Gabriele Amorth, Catholic Priest And Exorcist, Says He's Done More Than 160,000 Exorcisms

05/31/2013 06:22 pm ET
  • Ron Dicker General Assignment Reporter, The Huffington Post
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A Catholic priest claims to have performed more than 160,000 exorcisms.

Now Father Gabriele Amorth wants help from his boss to banish the demons, so he's asking Pope Francis to bestow exorcism privileges to every priest with proper training, The Sunday Times of London reports.

"There's a huge demand," Amorth told the newspaper.

The 88-year-old Amorth, whom the Times called the church's "leading exorcist," said he performed up to 20 exorcisms a day at his peak but has cut back to four a day. The priest said he was inspired to seek the pope's ear when he viewed the pontiff's alleged exorcism of a child after a recent Mass in St. Peter's Square.

Visit The Sunday Times to read about Amorth's thoughts on the devil's presence in the Vatican and his colorful life as an exorcist, which apparently includes some of the vomiting portrayed in films. (Paywall follows.)

According to a TV channel run by Italian bishops, video of the pontiff laying his hands on a disabled young man's head represented an attempt to rid him of the devil.

While the Vatican dismissed the gesture as Francis simply praying for a sick person, the exorcist interpretation has invited more speculation about the Catholic leader, whom an Associated Press report asserted was obsessed with Satan.

Last week the Catholic archdiocese of Madrid reinforced the claim of exorcist leader Amorth that more demon fighters were needed. It said that the one exorcist it had was not enough and planned to train more.

The AP noted that only a bishop-authorized priest can do an exorcism, which involves blessings and "an interrogation of the devil."

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