Vatican's chief exorcist for 30 years claimed to have 'dealt with the devil' 60,000 times, new book reveals
Vatican's chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, who passed away at the age of 91 in 2016, was often asked to help people who were believed to be possessed.
Amorth, who was the official exorcist for the diocese of Rome over his sixty-plus years as a priest, performed around 60,000 exorcisms over his career before passing away in 2016. A new book titled 'The Devil is Afraid Of Me: The Life and Work of the World’s Most Famous Exorcist' written by Marcello Stanzione, a fellow priest who worked with Father Amorth, looks at the latter's life as an exorcist, NY Post reports.
Meeting with the devil
The book also talks about an exorcism that took place in 1997 where Father Amorth believes he came face to face with the devil himself. One morning, a young Italian peasant was brought to his consulting room in Rome and was accompanied by a priest and another man.
The latter was the peasant's translator. The possessed man reportedly only spoke Italian but the evil spirit in him spoke perfect English. Father Amorth began the exorcism in Latin and when he mentioned Jesus's name, the young man started to yell curses in English.
When the exorcist started to recite the prayer Praecipio tibi ('I command you'), the demon fell silent. "But then, screaming and howling, the demon burst forth and looked straight at him, drooling saliva from the young man's mouth," Stanzione shared.
"Whoever you are and all your companions who possess this servant of God … I command you: Tell me your name, the day and the hour of your damnation," Father Amorth asked the demon to which the answer came, "I am Lucifer."
Stanzione shared that Amorth was shocked. "He did not expect to receive such a terrifying response. But . . . he was convinced he had to keep going as long as he had the strength," Stanzione wrote. Amorth said that he had used reciting verses of liberation from the Roman Rite of Exorcism.
In retaliation, "the demon resumed his shrieks, making the possessed turn his head back and his eyes roll. He remained like this with his back arched for a quarter of an hour." As this continued, "the room became extremely cold and ice crystals formed on the windows and the walls."
It is said that Satan finally admitted his defeat and proceeded to announce the exact day and hour when he would leave the man's body.
Exorcisms lasted 30 minutes
Father Amorth claimed that his exorcisms lasted for around 30 minutes on average and he would often conduct up to five in the morning by appointment only. He also believed that exorcisms could be conducted via telephones or even Skype.
He had said that an exorcism can be a simple prayer or can also be the full-blown expulsion of demons. He also noted how an exorcism is a one-time process but is a practice that is regularly performed on a possessed individual.
"I am content if, in a mildly serious case, a person is liberated within four or five years of exorcisms. I have had rare cases of liberations in a few months," he said. Amorth was also usually accompanied by four laymen as the patients could get violent.
Amorth's exorcism room was around 9-feet-by-15-feet, and was located away from the Roman streets so "no one can hear the screams." Amorth would always carry "two wooden crucifixes, an aspergillum for sprinkling holy water, and a vial of consecrated oil."