He used to call himself the Vatican’s exorcist, and that was a pretty apt description.
Officially, Father Gabriele Amorth performed exorcisms for the Rome Diocese. He reveled in the role and was never shy about talking about what is one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most ancient, and controversial, religious rites.
“Exorcism is God’s true miracle,” Amorth told the Los Angeles Times in an interview in 2004.“I’ve never been afraid of the devil,” he said. “In fact, I can say he is often scared of me.”
Amorth died this month after a long illness, a Rome hospital where he had received treatment announced. He was 91.
Amorth helped promote the ritual of banishing the devil from people or places as it experienced something of a comeback in the 2000s. Exorcisms were embraced by then-Pope John Paul II, who revealed having performed two or three of them himself.
Amorth claimed to have performed scores of exorcisms, a ritual largely unchanged since medieval times that involves a series of prayers to denounce and drive out Satan. It enjoyed a renaissance as people sought a religious explanation for the evil they viewed in the world.
The gregarious, Italian-born priest blamed the devil for a host of ills, including
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