How absent fathers open a door to Satan in their children's lives
The battle against evil begins in the family, says Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who as one of the foremost exorcists in Italy, knows well the inner workings of evil. Today, 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.
According to Amorth, young couples often enter into marriage intending to become “one flesh” and “one spirit,” but end in separation “because they are torn apart by various attractions; they reunite and separate again, in couples, families, homes, in different countries and with different children.”
“This breakdown [in the family] leads to delinquency, wickedness, and evil,” he says.
Fr. Amorth was ordained a priest in 1954 for the Society of St. Paul. In 1986 he was appointed as an exorcist of the diocese of Rome.
God is more beautiful than the devil
Now, Angelo De Simone—also a member of the Society of St. Paul—has compiled the thoughts of the priest and exorcist in a lengthy book-interview entitled: God Is More Beautiful Than the Devil, a Spiritual Testament (St. Paul publications).
According to De Simone, in Fr. Amorth’s view, today it is essential to rediscover one’s relationship with one’s father. Amorth emphasizes that the absence of one’s father “opens up such a painful wound in children that it exposes them to deviant behavior, delinquency, and truly evil deeds.”
He also states that we need to rediscover our relationship with God, our heavenly Father.
People more wounded than possessed
According to the Roman exorcist, many people who are thought to be “possessed by a demon” are really “wounded individuals with very injured souls, because they look only at the law of God, without having tasted his love.”
"Moved by kindness and priestly charity, Fr. Amorth invites them to rediscover in themselves, despite their limitations, their identity and dignity and the sacredness of being God’s children,” De Simone writes in the book’s Introduction. “It is this liberating identity as a beloved son of God that enables Father Gabriel to face the devil, and having received the strength and divine grace, to defeat him.”
In these unhappy souls, De Simone continues, Father Amorth “goes in search of the divine ‘image and likeness’ that no evil force can touch. In short, he takes it for granted that God is more present, more good, more beautiful and more attractive than the devil.”
In his answers to De Simone’s questions, Father Amorth recalls that great good is also present today. “But,” he says, “it isn’t always apparent, nor is it publicized. In fact, what some call ‘euphobia’, i.e. the rejection of the good, is spreading today.”
Faith and prayer as antidotes
The things of God “are good news and are therefore mostly ignored. What concerns the devil is the crime beat and so it gets more attention, says Amorth. “Evil exists, but it fears Our Lord.” And he says true faith and prayer are “formidable positions for defending ourselves against the devil."
“Both the exorcist and one who is simply baptized are secure insofar as they are aware that they are loved by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; that they are protected by the holy Virgin Mary, and by the angels and saints; in short, that they are on the side of the Strong One and the more Attractive One.
How to prevent the devil’s influence
What are the interior dispositions one needs to ward off the devil’s influence? Fr. Amorth suggests “getting help in discovering the possible unease that is within us” and that may express itself in various forms: sadness, anger, violence, rebellion, and even blasphemy.
He also recommends “abandoning any behavior that manifests an attitude of indifference, apathy and lack of interest in the good, so as to live in deep peace and with a good conscience”. And he advises that one remain “in communion with God” by "abandoning practical atheism and a life of sin.”
Finally, he counsels humility, faith, prayer, frequenting the Sacraments, living a Christian life in conformity with the Gospel, words of charity, and forgiving one’s enemies.
“If there is one sure way to remove us from the devil’s influence,” he notes, “it is by letting ourselves be attracted by the goodness and beauty that emanate from the good and from our God and Father.”
Fr. Amorth concludes the interview by saying that the Lord grants to both exorcists and all the baptized “all of the grace needed to face and overcome the devil. For everyone can respond to his threats: ‘I am wrapped in the mantle of Our Lady; what can you do to me? I have St. Michael the Archangel on my side, try fighting with him. I have my guardian angel watching over me lest I be touched; you cannot do anything’.”
Translation by Diane Montagna of Aleteia’s English edition.