Vatican exorcist claims Satan possessed Stalin, Hitler
The horror of Nazi and Soviet actions has convinced an Italian exorcist that Stalin as well as Hitler and other Nazis "were all possessed by the devil."
"Therefore, society also needs to be defended against the devil," he said.
"If one thinks of what was committed by people like Stalin or Hitler, certainly they were possessed by the devil. This is seen in their actions, in their behaviour and in the horrors they committed," said Pauline Fr Gabriele Amorth in an interview this week with Vatican Radio.
"The devil can possess not only individuals but also entire groups and populations. ... I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed by the devil," he added.
Fr Amorth, who works as an exorcist in the Diocese of Rome, says that demonic influence is also strong in today's world, affecting individuals and sometimes entire societies, Catholic News Service reports.
He says every culture in history has shown an awareness of the existence of evil spirits. With the Bible, he said, these spirits were identified as rebellious angels who "tempt man to evil out of hatred for God."
Fr Amorth said he thought one reason why the devil's influence was high today is that Christian faith has weakened, replaced in many cases by superstition and an interest in the occult, which he said "open the way to demonic influences."
Exorcism, he said, is a prayer made in the name of the church to liberate people stricken by the devil or by his evil influences.
Fr Amorth gained notoriety in 2000 when he revealed that Pope John Paul II had performed an impromptu exorcism on a young woman who flew into an apparent rage at the end of a general audience at the Vatican.
In 1999, the Vatican issued a revised Rite of Exorcism, cautioning that cases of actual possession by devils were probably very rare.
The church also has emphasised that before an exorcism is performed, it is important to make certain one is dealing with the devil and not a psychological or other illness.
Exorcist says demonic influence is strong in today's world (Catholic News Service, 29/8/06)
Stalin, Hitler Were Possessed by Satan — Vatican Exorcist (Moscow News, 29/8/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Exorcism (Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1910)
Exorcists say real Satanic possession is rare (CathNews, 18/2/05)
Report claims Mother Teresa had exorcism (CathNews, 7/9/01)
Sydney spokesman comments on Papal exorcism (CathNews, 14/9/00)
Pope failed in attempted exorcism (CathNews, 12/9/00)
30 Aug 2006