Father Gabriele Amorth, perhaps the best known Catholic exorcist in the world, has died at the age of 91, Italian media are reporting.
Father Amorth, who frequently made headlines beyond the Diocese of Rome, where he was the official exorcist, had been hospitalized for several weeks for complications from pneumonia at the Saint Lucy Foundation Hospital in Rome, according to Corriere delle Sera.
“Now he rests from his many battles with the devil,” Spanish theologian Father Jose Antonio Fortea told Catholic News Agency Friday.
Born in Modena on May 1, 1925, Father Amorth joined the Society of St. Paul in Alba in 1947, and was ordained in Rome in 1951. In 1985, he was appointed exorcist of the Diocese of Rome by Cardinal Ugo Poletti.
Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican wrote that Father Amorth was passionate about Mariology and became the editor of the Catholic monthly magazine Madre di Dio (“Mother of God”). He was a member of the Pontifical International Marian Academy.
He performed an estimated 70,000 exorcisms, often repeating the rite on the same persons, CNA noted.
In May 2013, he told CNA that Pope Francis had performed an exorcism in St. Peter’s Square on a man said to be possessed, using a prayer of liberation instead of the ordinary rite.
Over the years Father Amorth published several books, including An Exorcist Tells His Story; Memoirs of an Exorcist: My Life Fighting Satan; An Exorcist: More Stories, and An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: The Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angels.
He counseled that the battle against evil begins in the family. The reason why many individuals become evil is often because so many young people “live without knowing the sacredness of being children” and therefore do not know what it means to be a good father or mother, he said.
In 1991, he founded the International Association of Exorcists.
On Sept. 8, Father Amorth was awarded the “Medal of Liberation” by the prefect of Rome, Paola Baseline, in the presence of the Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti for the important role he played as a Catholic partisan soldier at the end of the Second World War.
He also was active after the war in Catholic Action, the youth movement of the Christian Democratic Party.
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