Mike Potemra at National Review’s The Corner just slammed Fr. Gabriel Amorth pretty outrageously and irresponsibly, I think. As CMR readers know Fr. Gabriel Amorth in an interview with CNA recently said that there were Satanists in the Vatican. You can believe it or not, but Potemra obviously believes that to be a mockable statement and writes:
Satanists in the Vatican?
It’s the sort of headline that belongs in a kook tabloid, or on a book review of a Malachi Martin fantasy. But the allegation is made by (hitherto) respected exorcist Gabriele Amorth, who says in a new book that “Yes, also in the Vatican there are members of Satanic sects.” According to the Catholic News Agency report, when asked whether clergy as well as laymen are involved, he responded, “There are priests, monsignors and also cardinals!” Now, this Amorth is not exactly a fringe figure: His books are published in the U.S. by one of the most respectable mainstream religious publishing houses — Ignatius Press, which is also the U.S. publisher of the works of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.
Just a couple of days ago, I was talking to a devout and educated Catholic layman, who was telling me about the spiritual dangers of excessive interest in demonology. The demonic/Satanic exists, but a focus on it can warp the spirituality of a believer, and should be indulged in only with great caution. The high probability is that Father Amorth has been taken off the emotional rails by the work he does, in which case I wish him a speedy recovery.
I wonder if the (hitherto) respected Potemra doesn’t believe in Satanism or just doesn’t believe anybody practices it.
Either way, it seems to me that you can believe that Fr. Amorth may be right or wrong but to state that Fr. Amorth is “off the emotional rails” seems pretty outlandish and irresponsible. It smacks of those television psychiatrists and psychologists who diagnose celebrities without any actual knowledge of the person. Diagnosing someone’s emotional state or their spiritual health is always a bit dangerous and highly inaccurate.
Believe me, I feel a bit strange defending anyone who states that Cardinals are practicing Satanism. But Fr. Amorth has earned some credibility over the years and even though I may or may not believe what he says in this particular instance I would caution anyone not to say that Fr. Amorth’s spirituality is “warped” or “off the rails.”
And I expect better from the typically excellent National Review.
March 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm
By the way, not ALL of M. Martin's works were fiction. More clearly, his books were "faction." Part fiction, part fact.
The trick, of course, is to know the difference.
March 4, 2010 at 6:47 pm
Quite impossible — all of Satan's minions obviously work for my wireless provider.
March 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm
I have immense respect for exorcists in general, and am interested in reading Father Amorth's books on the subject. However, he also came out saying something along the lines that the Harry Potter books are evil and will – not might – turn kids into wiccans and satanists. That ruined some of his credibility for me, outside of his actual exorcisms.
We would do well to remember C. S. Lewis' words on the subject of interest in the demonic.
March 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm
Maybe Father is referring to people in the Vatican being influenced by Satan. Not necessary paying homage to Satan with ceremonies and such. There was a Pope who said to look out for the black smoke in the Vatican. Many who are given end time insights by Jesus and Mary are told about the Church being taken over by evil influences. The NRO writer does not want to face the fact that evil can exit anywhere. Things are going to happen at the end that no one will want to endure and will only be able to with Christ.
March 5, 2010 at 1:01 am
I am not really sure why anyone who believes that evil exists, that Satan exusts and the the Church is the Bride of Christ would find this inconceivable. If you were the enemy, where would you work to place your representatives?
At the height of the Cold War, didn't the USSR have agents in place – either planted through stealth or turned through temptation or threat -at the heart of every Western intelligence service? In case anyone has not been paying attention, life is spiritual warfare with the only battle that matters being waged all around us every minute of every day.
If you don't believe the enemy would try to infiltrate the center of resistance against him – the Catholic Chirch in general and the Vatican in particular – and that he might succeed, you are making yourself an easy target.
Viva Christo Rey!
March 5, 2010 at 1:15 am
So, a Mr. Mike Potemra seems to have forgotten his role as a journalist and accused famous exorcist Father Amorth of going off the rails.
Well, isn't that special.
I wonder who at the NRO could have put little Mikey up to such a thing.
Let me see now. I just can't imagine…
Oh, I don't know, could it be…. SATAN?!
March 5, 2010 at 1:30 am
Um, Matthew, did you actually read the CNA story? Fr. Amorth's sources for his belief are scarcely substantive; a number of self-styled visionaries and the demons who speak during exorcisms.
It may not be absolutely out of the realm of possibility that some Satanist or other might infiltrate the Vatican, but the good Father should not speak as though this has been proven on the type of evidence he gives.
If he is going to believe that the minions of the Father of Lies are going to always tell the truth, or that any kook who claims to have had a vision is automatically speaking with the voice of God, than he may not actually be nutty, but he is probably naive or deluded.
If I'm speaking about this with a great deal of warmth, it's because I know what terrible harm these stories do when the MSM gets hold of them; because they absolutely do not care about the truth, and are always looking for an excuse to embarrass or slam the Church.
Some years ago, similar stories were put around by some of the same type of people, largely extreme traditionalists.They were saying "Satanists and Masons have infiltrated the Church!" They even claimed that Paul VI had been spirited away and an exact double substituted for him (yeah, I'm sure that was really true). Then they claimed, backed up by the visionary of Bayside, Veronica Lueken, that the Cardinal Secretary of State, Jean Villot, had murdered Pope John Paul I. All it took was for one cynical ex-Catholic journalist with no conscience to get hold of this story and it was turned into a best-selling book that did enormous harm – I mean of course, David Yallop's In God's Name. Almost thirty years later, I'm still fighting against these ridiculous accusations in regard to this Pope, and the slander against Cardinal Villot, who absolutely did not deserve it.
I'm not so much worried about Satanists in the Vatican as I am about what Satan can actually do in the life of the faithful when he encourages them to slander their neighbor without proof — including their neighbors in the Vatican.
I do think someone should rein this good Father in. I think he has definitely gotten too close to his work and lost his judgment.
March 5, 2010 at 1:43 am
Reactions like the one demonstrated by Potemra are typical of people that are floating thru life thinking everything is hunky-dory and they haven't a care in the world.
There's a reason why we are called the 'Church Militant' here on earth. An enemy surrounds us and is in the midst of us. The worst thing we can do is pretend he is not there, working all the angles he can.
I think Amorth's opinion makes the author shudder ever more strongly precisely because of the fact that it came from such a respected and experienced source such as him.
Pray without ceasing….
March 5, 2010 at 3:10 am
Well Fr. Amorth is rather known to exaggerate and make claims hardly provable. People such as Jimmy Akin and Canonist Ed Peters have critiqued his exaggerated claims such as performing 50,000 exorcisms or that Pope Pius XII tried a long-distance exorcism on Hitler.
March 5, 2010 at 6:06 am
I am amazed at the number of people who will state that Mike Potemra thinks Satan doesn't exist when he says quite clearly that he does!
This is not about the existence of Satan, but about whether someone like Fr. Amorth should make unprovable claims without sufficient reason that will in the end damage the credibility of the Church.
I think the criticisms Potemra makes are quite justified.
March 5, 2010 at 6:52 am
We are all influenced by Satan. That much is indisputable. Satan is the "prince of this world". But to say there are members involved in "Satanic sects" to me definitely begs further questions. Protestantism is undoubtedly influenced by Satan. Once could argue that so is Freemasonry. There has long been the claim that there are both Protestants and Freemasons operating from within the ranks of the magesterium. If this were true, Father Amorth would have a point. But I don't personally believe there are priests and cardinals sacraficing children on satanic altars within the confines of the Vatican.
March 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm
The Vatican houses a number of people with the bureaucratic mindset. Anytime you have that, you don't need outright satanism
March 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm
similar stories were put around by some of the same type of people, largely extreme traditionalists.They were saying "Satanists and Masons have infiltrated the Church!
Yah. And Mgr. Bugnini was what……a hologram?
When a 40-year-experienced exorcist says that there are Satanists around, I'll take his word that that IS the case.
By the way, what better place for Satan to have a few dedicated followers than the Vatican? Why would he waste his time in Congress, e.g.?
March 6, 2010 at 2:24 am
As it happens, I wasn't talking about Msgr. Bugnini, but about this:
Read especially Parts I, II and III on Yallop's work.
March 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm
We know that infiltration of the church was a stated objective of Freemasonry and its social movement, communism, beginning in the 1800's.
We have the congressional testimony of Bella Dodd and her book School of Darkness revealing the infiltration of the Church to the highest levels during the first part of the last century.
We have the curious case of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, author of the novus ordo liturgy.
We have the thinly veiled fictional account of Malichi Martin's book Windswept House.
(Google information on the following: Fr. Sebastian Scalabrini [fictional character in the book]- Francis E. Pellegrini, murdered on May 30, 1984 in the process of exposing a satanic cult in Chicago)
We have the prophetic visions of venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres from 400 years ago speaking of the corruption of the church in our time and the global rule of freemasonry.
Of course, we also have the vision of Leo XIII as well.
We do ourselves a disservice by not understanding the degree of the attack upon us and the church.
[BTW, I'm no crazy traditionalist, just someone whose eyes were opened by Our Lady and St. Kolbe.]
March 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm
Fr. Amorth's comment definitely makes one stop and think (and hopefully pray).
Is it possible that a covert Satanist would be accepted into seminary formation…yes.
Is it possible that a covert Satanist could make it through seminary without being discovered and is ordained a priest…yes.
Is it possible that a covert Satanist be hired by the Vatican (now remember, not all "employees of the Vatican" are clergy, it could include lay Vatican postal workers)?
Even if Amorth IS referring to priests, monsignors, bishops, even Cardinals as members of Satanic cults, it IS within the realm of possibility.
Are there members of the Church that work from within to change Church structures and Church teachings to fit their agenda? Have they been influenced by New Age/Occult practices? Two words: Mary Daly.
It is a serious charge. Would a priest like Amorth, who understands the grave consequences of sin "bear false witness" for mere publicity…as a scare tactic?
Is he basing his accusation on perhaps testimony from demons he encountered during exorcisms? If so, they are not credible, and he should know better…
But it is within the realm of possibility that within this century "given over to Satan and his army", when "The smoke of Satan has entered the very sanctuary of St. Peter's basilica…" (spoken BY A POPE!), that the mind and soul of a man could be so twisted by the enemy, to aspire to the highest levels of Church governance so to undermine all that is good and holy and Christian?
That's all the reason i need to pray for St. Joseph (terror of demons) and St. Michael's intercession for Christ's Church.
March 8, 2010 at 8:39 pm
"Is he basing his accusation on perhaps testimony from demons he encountered during exorcisms? If so, they are not credible, and he should know better…"
Yes, he definitely is — didn't you read the story linked to or my original post? He should know better indeed.
My concern was not over whether it was possible for Santanists to inflitrate the highest levels of the Church, but whether there was any credible evidence whatsoever that they have done so. And there isn't any.
April 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Father Amorth's story is based on what the demons said when they were compelled to speak the truth under obedience. An exorcist can make them do that. What he is saying is perfectly consistent with the vision Leo XIII had of demons congregating at the Vatican. Too bad the Leonine prayers were suppressed…