79-year-old Vatican priest says he is overwhelmed with exorcisms, and young priests ‘to scared’ to help
Date with the Devil18:03
Dateline explores the increasing demand for exorcisms in Italy.
THE world is under renewed attack by an army of demons, and the battle is so intense young priests are too scared to engage in exorcisms, says a 79-year-old Vatican exorcist.
Father Vincenzo Taraborelli told the BBC he treats up to 30 people a day in his windowless room at the back of a church in Rome.
He says he cannot retire as he cannot find a replacement: “I told the bishop that I can’t find anyone willing to do this. Many of them are scared. Even priests can be scared. It’s a difficult life.”
Demonic possession is said to occur when an agent of the devil, Satan, enters a body. Sometimes many different demons with different characteristics supposedly co-inhabit the same person, directing their behaviour towards evil and dragging their soul to hell upon death..
In 2014, the Vatican officially recognised the International Association of Exorcists. The group had been established in the 1990s to promote awareness of the “dramatic reality of exorcism”.
Its founder, Father Gabriele Pietro Amorth, died in Rome last month, aged 91. He claimed to have conducted 160,000 exorcisms.
A 2005 file photo of Don Gabriele Amorth, exorcist in the diocese of Rome and the president of honour of the Association of Exorcists. Picture: AFP
A 2005 file photo of Don Gabriele Amorth, exorcist in the diocese of Rome and the president of honour of the Association of Exorcists. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
He said his most difficult case was a married woman, whose demons he battled for 13 years.
“Another man, who was a Satanist, wanted her,” he told the BBC. “She refused. So this man told her: ‘You’ll pay for this.’ He cast so-called spells to attract her to him, twice a week.
“Then they came to me, in this room. I started to pray, and she went into a trance. She would blurt out insults, blasphemies. I quickly understood she was possessed.
“As the rite continued, she started feeling worse and worse. So when I told the devil: ‘In the name of Jesus, I order you to go away’, she started to vomit little metal pins, five at a time.”
It’s a message being seized upon by religious media groups.
An article today in Catholic Online asserts “WORLD UNDER ATTACK — Army of demons has led to spike in exorcisms”.
“The most alarming fact is that exorcists, who were once uncommon and saw little work, are no longer able to keep up with the sudden demand,” it reads.
The ancient rite of exorcism is a common subject of religious artwork over the centuries. Here, Saint Benedict is exorcised in a painting by Spenello Aretino in the late 1300s.
The ancient rite of exorcism is a common subject of religious artwork over the centuries. Here, Saint Benedict is exorcised in a painting by Spenello Aretino in the late 1300s.Source:Supplied
“All it takes is a little opening. A dabbling in the occult or paganism is all. Perhaps an experimentation with a Ouija board, or some other dalliance is all the devil needs.”
Christian Today reports the number of designated Roman Catholic exorcists in the United States has grown from 12 to 50 in the past 10 years.
Father Amorth told the Sunday Telegraph in 2004 that he regularly spoke with the Devil.
“I speak with the Devil every day. I talk to him in Latin. He answers in Italian. I have been wrestling with him, day in day out, for 14 years,” he said.
Amorth became famous after claiming the Harry Potter book and movie series encouraged the black arts.
Father Taraborelli is equally adamant of the reality of demons.
“Someone who believes knows that the devil exists, you can read it in the gospel,” he said. “Then you only need to see how the world is nowadays. It has never been this bad. These violence acts are not human. So terrible …”