Richard Owen joins Father Gabriele Amorth on the hunt for Satan and survives to tell the tale, in the Times:
“Are you afraid of the Devil?” The world’s most famous exorcist levels his gaze at me and then smiles.
“No, it is he who is afraid of me. I work in the name of the Lord. Poor Satan.”
“Oh yes. The Evil One shouts and makes noises, but we are made in God’s image, we have the Holy Trinity on our side. There is no need to be afraid of the Devil unless we give in to his temptations.”
We are in the infirmary of the Society of St Paul, the order of Father Gabriele Amorth, in the shadow of St Paul’s Basilica, Rome. The Vatican’s chief exorcist was taken to hospital last autumn with a blood infection and is now convalescing — “they found nothing serious”. Perhaps it was the Devil who laid him low. “Oh no — just an illness. He has more serious evil to perform.”
Father Amorth made headlines this week by suggesting that those who had “given in to Satan’s temptations” included paedophile priests and even some cardinals and bishops who paid only lip service to the Gospels.
The growing crisis over the clerical sex abuse now engulfing Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican, he said, was the work of Satan, who had even “infiltrated the Vatican corridors”.
Is the sex abuse crisis really due to the Devil? “Oh yes. All evil is due to the intervention of the Devil, including paedophilia.”
And the Vatican? “Legions of demons have lodged there…