Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Online Only

May 12, 2014

Catholic Church's best-known exorcist shows how it's done

ROME — The den of the Catholic Church's best-known exorcist is an unassuming place, a small third-floor room in a home for aging priests hidden in an obscure corner of southern Rome. I walk down the hospital-like hallway on my way to meet him, and the priest anticipates my knock before it happens. The door swings open, and there he is.

The Rev. Gabriele Amorth, 89, peers up with goldfish eyes through his Hubble-telescope glasses.

"Enter," says the diminutive priest.

I obey.

The room is stark, fitted out with a hospital bed and numerous images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Then there are the mementos, which Amorth began collecting after he was appointed as an exorcist back in the 1980s. He has conducted thousands of spiritual cleansings since then, keeping just a few of the bits and bobs he likes to call "the stuff that gets spewed from mouths." Nails. Keys. Chains. Plastic figurines.

"What seems to be spit turns out to be a nail," he said with a seen-it-all tone. "I don't give it much importance."

His services, though still in great demand, are not always needed. "Most times there's no actual diabolical presence, and my job lies in suggesting those that come to me to live a life of faith and prayer," he said. "And this is enough to assuage the fears of those afraid of the Devil's ills."

But other times, he said, "there really is a diabolical influence."

Twice, Amorth claims, he saw possessed victims levitate. "We try to keep the person in the armchair," he said, adding that demons "do it just to show off."

An hour later, he invites me and an Italian colleague to witness an exorcism ourselves.

His exorcism room is a retrofitted, white-tiled kitchen on the first floor of the residence decorated with more images of Jesus and Mary. Before launching into combat with the Beast, Amorth dons a black cassock and a purple sash and speaks a few words of consolation to the 40-something Neapolitan housewife before him. With her well-coiffed hair, sparkly sneakers and Bulgari sunglasses, the woman, who gave her name only as Antonella, seems perfectly normal at first.

That will change.

Unlike the speedy rituals shown in the movies, real exorcisms are more of a slow burn, often involving years of repeated rites before the big cleanse. Antonella, who drove up to Rome from Naples with her husband, Michele, for her latest exorcism, claims to have been possessed by multiple demons for the better part of 17 years.

Both she and Michele blame the affliction on a curse by a devil-worshiping, childless friend who they say envied Antonella's fecundity as a mother of two. They knew something was wrong, they said, when Antonella began throwing violent fits after receiving the Eucharist at Mass and going into trances in which she spoke Aramaic and German - languages she said she has never studied. It would typically take, three grown men to subdue her, the couple said.

After four years of exorcisms with Amorth, however, her fits have grown progressively less violent. She says she has begun to view the process as a long-term treatment of a terrible disease.

"But one of the soul," she said.

 After a round of praying, Amorth, aided by three assistants, finally launches his spiritual attack.

He begins chanting in Latin, commanding the presumed devils inside Antonella to reveal themselves. Several minutes pass before Antonella reacts. She begins choking, coughing up phlegm. She moans, and rocks back and forth. As if in pain, she demands that the chanting stop.

Amorth refuses, shouting: "Tell me your name!"

Antonella writhes in her seat, hissing "No! No!" She shakes her head, her eyes rolling to the back of her head. In an altered voice, she says, "I will not!"

"Tell me your name!" Amorth repeats, until finally she spits out a name: Asmodeus, a demon from scriptural lore.

"How many are you!" the priest demands, repeating the question as she grunts and shakes her head violently.

Finally, she responds defiantly: "We are five!"

Amorth begins making the sign of the cross on her forehead, prompting her to recoil. The chanting and blessings go on for several more minutes before Antonella calms down. Soon, she comes around as if from a dream. She opens her eyes and slumps in her chair.

After his bout with the demons, Amorth simply shrugs.

"That," he said, "was a light one."

 

1
Text Only
Online Only
  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the iPad lost its swag?

      The company reported this week that sales of its sleek, pricey tablet were down 19 percent from last quarter and 9 percent year-over-year. CEO Tim Cook tried to reassure investors that Apple's new partnership with IBM to sell its devices to IBM's corporate customers will help make iPads ubiquitous in the workplace. "This isn't something that worries us," he said of the iPad sales decline. But the numbers are disappointing no matter how you spin them.

    July 24, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Mineral Wells Index


Click on a photo to visit our SmugMug page

Front page
Seasonal Content
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Must Read