The Reverend Gabriele Amorth, SSP (1 May 1925 – 16 September 2016) was an Italian Roman Catholic Priest and an exorcist of the Diocese of Rome who claimed to have performed tens of thousands of exorcisms over his half a dozen plus decades as a Catholic Priest. He never served as “the Vatican’s chief exorcist” or any similar role, despite popular media headlines.
No wonder he had no hair
Amorth, who headed the International Association of Exorcists, told The Sunday Times back in 2013 that he asked Pope Francis to allow all priests the right to do exorcisms without the church’s approval. According to the report, priests currently need special approval from their bishop to perform the rite and it is rarely granted.
“I will ask the pope to give all priests the power to carry out exorcisms, and to ensure priests are properly trained for these starting with the seminary. There’s a huge demand for them,” said Father Amorth.
He explained that he was inspired to make the request after watching Pope Francis perform what he insists was an exorcism on a man “possessed by four demons” in St. Peter’s Square.
“The pope is also the Bishop of Rome, and like any bishop he is also an exorcist,” Amorth reportedly told La Repubblica newspaper. “It was a real exorcism. If the Vatican has denied this, it shows that they understand nothing.”
“There was now, more than ever, a need for exorcists to combat people possessed by ‘sorcerers’ and ‘Satanists,’” he noted in that report.
An 84-page update of exorcism rites compiled in 1614 and drawn up in 1998 stipulates how Catholic priests trained as exorcists should operate. According to the guidelines established by the church, they have to follow a ritual known as “De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam,” or “Of exorcisms and certain supplications.”
Amorth explained that Pope Francis’ exorcism on May 19 helped to balance the growing atheism in the world where people don’t believe in the Devil anymore.
“We live in an age in which God has been forgotten. And wherever God is not present, the Devil rules,” said Amorth.
Amorth claimed to have sent 160,000 demons back to hell, that’s why he wanted Pope Francis to allow all priests to start performing the ritual to deal with a rising demand for exorcisms from the faithful.