Chief exorcist for Rome, Father Gabriele Amorth, dies

Chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, who founded the International Association of Exorcists and served as exorcist for the diocese of Rome for 30 years, died on Friday at the age of 91.

Father Amorth was known for his blunt words about the devil and his works, always insisting that Satan’s greatest triumph is getting people to believe he doesn’t exist.

He also earned worldwide attention last year by attributing the work of the Islamic State terror group to the influence of the devil.

“ISIS is Satan,” he said in an April 2015 Facebook post. “Things first happen in the spiritual realms, then they are made concrete on this earth.”

“Biblically-speaking we are in the last days and the beast is working furiously,” he said.

A prolific writer, Amorth published numerous books during his career, including An Exorcist Tells His Story, Memoirs of an Exorcist: My Life Fighting Satan, An Exorcist: More Stories, and An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: The Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angels.

During his life Father Amorth performed some 70,000 exorcisms, often sacrificing sleep and leisure time to combat the “father of lies.” Humanly inexplicable phenomena would accompany cases of demonic possession, Amorth said, including the ability to speak languages that hadn’t been studied, superhuman strength, and levitation above the ground.

“Now he rests from his many battles with the devil,” Spanish theologian, Father Jose Antonio Fortea told Catholic News Agency Friday.

Father Amorth believed that Satanism was on the rise all over the world, and counseled the faithful to resist Lucifer with prayer and vigilance.

In 2001, journalist Stefano Maria Paci asked Father Amorth about the influence of Satan in the Catholic Church and in the Vatican.

“The smoke of Satan enters everywhere,” he replied. “I have no doubt that the devil tempts especially the leaders of the Church, as he tempts all leaders.”


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