Who is Gabriele Amorth?
Gabriele Amorth (1925-present) is an Italian Roman Catholic priest and an exorcist of the Diocese of Rome who claims to have cleansed tens of thousands of demonic possessions. 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 the year 2000. He is now honorary president for life of the association.
Amorth's favorite film is The Exorcist. He thinks that it is substantially exact and based on a true story, although the special effects are exaggerated. In an interview with the London Sunday Telegraph that Father Gabriele Amorth stressed that "People need to know what we do." In October, 2000, he said he had performed over 50,000 exorcisms (which ranged from "a few minutes" to "several hours" in length) meaning he averaged close to ten exorcisms per day during his career up to the year 2000. In March 2010, he claimed that number had increased to 70,000., corresponding to roughly 8 exorcisms per day on average from 1986-2010.
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. 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."
Fr. 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."
He also 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."
He 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."
An announcement attributed to Father 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.