Father Gabriele Amorth has lived a fascinating life. He died in 2016, but is known as world’s the most famous exorcist. He didn’t set out to be a demon slayer, but fought in WWII and went to law school before going into the seminary. As in all things, God had greater plans and a firm calling for Father Amorth.
In the new book written in the style of question and answer, Father Amorth: My Battle Against Satan, by Fr. Gabriele Amorth with Elisabetta Fezzi (Sophia Press), we learn about the life of this humble man and what he sees as the devil’s greatest successes and how we can join in this battle against evil.
1. He was “Good-for-nothing”
Fr. Amorth uses this phase to refer to himself quite often. It doesn’t mean that he did nothing good, but that he was an “instrument for good in the hands of God.” An exorcist must humble himself completely, and understand that it is not him that expels the demons, but the Lord, the Holy Spirit who is acting and Mary that intercedes.
2. The Immaculate Heart of Mary
In his words, his greatest accomplishment of his life was on September 13, 1959, when he was able to have the country of Italy consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He always had a special devotion to Mary, and throughout his life, she covered him in her mantle, protecting him from the demons he exorcised.
3. Speaking of Mary
He wasn’t confident in his being asked to be an exorcist, so he constantly prayed, “Protect me under your mantle, and I shall be secure!” The Devil would say to Fr. Amorth, “We can do nothing to you; you are too protected!” Remember, our Mother loves and will always protect us from evil.
4. Hidden and abandoned
In Father Amorth’s opinion, the Roman Catholic Church has abandoned and hidden exorcisms from the public. In light of looking like witchcraft and exorcising mental illnesses instead of treating the patient, many bishops rejected the idea of exorcism. If there was an exorcism to be done, it would have to be approved and behind closed doors. This is probably the devil’s greatest success: to be hidden and denied his existence.
5. Two most important moments
We pray these every time we pray the Hail Mary, and don’t even realize it. The most important moments are the present, and the moment of our death. “They truly require Our Lady’s help!” according to Fr. Amorth.
6. Who created Hell
Fr. Amorth tells of a story when Fr. Canidido, a fellow exorcist, was trying to coax a demon out, saying: “Come on, go; the Lord has prepared a nice heated box for you where you shall not feel the cold, where you shall remain very warm.” He goes on to say:
The Devil imperiously responded: “You do not know anything; you do not understand anything,” meaning that the Lord was commanding him to teach the exorcist a lesson: “It is not he that created Hell! We created Hell. He did not even think of it; the existence of Hell was not in his plans!” The Devil was saying that God created only good things.
He goes on to explain that in no theological work states that God created Hell, nor is it stated that he did not create Hell.
7. The gift given through witnessing suffering
Fr. Amorth said in viewing all of the suffering of those possessed, he grew in charity for everyone. He wanted to do everything he could to elevate that pain and suffering of the afflicted. He also said the fundamental gift of being an exorcist is bringing souls closer to God. This made his faith all the stronger, that he was doing good, freeing these souls and repairing their relationship with God.
Father Amorth: My Battle Against Satan, by Fr. Gabriele Amorth with Elisabetta Fezzi (Sophia Press) is a fascinating look into the hidden life of priestly exorcists. We need to believe in the existence of the devil and we must be strong in our faith to face evil, knowing we are under the protection of Jesus and our Lady. We need to learn from the experts what the tricks of the devil are and how to avoid them. We must not fear evil, but know that Jesus defeated the devil and our place is with him in Heaven, not here on earth.