According to a recent statement by Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist at the Vatican, “The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences.” Using his powers of evil to shape shift, disappear, speak in different foreign languages, “or even appear to be sympathetic,” Father Amorth says the Prince of Darkness works constantly to undermine his holy efforts, but still claims to be “a man who is happy in his work.”
An interview the priest gave to news source La Repubblica was recently picked up by European news sources like The Telegraph, in which Amorth describes William Peter Blaty’s 1973 film The Exorcist as a “substantially exact” representation of demonic possession, though a few circumstances pertaining to exorcisms he has performed in the past may actually be more startling than those witnessed on film.
Revised in January 1998, Of Exorcisms and Certain Supplications is a document of the Catholic Church that details the age-old rite of exorcism. The following is an excerpt from an early version of this document, revised in 1614:
I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are, along with all your minions now attacking this servant of God, by the mysteries of the incarnation, passion, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the descent of the Holy Spirit, by the coming of our Lord for judgment, that you tell me by some sign your name, and the day and hour of your departure. I command you, moreover, to obey me to the letter, I who am a minister of God despite my unworthiness; nor shall you be emboldened to harm in any way this creature of God, or the bystanders, or any of their possessions.
Serving under circumstances similar to these himself, arguably one of the stranger facets of possession Amorth cites details how victims vomit various strange things during the rite of exorcism, including rose petals, shards of glass and “pieces of iron as long as a finger.” Amorth, who is eighty five years old, claims to have performed 70,000 exorcisms in his lifetime. Nonetheless, the Catholic Church today more often will only condone exorcisms in extreme circumstances and after special investigation into the matter, since more often it is assumed that the victim suffers from some manifestation of psychosis or other mental disorder.
Amorth holds true to his creed regardless, certain that evil forces act on us in this world. “The exorcist has one principal duty,” he cryptically states. “To free human beings from the fear of the Devil.”