Gabriele Amorth  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Gabriele Amorth (1 May 1925 – 16 September 2016) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and an exorcist of the Diocese of Rome.


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 was 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, in 2000. He was honorary president for life of the association until his death.

Amorth's favorite film was The Exorcist. He thought that it was 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, it was reported 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 . By May 2013 he said he had performed 160,000 exorcisms in the course of his ministry. Note that according to Father Amorth, each exorcism does not represent a victim of possession each, but rather each exorcism is counted as a prayer or ritual alone, and some possession victims required hundreds of exorcisms.

Edward Peters, a professor of canon law, finds Amorth's claim to have personally performed 30000 exorcisms over 90 years "astounding". Even accepting Amorth’s claim that only 94 of his 30000 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 offered 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."

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 "practicing 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."

Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi

Amorth has claimed that an Italian schoolgirl who went missing in Rome in 1983, was kidnapped for sex parties by a gang involving Vatican police and foreign diplomats. He said that the girl (Emanuela Orlandi) was later murdered and her body disposed of. Amorth claims that girls were recruited at the Vatican for parties and perceptively added that the death of Emanuela Orlandi “was a crime with a sexual motive”.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Gabriele Amorth" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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