|Father Gabriele Amorth.|
The Pope's chief exorcist is telling the world that the devil himself is hard at work these days inside the Vatican.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, has held the position of chief exorcist for the Vatican for 25 years. That adds up to more than 70,000 cases of demonic possession at the end of 2009 alone.
This information comes as Fr. Amorth has given recent interviews, and has just published a new book - Memoirs of an Exorcist, a series of interviews with Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti.
Where is the devil within the Catholic Church? Fr. Amorth suggests there are cardinals who do not believe in Jesus - and bishops who are "linked to the Demon."
My first introduction to an exorcism was the 1973 film, "The Exorcist." In one interview, Fr. Amorth says he approved of the film, while exaggerated, it offered a "substantially exact" image of a real case of possession.
In fact, in the very real cases, Fr. Amorth says that the possessed may spit out nails or glass. He has stated that in some of these cases, it has taken "six or seven of his assistants to hold down a possessed person."
Apparently any priest can carry out an exorcism, but it is generally done only by those who have been trained.
Fr. Amorth is the founder and honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists with more than 200 members. A priest must have permission from his bishop to join this organization. They meet twice a year in Rome.