By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
During a recent interview with the Catholic News Agency (CNA), famed Rome exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says the devil has admitted to him who he fears most – Jesus Christ, Mary, and Blessed John Paul II.
The 86 year-old priest of the Society of St. Paul, who serves as the official exorcist for the Diocese of Rome, said the devil and demons are many, and that they exercise two powers over humankind – ordinary and extraordinary.
“The so-called ordinary power is that of tempting man to distance himself from God and take him to Hell,” Father said. “This action is exercised against all men and women of all places and religions.”
Extraordinary powers are those used by Satan when he focuses on a person in particular. These come in the form of diabolical possession; diabolical vexation such as in the case of Padre Pio and other saints who were physically beaten by Satan; obsessions which can lead a person to desperation; and when the devil chooses to occupy a home, animal or object.
Extraordinary occurrences are rare, but on the rise, particularly among the young who are being adversely affected by dabbling in Satanic sects, seances, and drugs.
Fr. Amorth said we have several ways to protect ourselves against Satan. “The temptations of the Devil are defeated first of all by avoiding occasions (of temptation), because the Devil always seeks out our weakest points,” he told CNA. “And, then, with prayer. We Christians have an advantage because we have the Word of Jesus, we have the sacraments, prayer to God.”
The name of Jesus Christ is the one Fr. Amorth uses most often to expel demons, but he also calls upon saintly men and women for their help. A name that has proved particularly powerful in recent years is that of Blessed John Paul II.
Father Amorth asked the demon why he was so scared of John Paul and he received two different responses. First, because “he disrupted my plans,” the demon said, and Fr. Amorth took this to mean the role JPII played in the downfall of communism.
“Another response that he gave me, ‘because he pulled so many young people from my hands.’ There are so many young people who, thanks to John Paul II, were converted. Perhaps some were already Christian but not practicing, but then with John Paul II they came back to the practice. ‘He pulled so many young people out of my hands.’”
Who is the most powerful intercessor of all?
Fr. Amorth once asked Satan why he is more afraid when he invokes Our Lady than when he invokes Jesus Christ.
“Because I am more humiliated to be defeated by a human creature than being defeated by him,” the devil told him.
Fr. Amorth also reminded that the prayer of the living is a powerful tool against Satan, but this prayer must be accompanied by faith, prayer and fasting.
“Especially faith, you need so much faith,” he told CNA. “Many times also in the healings, Jesus does not say in the Gospel it is me who has healed you. He says, you are healed thanks to your faith. He wants faith in the people, a strong and absolute faith. Without faith you can do nothing.”
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