Renowned exorcist Pauline Father Gabriele Amorth has died at the age of 91.
A priest of the Diocese of Rome, Father Amorth had been admitted to the hospital due to pulmonary complications, according to Italian media reports.
His Sept. 16 death was announced by the San Paolo group, which has published many of his books.
Born in Modena on May 1, 1925, Gabriele Amorth entered the Pauline congregation in Alba in 1947, five years after meeting its founder, Blessed Giacomo Alberione. Ordained in 1951, he was appointed exorcist of the Diocese of Rome in 1985 by Cardinal Ugo Poletti.
Often sought out by media around the world for his views on exorcism and understanding the struggle against evil, Father Amorth once confirmed to the Register that he thought Hitler and Stalin were “certainly” possessed by the devil, but denied that that fact removed their own personal responsibility for their actions.
They followed “the promptings of the devil, and they have done so willingly,” Father Amorth said in a 2006 interview. “Therefore, they are guilty, completely responsible.”
When asked if there were any leaders today who could be similarly possessed, the exorcist said there are “many who listen to the temptations of Satan and follow him.” Because of that, he said, “the world goes bad.” Instead of leading others “towards peace and well-being, the world moves towards war and unease,” he said.
Last year, at a conference in Rome, he said “ISIS is Satan” in reference to the so-called Islamic State, which has been brutally murdering Christians and other minorities in the Middle East in an effort to create a worldwide caliphate. Members of the terrorist group have since been trying to spread their atrocities to the West.
Father Amorth said at the time only two spiritual realms exist, “the Holy Spirit and the demonic spirit,” and that the demonic enters in “because evil is disguised in various ways: political, religious, cultural.” The demonic spirit has one source of inspiration — “the devil” — and as a Christian, he said he fights “the beast spiritually.”
He noted that the political world, “which today seems to lack a response in [the] face of the massacre of Christians, will also have to fight ISIS, and it will do it in a different way. If it advances as it seems to be doing, we ask ourselves: What has the West done over the course of the last decades?”
In one of his last interviews, published at the end of last year, Father Amorth told the magazine Faithful Insight that “today the world does not turn from God because it is idolatrous; rather, it pursues pure atheism, so as to put science on the altar.” But by turning away from the Lord, he said its breakthroughs “are put to disastrous use” and that, without the Lord, “progress too is misused.”
“We see it in laws that go totally against nature, such as divorce, abortion, ‘gay marriage,’” he said. “We have forgotten God! Therefore, God will soon admonish humanity in a very powerful manner. He knows how to remind us of his presence.”
A firm believer that the Pope still needs to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart, as requested by the Blessed Virgin, in order to usher in a period of world peace, Father Amorth underlined in the same interview the importance of the family.
“Divorce has been a disaster; abortion has been a disaster,” he said. “Each year 50 million children are murdered by abortion. And euthanasia, the broken family, cohabitation ... it is all destruction!”
“The Lord gave us sex for a purpose,” he said. “One thing is sexual fun; another is love. Today there is much talk of love, but there truly is none! Precisely in Fatima did Our Lady say to the young, 7-year-old Jacinta: ‘The sin that brings the most souls to hell is the impure sin,’ the sin of the flesh. She said this to a young girl, who did not even know what it was! We must listen to that which Our Lady says.”
By 2015, Father Amorth had performed more than 70,000 exorcisms over 29 years, often repeating the rite on the same persons. In 1990, he founded the International Association of Exorcists and was president until he retired, in 2000. On Sept. 8 this year, he was awarded the “Medal of Liberation” by the prefect of Rome, in the presence of Italy’s minister of defense, for the “important role” he played in the partisan struggle against the Nazis in 1943.
In addition to being an exorcist, Father Amorth held several positions in the Society of St. Paul, including forming young religious and serving as a teacher, spiritual director and journalist. For many years, he was director of Madre di Dio, an Italian monthly, and a longtime contributor to another Italian Catholic monthly, Famiglia Cristiana. He also published a number of books on subjects that included exorcism, good and evil, the power of the media, freemasonry and sects.
After his passing, Sophia Institute Press released the English-language version of his last book, An Exorcist Explains the Demonic.