A spate of recent news reports alleging cover-ups of child sex abuse by priests was “prompted” by Satan, says a prominent Italian exorcist.
Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, told Italian media this week that a New York Times report alleging that Pope Benedict XVI ignored reports of sex abuse at a Wisconsin school for the deaf was the work of the Devil.
That story asserted that the Pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, ignored repeated warnings from bishops that a Wisconsin priest, Father Laurence Murphy, may have molested as many as 200 boys at a school for the deaf.
“There is no doubt about it. Because he is a marvelous Pope and worthy successor to John Paul II, it is clear that the Devil wants to ‘grab hold’ of him,” Amorth said, as quoted at the Catholic News Agency.
Father Amorth added that in instances of sexual abuse committed by some members of the clergy, the devil Ã¢â‚¬Å“usesÃ¢â‚¬Â priests in order to cast blame upon the entire Church: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The devil wants the death of the Church because she is the mother of all the saints.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The exorcist went on to note that Satan tempts holy men, “and so we should not be surprised if priests too Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ fall into temptation. They also live in the world and can fall like men of the world.”
Amorth made similar assertions several weeks ago, before the allegations about Father Murphy became public. At that time, the Pope was being criticized by some over allegations that, as Archbishop of Munich, he tried to hush up allegations of sexual abuse by priests in his diocese.
In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Amorth said the German sex abuse scandal, along with several other scandals and a Christmas Eve attack on the pontiff by a mentally unstable woman, “were proof that the Anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See,” the Daily Telegraph reported.
Amorth also asserted that the Pope is a fervent believer in the practice of exorcism. “His Holiness believes wholeheartedly in the practice of exorcism. He has encouraged and praised our work,” Amorth said.
In 2006, Amorth asserted that Hitler and Stalin were both possessed by the Devil.
Amorth also condemned the Harry Potter novels for creating a “false distinction” between good and bad magic; all magic “leads to the Devil,” Amorth stated.