I'm sometimes incredulous at people's superstitions, but who would have thought that an exorcist would have an official position at the Vatican? It's really quite stunning, that in this day and age, when the Vatican officially supports the Theory of Evolution, hosts important scientific conferences, and has apologized to Galileo, that there is still a Catholic official who chases ghosts out of people's bodies and has a personal relationship with Satan.
Father Gabriele Amorth is the Vatican's Chief Exorcist. Seriously!
This guy not only believes in Satan, he believes in a personal Satan, a guy sort of like Father Gabriel himself, just really, really bad. And this Satan fellow is so bad that all evil is his work. Pedophile priests and bishops? Satan. War, poverty and terrorism? Satan. That dude is so bad he has even "infiltrated the Vatican corridors" and is the reason for all of the trouble the Roman Catholic Church is having!
But Satan can't corrupt Father Gabriel! Oh no, he has one over on Satan! Satan is actually afraid of Father Gabriel, because Father Gabriel is on God's side.
I don't know about you, but I find this to be incredibly childish, an insult to the concept of God. This is two-thousand-year-old Paganism, pure and simple. All men like Father Gabriel have done is elevate one of the gods to be the heavyweight, the one they choose to worship in hopes of protection from all the other mischievous and evil demons, ghosts, demigods and gods that plague humanity. They're still stuck in a superstitious pre-scientific world that should have been left behind in the Middle Ages.
Many of my friends and family believe that there is something beyond the material world, some universal force or even consciousness that we'll become part of when we die. I respect these beliefs even though I don't share them. It reflects a deep understanding of what a true God must be like – far beyond human comprehension, above the petty day-to-day goings on of one tiny planet in this incredibly vast universe.
To me, Father Gabriel's beliefs are an insult, both to God and to humanity.
Father Gabriel's concept of God trivializes all of religion. The idea that God, who created the entire universe, would be in some sort of petty battle with some other god, daily trying to outwit each other, is like a campfire story told 3,000 years ago to amuse and scare children.
But far worse than this is the idea that Satan is responsible for everything that is wrong in the world. Although the Church claims that humans are responsible for evil, it's really just the opposite: they're absolving us of responsibility, because Satan is behind it all. Our only responsibility is to ignore Satan. If we do that (so they claim), we'll just naturally do only good deeds.
This is pure baloney. We are animals, with powerful instincts that sometimes tell us to do bad things. By denying this, the Church and men like Father Gabriel box us into a philosophical corner. As a society, we can't face the real root of strife and evil in the world, which is that we need to rise above our animal nature and make ourselves truly human. By blaming Satan, Father Gabriel diverts us from real ethical evolution.
Maybe we should all get together and pray to God to cast the exorcist out of the Vatican!