Skip to comments.DEVIL ESPECIALLY HATES PRAYERS IN LATIN, SAYS A PRIEST KNOWN AS 'ROME'S EXORCIST'
Posted on 05/31/2007 8:43:12 AM PDT by NYer
A secular book about exorcism says that one thing rankles demons.
"The devil doesn't like Latin," writes Tracy Wilkinson in The Vatican's Exorcists. "That is one of the first things I learned from Father Gabriele Amorth, long known as Rome's chief exorcist, even though that has never been his formal title.
"Now past the age of eighty, Father Amorth has dedicated the last decades of his life to regaining a measure of respectability for exorcism. Despite his advancing age, he continues to perform the rite several times a week at his office in Rome.
"Scores of people seek him out. He prefers to use Latin when he conducts exorcisms, he says, because it is most effective in challenging the devil."
That tidbit comes to us at a time when Benedict XVI is ready to loosen restrictions on Latin Mass. It's in the new book -- a secular and sometimes skeptical but fascinating glimpse into the world of Italian priests who see their job as casting out demons.
While the numbers dwindle in countries like the Canada, France, and the U.S., exorcists are on the rise on the Vatican's home turf -- thanks largely to priests such as Father Amorth.
In Italy the number of exorcists has grown tenfold in the past decade, according to the priest (who is himself author of two bestsellers, An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories). Credit is also due to the legacy of John Paul II -- who made the notion of exorcism, which was founded by Jesus Himself, respectable again.
Father Amorth was born in Modena in northern Italy and has been a priest since 1954. In 1986 he began performing exorcisms under the tutelage of the vicar for Rome.
According to Wilkinson, Father Amorth accepted the task "after praying to the Virgin Mary for her steadfast guidance and protection."
"On the walls of Amorth's exorcism chamber, eight Crucifixes and pictures of the Madonna are hanging, plus a picture of Saint Michael the Archangel," says the book. "A two-foot-high statue of the Virgin Mary, the Madonna of Fatima, sits on a corner table.
"There are also pictures of the late Pope John Paul II; the popular saint Padre Pio; Amorth's mentor, Father Candido; and Father Giacomo Alberione, the founder of the Society of Saint Paul Congregation."
Father Amorth calls them "my protectors," adding that "the more recent addition of John Paul's has been especially effective and helpful."
"The demons become very agitated at his presence," Father Amorth says of the late Pope -- who himself performed several exorcisms during his pontificate and warned of the rise of dark forces both in 1977 and then in 2005 just days before he lapsed in his final bout with illness.
How is exorcism done? There is the Crucifix. There is the Holy Water. There are the ritual prayers. Many times, those afflicted have to come back on a regular basis -- the process a gradual one.
In Father Amorth's appointment book, women outnumber men by three to one. That is perhaps because they are more in tune with the spiritual, says the exorcist, or because they are special targets as the descendants of Eve.
The very word "hysteria" -- so often seen in the possessed -- comes from the Greek word hyster for womb. Greeks believed it was caused by abnormalities in the uterus.
"I maintain that in part, the reason is because women are the ones who do the most praying," says the priest. "Another reason is women are more inclined to approach a priest than are men, in case of need."
In some cases, say other exorcists, the devil attempts to mask possession as insanity. This sets up conflict with the far newer practice of psychology -- which looks down on exorcism as the psychiatrist's couch has replaced the confessional.
"An exorcism is the residue of a medieval practice completely devoid of any foundation in reason," the book quotes Sergio Moravia, a philosopher at the University of Florence, as saying. "I don't think it's crazy. It's worse."
Exorcists counter that psychological diagnoses such as "multiple personality" and "schizophrenia" are clinical covers for an infestation.
That opinion is shared by the many who have sought the services of Father Amorth -- finding relief when the devil was cast away after years of frustration at the hands of psychiatrists who saw their problems so differently.
Blessed salt and Holy Water are often used not just by the exorcists themselves, but by those who have been exorcised -- to stave off further disturbances.
Extraordinary strength, preternatural knowledge, speaking in foreign tongues unknown to the victim, vomiting of strange objects, and violent aversion to holy objects make pure psychological explanations suspect in strong cases.
Prayer, of course, also chases the devil and his manifestations away -- apparently, Latin in particular.
Bishop Andrea Gemma of Isernia -- who himself performs exorcisms -- ascribes the Church's move from Latin as part of a global plot to undermine Christianity.
"The devil is happy with the near-disappearance of Latin," said the bishop.
Does exorcism mask psychological illness with the supernatural, or is psychology itself a ruse, at least in certain instances, to prevent deliverance?
We have only to study the ministry of Jesus to know the answer.
Possession is very real and so is Hell. Several saints have been allowed to see it. The most recent one is a Polish nun named St. Faustina. Here is her account.
Sr. Faustina is 'transported' to Hell - Today I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of real torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one's condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it - a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, ....the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the covnersion of sinners. I incessantly plead God's mercy upon them. O my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend You by the least sin. (741)
Scripture indicates that Satan is subject to God.
Good job on exorcising that FReeper!
Don't underestimate the devil.
Can you do the Prayer to St. Michael, as well?
We just got a fantastic statue of St. Michael in, of all places, a Protestant bookstore. Although my hubby had to take a sharpie to the Devil at the bottom because he looked like a pretty nice guy.
Do not expect an intelligent reply?
Full Rite. I don’t know the date, however. There are sites on the internet with the ancient Rite dating to the 1600’s.
That’s just silly.
Have the statue blessed! Many police wear St. Michael medals for protection as do those in the military.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae coelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude. Amen.
Now if I could just pronounce all the words, I’d have it made.
I’ll take it to the Latin speakers at my parish.
Iscool, thank you for giving me another opportunity to talk about Mary! Your question is legitimate, and for the sake of brevity I’ll just say that this article is very generalized, sketchy and incomplete. It’s just talking a bit about the validity of exorcism, obviously a deep and controversial and complex topic. But I have read several things by Fr. Amorth himself.
In an interview last year with “Inside the Vatican” magazine he specifically talks about Mary and how often he is not successful in the exorcism until he invokes Mary’s help. He also says the devil is capable of the most vile and blasphemous language, yet never can speak against Mary.
As long as we are on planet earth, the devil is not “overcome” - in the sense that he’s alive and well. But our own prayers, the sacraments, and in these rare extreme cases of possession, God does intervene and Mary does intervene and offer protection.
Also, another topic, this article sets up a simplistic dichotomy between psychology, psychiatry (actually it speaks of those two fields as if they were the same, and they’re not) and spiritual realms. Even Fr. Amorth has stated that 90% of “possession” cases are actually physical, mental or neurological illnesses. He works closely with doctors and usually will not take on a client until a medical evaluation has ruled out those aspects.
“Oh, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
“Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genetrix; nostras deprecationes ne despecias, in necessitatibus; sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta!”
Not in Torah.
FYI, any fellow Christians, did you know that our Holy Father has asked that we learn the basic prayers in Latin? To this end a neat, small, handy booklet has been compiled by the Dominicans, entitled “Praying with the Universal Church.”
It contains all the great “standards” (Pater, Ave, Acts of faith, hope, & love, Magnificat, Veni Creator, Anima Christi, etc) with English on one side and the Latin translation on the other.
Also has a simple introduction about the value and benefits of Latin.
Here’s the order info:
(Priests may want to order for congregations, as ours did?)
Stock item #3252 from
New Hope Publications
St. Martin de Porres Dominican Community
3050 Gap Knob Road
New Hope, KY 40052
Let's postulate for a moment that these people were indeed being harassed by demons (bear in mind that Jesus healed diseases as well as cast out demons; the latter doesn't always cause the former). I fail to see how Blessed Salt and Holy Water will help them. Indeed, it is that material point of view that would, IMHO, prevent them from being healed once and for all.
It is very interesting to read the accounts of exorcism in the Bible and compare them with what this man is saying. You will notice that demons were never cast out with the "aid" of physical objects. Off the top of my head I know of two things that seemed to have the desired effect. The power and authority of the name of God:
"She [the demon possessed] kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her." Acts 16:18, though with some caveat:
"Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. (One day) the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding." Acts 19:13-16.
And, to some degree, the spiritual strength of the one speaking:
"After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer.[b]" Mark 9:28-29 (the note says that some mss. say prayer and fasting).
Ultimately, this must be remembered above all: demons are stronger than we are and they are not afraid of Latin, water, or salt. They are afraid of the Holy Spirit of God living in us. Because of the gift of Jesus, and only because of it, is the power within us greater than the power in them.
I could not agree more, what silliness..
To believe this one would have to believe that the delivery is more important than the content and meaning of the prayer.
If that is the case, then prayer becomes a magical incantation rather than a communication with God. Rote prayer without contemplation is not prayer.
I think it is much more likely that Father Amorth has a very intense love for the Church that goes back to pre-V2 days. The reaction of the devil is falsely attributed to the language of the prayers rather than the seriousness of the man delivering the prayers.
Indeed. However, that is not really the point.
Satanic hatred for Latin is due to its timelessness and immutability. Being a "dead" language, it is essentially unchanging. No new meanings for words, no genderless politically correct idiom, to give but two examples. Outside of the Catholic Church, it is largely unused. Nobody is monkeying with it.
All of this makes it harder to sow the seeds of heresy and confusion through the use of ambiguous and novel language. IOW, it is a safeguard of doctrine and thus of ........truth!!
Demonic hatred of Latin is not the same as my hatred of Japanese or Hindi. It has nothing to do with its pronouncability, grammar or syntax.