The presence of the Supreme Pontiff Emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI, certainly caused a tremendous annoyance to Satan.
The devil inspires terror, takes possession of people’s hearts and souls and only the help of an exorcist can make them come to their senses and remember themselves. Nevertheless, that white robe, the blessing, the candid gaze all were a very powerful threat to Satan’s attacks. There is a story that makes us shiver but that also makes us understand how the power of a Pope’s faith can remove and free those who are possessed.
He was among the best known and best known exorcists in the world. His name is Don Gabriele Amorth. There are many testimonies and stories of his struggles against satan and of the exorcisms he carried out, with the help of God so that many souls could save themselves from demonic possession. In one of his books, entitled The last exorcist. My battle against Satan, which Father Amorth himself wrote in collaboration with the Vatican expert Paolo Rodari, presents us with a completely unusual aspect that, perhaps, is known to few. In simple words, the presence of the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI heavily bothered and disturbed the devil very much and, consequently, also those who are possessed by him. This story which we shall be sharing is taken from this book cited above and sees Pope Benedict XVI as its protagonist during a public audience.
It was the month of May 2009 and Saint Peter’s Square was slowly filling up with faithful who have flocked there to attend the Pope’s Wednesday audience. A small group of four people enter from the back of the square. Two women and two young men. The women are two of my assistants […] The two young men are two possessed. Nobody knows. Only they and the two women who “escort” them know it; Father Amorth recounts in this passage. That day, his assistants had decided to take the two young men to the audience, in the hope that their souls could somehow find some peace and benefit. The exorcist explains, in fact, that the presence of the Pope is of enormous annoyance for the devil and that even seeing and perceiving the presence of the Pope disturbs and in some way helps the possessed in their battle against the one who possesses them.
The four approach the barriers near the stage from where Benedict XVI is shortly to speak. The Swiss Guards stop them. They don’t have tickets to go any further. The two women insist. It is important for them to be able to bring the two possessed as close as possible to the Pope. The Swiss Guards do not allow exceptions and order them to leave. So one of the two women pretends to feel bad. The skit gets a result. The four are made to sit over the barriers, in places reserved for the disabled”, the story continues.
The two women try to reassure the young people (Giovanni and Marco are their names), and announce to them that, shortly thereafter, the Pope will be a few steps from where they were seated. The two, however, are silent, they do not speak, it is as if those who possess them (they are two different demons) are beginning to understand who will soon arrive in the square, she continues. At the sight of Pope Benedict XVI, the demons began to rise up. At 10 o’clock, the Pope mobile begins to make its way into Saint Peter’s Square. The two women turn to Giovanni and Marco. They instinctively support them with their arms. The two, in fact, begin to have strange behaviors. Giovanni trembles and his teeth chatter. The two women understand that someone is starting to act in the body of Giovanni and Marco. Someone who, with the passing of the minutes shows himself more and more agitated.
“Giovanni, keep control of yourself,” says one of the two women. “Stay in control Giovanni. Don’t get overwhelmed. React, stay in control.” The other woman says the same words to Marco. Giovanni does not seem to listen to the woman’s words, except suddenly turn around and say to her in a slow voice that seems to come from no one knows which which world. “I am not Giovanni.” Words that would anyone shiver but not Father Amorth’s assistants aware of the fact that in these cases they cannot speak because only an exorcist can speak with the devil. So she remains silent and limits himself to supporting Giovanni’s body now completely in the hands of the devil.
The jeep goes around the square. The two possessed men bend to the ground. They hit their heads on the ground. The Swiss guards observes them but do not intervene. The jeep goes a long way. Then he arrives at the top of the square, a few metres from the door of the Vatican Basilica. The Pope gets out of the car and greets the people in the front rows. Giovanni and Marco, together, begin to howl. Lying on the ground they howl and they howl very loud. “Holiness, holiness, we are here”. One of the two women yells at the Pope, trying to get this attention. Benedict XVI turns but does not approach. He sees the two women and he sees the two young men on the ground screaming, drooling, trembling, raging. He sees the hateful gaze of the two men, a look directed at him.
The Pope is not upset. He watches from afar. He raises his arm and blesses the four. He continues. Something happens to the two possessed yound men. A whip struck all over the body so much so that they fall three meters back, knocked to the ground. Now they don’t scream anymore but they cry and moan throughout the hearing. Then, when the Pope leaves, they come back into themselves and they don’t remember anything, he concludes.
In this chapter Father Amorth also explains to us that Pope Benedict XVI is much feared by the devil. The way Benedict XVI lived the liturgy, respect for the rules of him, the rigour of him, his posture, they are very effective against satan. The liturgy which was celebrated by this Pontiff was powerful. Satan was hurt every time the Pope celebrated the Eucharist. Satan greatly feared Ratzinger’s election to the throne of Peter because he saw in him the continuation of the great battle that his predecessor, St John Paul II, fought against him for 26 and a half years.
Pope Benedict XVI teaches us: Evil draws its power from indecision and concern for what other people think. Let us always and everywhere do the will of God decisively, irrespective of what the people around us might think or say! Amen!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap