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I recently read that Pope Benedict XVI's chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth believes that Hitler was possessed by the Devil. First of all, I would like to point out that this, taken literally, would make a GREAT movie. Secondly, why does the Pope have a chief exorcist?

To quote Father Amorth from a Vatican Radio broadcast:

One of the key requirements for an exorcism is to be present in front of the possessed person and that person also has to be consenting and willing. Therefore trying to carry out an exorcism on someone who is not present, or consenting and willing would prove very difficult.

If the possessee has to be present, consenting and willing, isn't an exorcism more like an intervention? The language used in the above quote seems very... less than supernatural. Couldn't any behavior that is clearly contrary to the tenants of the Roman Catholic Church be considered satanic in nature? Therefore do Catholics see exorcists instead of psychologists? Exorcisms don't seem nearly as exciting as Dr. Strange would have had me believe.

Note, please, that Father Amorth is also the founder of the International Association of Exorcists, an elite band of professional, church appointed exorcists. (Priests can now take exorcism classes at the Vatican's Pontifical Academy. I hear that the exorcism classes fill up fast, behind only "Why You Can't Put Holes In Holy Water And Other Confusing Catechisms Explained," and "Holy Eucharist, Altar-Boy!".) He has said that "behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil." And who would know better than Vatican City's official exorcist?

By the way, Father Amorth considers The Exorcist his favorite movie. Go figure.

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To be continued...


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