The world’s most famous exorcist, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, gave spoke clearly and unequivocally of the existence and activity of the devil in an interview with Sandro Magister, the well-known Vaticanist from the weekly Italian magazine “L’Espresso.
In this interview, made by Magister immediately after Italian Police arrested, in Somma Lombardo (Northern Italy), the young members of a Satanist cult called “The Beasts of Satan” for the ritual murder of at least seven people, Fr. Amorth expreses his strong views on the devil and the Church.
Q: Fr. Amorth, first the three girls of Chiavenna, then Erica and Omar, and now the young group of Somma Lombardo. Is Satan working in them?
A: “That is certainly true, I have studied the first two cases well. Those young people were given over to the devil, they read satanic books. And the incredible ferocity of their acts! When a girl stabs her own mother ninety-seven times, one must see that as the work of the prince of darkness.”
Q: Are there times when Satan is more active than at others?
A: “In an ordinary way, Satan is always active. He is a tempter since the beginning. He does everything he can to make man sin, and every time evil is done he is always behind it, though it is always true that man freely decides his own acts. But then there is an extraordinary action of the evil one, and this is diabolical possession.”
Q: Are cases of possession frequent?
A: “No, they are rare. But I can’t give precise figures. I have in my care many cases of true demonic possession, but that is because the most difficult cases come to me, the ones not resolved by other exorcists. During the first years of my activity, when I welcomed all without screening, the great majority were mentally ill persons, without demonic activity.”
Q: How do you know that someone is possessed?
A: “I find this out during treatment, not before. An unequivocal symptom is the violent, visceral aversion to anything sacred. I remember a father who was afraid that his son was possessed by the devil, and one day, while they were together at table, he mentally said a Hail Mary for him. The boy burst out with a cry: ‘No, Dad, be quiet!’ Then there is speaking in unknown languages, exploding with a superhuman force, and levitation: these are all things that happen during exorcisms.”
Q: How does a possessed person live from one crisis to another?
A. “Normally. He goes to work, and no one knows. He keeps his state well hidden. When he feels a crisis coming on, he removes himself, closes himself in the bathroom, vents his rage, and then returns impassively to his place. This is all the more true for the possessed who are undergoing treatment, to whom exorcism gives the strength to return to a normal life. One thing must be emphasized: diabolical possession is not hereditary, nor is it contagious.”
Q: What links the possessed with satanists?
A: “It frequently happens that a person becomes possessed after entering a spiritualist or satanic cult. There are few of these in my care, because only repentant satanists ask for exorcism. But I think there are many more among them. It is easy to enter the satanic cults, but extremely difficult to get out. In some cases, one risks one’s life.”
Q: And what bond do the satanists have with the devil?
A: “There are two kinds: those who worship the devil, celebrate satanic masses, and have a priesthood and a hierarchy; and those who do not believe at all in the personal existence of Satan, but give themselves over to acts that are filthy and against nature. This other satanism is the more dangerous.”
A: John Paul II has said exorcisms for three possessed persons. Have they been released?
A: “The third, no. I have had her in my care since 1998, and hers is a truly sad case.”
Q: Apart from the pope, what is belief in the devil like in the Church?
A: “Very diminished. And the devil is extremely content with that, because that frees his hand to do his work. The Church has gone from one extreme to the other. To correct the folly of witch hunting, who instead of being exorcised were burned, it has erased everything, both devil and exorcism. The result is that entire Catholic regions no longer have even a single exorcist: Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland. I admire the Italian bishops. They don’t understand anything about it, but at least they appoint exorcists. Last year there was a meeting of the Italian exorcists: there were one hundred and seventy of us.”
(Editor’s Note: in the case of Spain there is in fact a famous exorcist, Fr. Fortea, some accounts of whose exorcisms are well known in Spain.)
Q: Explain better; in what sense do the bishops not understand anything about this?
A: “Because they, like all priests, have studied at the seminary. And for a long time, the seminary has taught nothing about angels or demons, nothing about exorcisms, nothing about the sins against the first commandment, ‘You shall have no God but me’: magic, spiritism, and satanism.”
Q: And the Vatican curia?
A: “The same incompetence. They approved a new ritual which, for the exorcists, is a disaster. It forbids acting in the case of a curse, when this is the source of 90 percent of the cases of possession. It forbids acting if there is no previous certainty of diabolical action, when this can be understood only in the course of action. Fortunately, the old ritual is still valid. I use that one; otherwise, I would have to quit.”