Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The devil made him do it.

Sounding like some superstitious medievalist Father Gabriele Amorth gave an interview on that exciting ration station, Vatican Radio. Of course sounding like someone out of the Dark Ages puts you on the cutting edge at the Vatican. Amorth, you though he calls himself Father, isn’t anyone’s father (at least not officially) but he does have a rather interesting job. He is the Vatican’s exorcist.

He works for the Pope. You would think his job would entail tossing the old man out of office but apparently not. Amorth has announced some ideas he has.

Two evil monsters from the last century were Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin -- though not the only two, I can still think of Mao, Pol Pot, Lenin deserving a place on the list. But apparently Hitler and Stalin weren’t entirely to blame. They were supposedly occupied by the Devil!

In fact not only was Hitler possessed. Amorth said that the horned one can possess “groups and entire populations” and “that the Nazis were all possessed.” All of them.

Stalin and Hitler, says this priest --- in-between some witch burnings he had scheduled --- were particularly possessed however. “You can tell by their behaviour and their actions, from the horrors they committed and the atrocities that were committed on their orders. That’s why we need to defend society from demons.”

Does this mean that priests and popes of the past were possessed by the Devil when they burned people at the stake and tortured people in the name of Jesus? Of course this was not about to be a question asked of this priest by Vatican Radio.

Apparently some previously secret documents were released which showed that Pope Pius XII, the people during World War II, tried a “long distance” exorcism of Hitler. It didn’t work. Apparently long distance exorcisms aren’t quite like long distance phone calls.

The demon hunter said: “Of course you can pray for someone from a distance but in this case it would not have any effect.” Of course!

But why? I thought it was God who chased the Horny One out not the priest per se. And surely the creator of the universe could hear these prayers regardless of the location of the supplicant. And since God is everywhere, so they say, surely distance is no restraint on his powers?

This priest is actually the head of something called the International Association of Exorcists, which sounds something like a union. Talk about demon possession!

Amorth also wants to warn the world of other dangers from Satan: Harry Potter! Yes, the boy wizard fantasy is really a devilish plot for demons to take possession of the bodies of young children. I can see why this would upset priests. They don’t like the competition.

Amorth warns: “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of darkness, the devil.”

Right-wing kooks complain about the “liberal media”, by which they mean the illiberal media. Amorth sees the media as demonic instead. But then many on the Religious Right assume all liberals are devils. Says this man who wrestles with little devils: “There is no doubt that today’s media have done much in favour of Satan, first by the immorality of certain shows, the abundance of movies showing violence, horror or sex. Except this, media have put in the first plan and have given popularity to figures of wizards and magicians, and so they give publicity to their works.”

One thing baffles me however. The priest says that the prayers of the Vatican couldn’t work on ridding the demons which possessed the Nazis. Apparently a few choice battles however did manage this.

Apparently this priest is also a big fan of ignorance. Asked if most bishops of the church are living in “mortal sin” for ignoring the needs to have exorcisms performed he replied: “When I was a child, my old parish priest taught me that there are eight sacraments: the eighth is ignorance. And the eighth saves more than all the others together. To commit a mortal sin, there must exist grave matter, but also full awareness and deliberate consent. To fail to give one's aid is, for bishops, a grave matter. But these bishops are ignorant: there is therefore no deliberate consent and full awareness.”

Also confusing is this priest’s contradictory claims. He is said to have performed 30,000 exorcisms. So that would mean he has “cast out demons” 30,000 times. In another interview he said he has only seen about 100 cases of demonic possession. Even this number of 100 shocked the person interviewing him who replied: “In your book you say that cases of possession are rare.” Amorth then agrees: “And indeed they are.”

So they are rare, he’s seen 100, and he’s performed 30,000 exorcisms. That would mean 29,900 of them didn’t involve possession at all.

By the way reading this priest shows how much the church is back sliding into ignorance -- a good thing to Amorth. This man had nothing but disdain for the previous Pope and even implied he was possessed of the devil. “The smoke of Satan has entered everywhere. Everywhere! Perhaps we were excluded from the audience with the Pope because they were afraid that such a large number of exorcists might succeed in chasing out the legions of demons that have installed themselves in the Vatican.” Now he’s sounding like Mel Gibson.

Today Amorth is on Vatican Radio and official exorcist at the Vatican. The former Hitler Youth sitting on “St. Peter’s Throne” is throw back to Catholicism at it’s worst.


Blogger Mark Stinson said...

I'm guessing you have not read Father Amorth's book, An Exorcist Tells His Story. Its actually a pretty engaging read, and would clarify a lot of the misunderstandings you have about what Father Amorth actually believes. I recently read the book, and while I don't think you would agree with everything he might find some understanding there.

Mark Stinson

March 06, 2007


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