Saturday, 5 May 2012

Great Bullshitters Of Our Age: Amorth the Ghostbuster

"Old exorcists never die. They just give up the ghost." I'd like to put that on a t-shirt and send it to Gabrielle Amorth - Roman Catholic priest and lifelong president of the International Association of Exorcists - but he'd never wear it. He prefers dresses like the rest of 'em.

I left Parma, full of prosciutto and pancetta and pasta and beef and chocolate mousse, courtesy of the wonderful Silvia (see the OU Platform's blog) and headed towards Modena. Modena is the home of just about every Italian sports car manufacturer, but surely it should be more famous for generating the world's most famous bullshitting Ghostbuster.

In his career Gabrielle Amorth claims to have performed 70,000 exorcisms, which works out at eight per day. It sounds to me like he's been on the spirits. Seventy thousand exorcisms might be feasible if you sit in an office all day and have the demons come to you, but I would have thought that, if you were really possessed - Linda Blair possessed - you probably wouldn't catch the bus, turn up at his place and ask to have Caspar removed. You'd be strapped to a bed vomitting pea soup. And so if he really did perform 70,000 exorcisms he must have worked his arse off. In fact, he must have worked like a man possessed. And surely that would have caused him some worrying moments of reflection.

So what's the secret to being a successful exorcist? According to Amorth, the key is to be "completely detached from monetary concerns, profoundly humble and treasure obscurity". As he obscurely wrote in his book on the subject. Just before doing the Sunday Telegraph interview. Or the one on telly with Anthony Head. That kind of obscurity.

I mentioned Linda Blair earlier. Amorth claims that his favourite movie is - can you guess? - yes, The Exorcist. Really? That's a bit like gardener Alan Titchmarsh choosing his favourite film as Day Of The Triffids. He claims that The Exorcist is very realistic, but that some of the effects have been exaggerated. What, you mean the rotating heads and stuff like that? He's just trying to make his job sound sexy. Besides the priest in that film ends up dead. When did that ever happen to Amorth? Silly sod.

In that film, Linda Blair famously screams the insult: "Your mother sucks cocks in hell." I've always found that to be more of a comfort than an insult. Given the range of agonising fates that could befall you in Hades - y'know, fish hooks in the eyes, lava on the gonads, spikes up the arse - I would only be too happy to opt for the Cock Sucking Department. In fact, I'd write a little note to that effect upon entry and hand it to Lucifer personally. Please don't think me sexually confused. I just don't like pain. And besides, I've got at least one Facebook friend who, based on her regular posts on the subject, would consider that punishment a very Heaven. (And no, it's not you. I'm safe. I'm pretty sure she doesn't read this.)

Anyway, I've digressed. I cycled around Modena looking for ghosts. Perhaps Amorth had been inspired as a lad by the sheer quantity of ghouls in his neighbourhood. The only ones I could find were in the photo collection at the base of Modena's lovely Ghirlandina Tower, a tribute to the young blokes killed fighting the Nazis.

Oh no. I've finished on a downer. What we need is someone to raise our spirits. Who you gonna call?

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant! - I did laugh.....carrying on pedaling that kind of humour and wheel all be re-cycling your one liners.......

    KBO as Chruchill would say.