"Big Four" Highlights


 

Snares of Satan

Exorcist teaches how to protect ourselves and our families

By Brian Caulfield, FFG Editor

Say the word “exorcism” and Hollywood images of rotating heads and projectile vomit may come to mind. But according to an experienced exorcist for the Diocese of Rome, the process of casting out demons is much less dramatic and the results are often long in coming. The great danger today is not that the devil may stage a dramatic scene with harrowing hijinks, says Father Gabriel Amorth in a just-released book, but that his subtle work may go unnoticed in a world that tends to explain away evil.

Father Amorth passed away at age 91 in September 2016, a month before the release of An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: The Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angels (Sophia). Much like his previous books and many interviews on the topic, this volume is a sober and absorbing primer on the spiritual world that stresses the power and providence of God and the victory of Christ over sin, death and evil. While never downplaying the “wickedness and snares” of the devil and the temptations he sets before us, Father Amorth portrays Satan as the ultimate loser who has forfeited heaven and seeks to bring humans, made in God’s image, to damnation.

This is serious business, Father Amorth says, but we must never lose hope or give Satan more power over us than he has. Even such severe conditions as demonic possession never happen without the providential permission of God, who often leads the afflicted person and his family to deeper faith. Father Amorth assures the reader many times to focus on the fact that, despite our weakness and sins, we will be judged in the end by a loving and merciful God who is our Father in heaven.

The book contains many facts and warnings that will help parents build a domestic church and protect their family from demonic influences. Father Amorth claims that we live in a culture ripe for satanic activity since religious practice has declined and an exaggerated sense of self has taken hold even of those who practice religion. Although most people would never invite the devil into their lives, Father Amorth points out, many have accepted a satanic worldview based on three principles: You can do all that you wish; no one has the right to command you; you are the god of yourself. Coinciding with these principles is the often-heard assertion that there is no ultimate truth, which is at heart the denial of God and his Church.

In a lengthy chapter titled “The Cult of Satan and its Manifestations,” Father Amorth warns that some commonly accepted behaviors can open the way to the devil, including attending séances, having your palm read, using an Ouija board, listening to “satanic rock,” cursing with the Lord’s name, watching horror films, and getting tattooed with demonic images.

Yet the large majority of people who become possessed have never engaged in these activities or invited the devil in any noticeable way. How do they become the host to demons? As Father Amorth explains, they are victims of a “spell” cast by a dark magician, witch or wizard. This is, for me, the most surprising and upsetting claim of the book. A seemingly innocent person can be the victim of someone’s actions and incantations!

“I think that at least 90 percent of the cases of possessions and other evil spells are directly attributed not to their victims but to those persons who have turned their particular attentions on them, practicing some spells or evil eye against them for various motives, such as resentment, hatred, or vendetta,” the priest writes.

These words make me want to protect my children with a blanket of prayer.

The chapter on how an exorcism is conducted is engrossing and not for the faint-hearted. Interesting also is Father Amorth’s description of heaven, hell and purgatory. Not a fan of the “we are all saved” school of theology, he says of hell, “I fear that many souls go there, all those who persevere in their choice of distancing themselves from God.” He reminds us that judgment will be based on how we treat the “least” among us by performing works of mercy as outlined by Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 26, verses 31-46.

But as a good exorcist, Father Amorth does not leave us possessed of fear. Quoting St. John of the Cross, he says, “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love.”

This book will help you to embrace that love and reject its most dedicated opponents.

For more information, visit Sophia Institute Press.