Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fr. Amorth's latest contribution to confusion

Fr. Gabriel Amorth (b. 1925) was for many years the chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome (not "the Vatican's exorcist", a post that does not exist) and is now honorary president of a professional organization he founded in the early 1990s, the International Association of Exorcists. Exorcisms are regulated under 1983 CIC 1172, and the current Rite of Exorcism was promulgated in 1999.

Recently, Fr. Amorth announced his conclusion that Hitler and all Nazis, and Stalin (but not all Communists?) were possessed by the Devil. I suspect that others will ably point out what a very problematic assertion, at many levels, that is. For now, I only call attention to my negative review of Amorth's most famous book, An Exorcist Tells His Story (1999) and respectfully suggest that IAE consider making it clear that the ubiquitous Fr. Amorth does not speak for them.

For those who would like a generally reliable narration of an actual possession/exorcism case, see Thomas Allen, Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism (1993); see also Henninger Media Development, "In the Grip of Evil" (DVD 1997), containing, among other things, interviews with Allen and Fr. Walter Halloran, SJ, the seminarian who assisted the original St. Louis exorcist in 1949. (And yes, I know the weird Bp. Emmanuel Milingo makes a brief appearance toward the end of the film. Oh well.)

For Jimmy Akin's reservations on Fr. Amorth, go here.