Father Gabriele Amorth (1925-2016) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and an exorcist of the Diocese of Rome. He was renowned for being one of the most prolific exorcists in the Catholic Church, having performed thousands of exorcisms over his career.
Amorth was born in Modena, Italy, and ordained as a priest in 1954. He joined the Society of St. Paul, a religious congregation, and later became the official exorcist for the Diocese of Rome in 1986. In 1990, he founded the International Association of Exorcists, a group of Catholic priests and bishops dedicated to promoting the ministry of exorcism.
He authored several books on the subject of exorcism, including “An Exorcist Tells His Story” and “An Exorcist: More Stories.” These books provide insights into his experiences as an exorcist and offer a glimpse into the spiritual battles he encountered.
Father Gabriele Amorth passed away on September 16, 2016, in Rome, Italy, leaving behind a legacy of dedication to the spiritual well-being of those who sought his help.
Father Gabriele Amorth: The Pope’s Exorcist:
Performing Over 100,000 Exorcisms
Before his passing in 2016, Father Gabriele Amorth claimed an astonishing record of over 100,000 exorcisms. This Italian priest served as the official exorcist of the Vatican, a role often only witnessed in horror films.
Early Life and Calling
Born in Modena, Italy in 1925, Amorth had an unconventional journey to priesthood. He initially joined the Italian resistance during World War II, pursued a law degree, and worked as a journalist before embracing the priesthood in 1951.
The Vatican’s Chief Exorcist
In 1986, Amorth was appointed as an assistant to Cardinal Ugo Poletti, the chief exorcist of the diocese of Rome. Following Poletti’s passing, Amorth succeeded him and held the position until his own demise. In 1990, he authored the widely translated and bestselling book, “An Exorcist Tells His Story,” while also establishing the International Association of Exorcists.
The Association’s Response
The International Association of Exorcists, founded by Amorth, expressed dissatisfaction with the film “The Pope’s Exorcist,” asserting that it distorts the reality of exorcisms and the experiences of those truly possessed.
A Historical and Theological Perspective
Exorcism has deep roots in Christianity, with its portrayal in the New Testament as evidence of Jesus’ authority over evil spirits. Although the practice waned in Protestantism after the 1600s, it remains closely associated with Catholicism, as reaffirmed by Pope Francis in 2017.
Amorth’s Unique Approach
Father Gabriele Amorth, known for his unexpected sense of humor, firmly believed in the significance of his work. While acknowledging that many seeking him required psychiatric help, he dedicated his efforts to the 2 percent he deemed truly possessed.
The Pope’s Exorcist on Screen
“The Pope’s Exorcist,” now available on Netflix, loosely draws from Amorth’s case files, showcasing his extensive career. Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe portrays this eccentric priest, offering a glimpse into the world of exorcism.
The Journey of “The Pope’s Exorcist”
Amorth’s path to becoming the Pope’s designated exorcist was marked by diverse experiences, from his involvement in the Italian resistance to his legal pursuits and eventual ordination in 1951.
The International Association of Exorcists
Founded by Amorth in 1990, this organization aimed to inspire and train priests in the practice of exorcism. Despite its Vatican recognition, the association expressed reservations about the film adaptation, citing its portrayal of exorcisms.
The Rituals of Exorcism
Amorth claimed to perform as many as 20 exorcisms a day at his peak. His accounts detailed that the process typically lasted around 30 minutes, regardless of whether conducted in person, over the phone, or via Skype. For in-person sessions, Amorth enlisted the help of four laymen to ensure privacy and prevent disturbance.
Father Gabriele Amorth’s legacy as the Pope’s exorcist continues to captivate audiences, offering a unique insight into a centuries-old practice. The film “The Pope’s Exorcist” serves as a testament to his remarkable journey and the profound impact of his work.