Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review: Memoirs of an Exorcist by Father Amorth


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Father Amorth was chief exorcist of the Vatican for twenty-five years, but few people know that before he became a priest, Amorth served in the pro-Allied Italian forces during World War II and earned a law degree. He discovered his true calling when he met the exorcist Father Candido. Ever since, he has been face-to-face with the devil every day, relieving thousands of believers of their suffering through religious rites and the power of prayer. Memoirs of an Exorcist recounts Amorth’s many impressive stories of healing and faith, as gathered by famed journalist Marco Tosatti.
Father Gabriele Amorth, a priest of the Congregation of San Paolo, is internationally recognized as the world’s greatest exorcist. His mission of expelling the devil through incessant dedication has earned the gratitude of thousands of believers and the esteem of the most important authorities of the Catholic Church. He has written various successful works and has a very popular radio program on Radio Maria in Rome.

MY TAKE:
I'm a Catholic, but as someone with an interest in science, I'm on the fence about possession and exorcism.

In Memoirs of an Exorcist, Father Amorth recalls stories from his long career, as well as answers questions related to exorcism and possession and discusses some of his beliefs.

I grew up (and still live) in a country wherein along with our Catholic beliefs, a lot also believe in the existence of dwarves, elves and other supernatural beings. Most of the time, it's these supernatural beings that are said to cause problems and inhabit humans. Occasionally, there will be television reports saying that several people (usually students) in a particular province or place were possessed and the school had to be shut down for the day. When interviewed, the people there would usually say something along the lines that a spirit was angered for some reason. I learned from medical school, or possibly a documentary, that poisoning (such as by ergot) or mass hysteria is a likely cause of this, so I usually dismiss it as such. However, I wouldn't want to be around when something like that happens, as I find it inherently creepy.

I read this book mostly out of curiosity. Father Amorth raises a number of interesting points. For example, he's found that a lot of the people he has exorcised were cursed by a relative. You'd think that you could trust your family members, but I guess you really can't trust anyone.

His stories were presented in a straightforward way. Most of the time, he listed the phenomena and didn't really do the whole "creating atmosphere"-type thing that you find in fiction books. I could actually picture the book as a documentary on Discovery Channel or National Geographic Channel, since there were chapters written as interviews and chapters wherein the priest shared stories.

I thought this book was interesting, but I still don't recommend reading it at night if you have an active imagination. Oh, and fair warning, though he doesn't go into detail, Father Amorth is not a fan of gay marriage or unmarried couples who live together in sin.

Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for the e-ARC. Publication date of Memoirs of an Exorcist is on September 16, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's an unusual topic.
  2. Father Amorth seems like a nice, humble man.
  3. You learn a lot.

THE BAD:

  1. Some people may like a novel-type approach rather than the interview-type approach used. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
This is because if someone is sick, the first thing they should do is go see a doctor. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You like movies like Deliver Us From Evil.
  2. You are a Catholic (non-practicing or practicing).
  3. You like reading about the topic. 

RATING:
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SOUNDS INTERESTING?

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