Adventures in Bookland: An Exorcist Tells His Story by Gabriele Amorth
All right, let me be honest here from the off (rather than the middle or the end). The late Fr Amorth was a bit mad.
But before you nod sagely, thinking that was only to be expected of a man who professed to have performed well over a hundred thousand exorcisms during his years of ministry, let me hasten to add that that wasn’t the root of his madness. No, his madness is one I recognise, and it’s one peculiar and particular to a certain class of Italian intellectual: it’s the madness of unrecognition stoked by the frustration of years of unrecognised labour. Italy is a country and culture where intellectual and cultural achievement is admired: to be called ‘Il Professore’ or ‘Il Dottore’ is a great distinction. To be denied recognition for labours strikes at the core of such an Italian.
Fr Amorth was such an Italian. He laboured in a lonely and unappreciated ministry for decades, with virtually no support from bishops or brother priests, and there lies the root of the slight tinge of madness that runs through this book. I don’t believe it has anything to do with the abyss he stared into in his vocation, pulling back people dangling over the pit. In fact, the repetitiveness of his work is strongly suggestive of its validity, for evil is, by its nature, uncreative, repeating the same patterns of fall over and over and over again. Only the good creates. Evil merely spoils.
Hopefully, in heaven, Fr Amorth can see that his work is now much more appreciated and even bishops (an old saying famously remarked that the paths of hell are paved with their skulls) have come to realise the necessity of taking the devil and all his works seriously.