorcisms if one is not certain of the presence of the devil", while "it is only through exorcism that the demons reveal themselves". He considers the new rite, "A blunt weapon.... Efficacious prayers, prayers that had been in existence for twelve centuries, were suppressed and replaced by new ineffective prayers."
Amorth authored two books specifically on exorcism. The two books An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories are not official Roman Catholic documents, rather personal accounts of his office as Exorcist. The books use witness accounts and personal experience as evidence. The two books include references to official Roman Catholic teachings on demonology, however the main emphasis is on Amorth's experience as an exorcist. Both include references to the diagnosis and treatment of spiritual problems. The books briefly cover the topics of demonic contraction and curses. On curses he states that, "A curse can originate from such things as maledictions by close relatives, a habit of blaspheming, membership in Freemasonry, spiritic or magic practices, and so on."
In reviewing An Exorcist Tells His Story, Dr. Peters found serious inconsistencies common in Amorth’s work, and the anecdotal accounts of exorcisms presented, "frequently unconvincing". Peters notes that while Amorth is critical of physicians who treat patients for years with little or no results, yet he does not blush at recording his own weekly exorcisms of some people that run on for years, often enough with mixed results of his own. Regarding people who ingest foreign objects, Peters questions whether Fr. Amorth is confusing demonic possession with pica, schizophrenia, or Kleine-Levin syndrome.
Regarding Amorth's second book, An Exorcist: More Stories, Peters observed "... it is as bad as his first."
Amorth was also interviewed for the second episode of True Horror with Anthony Head, presented by Anthony Head. He stated that he never performs exorcisms on people who claim they are possessed without being so, and that he always sends people to see psychiatrists and psychologists before coming to him, and even mentioned an anecdote: that when he sees someone is not possessed but the person insists, he replies: "You have no Devil. If you have a problem, talk to a good vet."
Views on Harry Potter and yoga
Amorth was also one of the voices that made public warnings to parents about J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, stating that the books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when the distinction "does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil."
At a film festival in Umbria (where he was invited to introduce the 2011 film about exorcism called The Rite), he is quoted as saying that yoga is satanic because it leads to practice of Hinduism and "all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation" and "practising yoga is satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter".
Father Francis X. Clooney S.J., of Boston College and Harvard Divinity School noted that, "First, mere recriminations against the religion of another are just about never acceptable or useful. ...Second, if one is a professional exorcist, one may indeed see everything in light of that profession, and so it is not surprising that Fr. Amorth sees the devil at work everywhere; perhaps it is his default explanation of the woes that afflict us."
An announcement attributed to Amorth to the online Catholic news service Petrus hailed the formation of adjuristine-exorcism squads by Pope Benedict XVI. The report, which was picked up by the UK newspaper the Daily Mail on December 29, 2007, originally appeared on Petrus and claimed the squads were being dispatched worldwide to "tackle the rise of Satanism". Vatican officials immediately dismissed the reports but it was an unusual instance where the existence of adjurist and adjuristine activity was acknowledged in the press.
- An Exorcist Tells his Story (translated by Nicoletta V. Mackenzie, 1999; ISBN 0-89870-710-2)
- Gospel of Mary: A Month With the Mother of God (2000; ISBN 0-8189-0871-8)
- An Exorcist: More Stories (translated by Nicoletta V. Mackenzie, 2002; ISBN 0-89870-917-2)
- Esorcisti e Psichiatri (2002; ISBN 80-7192-981-6)
- Pater Pio: Lebensgeschichte eines Heiligen (2003; ISBN 3-7171-1108-6)
- Dietro un sorriso: Beata Alexandrina Maria da Costa (Elledici, 2006; ISBN 8-8010-3477-6)
- Memorie di un esorcista (2010; ISBN 978-88-566-0942-4)
- An Exorcist: More Stories, Gabriele Amorth, Ignatius Press, 2000, page 9
- Allegri, Renzo. "The Exorcist", A Messenger of St. Anthony
- Brandreth, Gyles (2000-10-29). "An Interview With Fr Gabriele Amorth". The Sunday Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2004-11-06. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Dicker, Ron. "Gabriele Amorth, Catholic Priest And Exorcist, Says He's Done More Than 160,000 Exorcisms", The Huffington Post 5 May 2013
- Peters J.C.D., Edward N., "Review of Gabriel Amorth, An Exorcist Tells His Story"
- "Hitler and Stalin were possessed by Devil, says Vatican exorcist". Daily Mail. 2006-08-28.
- Bentsen, Clark. "Pope's Exorcist Says the Devil Is In the Vatican", ABC News, 11 March 2010
- National Catholic Register, Vatican exorcist: Hitler Knew the Devil, Edward Pentin, October 26, 2006.
- An Exorcist More Stories, Gabriele Amorth, Ignatius Press (2000)
- These Last Days Ministries, "World's most famous exorcist says: New rite of exorcism a blunt weapon"
- Brandreth, Gyles (May 2006). "An Interview With Father Gabriele Amorth: The Church's Leading Exorcist". The Sunday Telegraph (spiritdaily.net). Retrieved 27 July 2012. "Reprinted with permission ... This interview first appeared in the 29th October 2000 issue of The Sunday Telegraph"
- An Exorcist: More Stories, Gabriele Amorth, Ignatius Press, 2000.
- An Exorcist: More Stories, Gabriele Amorth, Ignatius Press, 2000, page 115.
- Pisa, Nick (2006-08-28). "Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil, says Vatican exorcist". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26.07.212.
- 'Harry Potter and yoga are evil', says Catholic Church exorcist The Telegraph, 27 November 2011.
- Clooney, S.J., Francis X., "Fr. Amorth's Yoga and the Devil", America Magazine, 10 December 2011.
- "Pope's exorcist squads will wage war on Satan". Daily Mail (London). 2007-12-29.
- Fr. Gabriele Amorth (March 1999). "Excerpt from An Exorcist Tells his Story". An Exorcist Tells his Story. Ignatius Press. pp. 25–36. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- "The Reform of the Rite of Exorcism". 30 Days. June 2000. Archived from the original on 2006-08-14. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Interview at the Internet archive
- "Demonology". The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. New Advent - Catholic Encyclopedia. January 1908. Retrieved 2007-03-03.
- "Exorcist". The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. New Advent - Catholic Encyclopedia. January 1909. Retrieved 2007-03-03.
- Pisa, Nick (December 2007). "Vatican to create more exorcists to tackle 'evil'". The Daily Telegraph, 2007-12-29 (London: The Daily Telegraph, British newspaper). Retrieved 2007-12-29.