This is a review for the audio CD version of An Exorcist Tells His Story
, hence the reading level refers more to the maturity of the reader than the technical reading ability. If my experience and that of many of my Catholic friends and family members are any indication, I would say that most Catholics have, at best, a very sketchy idea of diabolical activity.
Fr. Amorth has done us a great service by writing this book. In it, he explains the different extraordinary ways demons can intrude into our lives. He delineates the differences between diabolic obsession, oppression, possession and infestation and gives examples from his own extensive experience. He carefully clarifies what an exorcist is and is not, how a priest becomes a designated exorcist and also emphasizes that this power is bestowed upon all priests by virtue of their ordination. Interestingly, he recounts how collaborations among exorcists, medical doctors and psychologists can be fruitful and helpful. I found it quite enlightening to learn the various signs that can indicate demonic influence in people's lives.
This is a terrifying subject, however, the tone of Father Amorth's book is almost matter-of-fact. Perhaps this is because he takes great care to lay out for the reader (or listener) the powerful weapons we, as Catholics, possess to combat the assaults of these infernal enemies. He emphasizes the protective power of the sacraments (especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation), a prayerful and godly life, recourse to Our Lady, the angels and saints and frequent contemplation of Our Blessed Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection, scripture study, use of sacramentals and sacred images (especially in the home). He identifies a materialistic, hedonistic lifestyle (among other things), dabbling in the occult, satanic rock music and other such practices as the doorways through which diabolical influences can enter our lives. In addition, he also asserts that communism has done tremendous damage and the societies created by it have rendered people vulnerable to demonic attack.
In all, I found that this book clarified the Church's teaching on a subject that is difficult to broach, let alone discuss at length, even with priests. Sadly, many priests have given me the wrong information in the past and I am grateful that I've gotten the real "scoop" first hand from a real exorcist. More priests need to be aware of the power they possess, given to them by God to protect their flock. And the faithful should realize that they have the right to avail themselves of these powers that their priests possess, because it is through the hands of our priests that certain aspects of God's strength flow to us.
This is a very well-written book - not a boring moment in it! It is suitable for adults and mature teenagers and even pre-teens PROVIDED they are well-grounded in the faith and they have well-informed, devout parents who are willing to explain the more disturbing facts presented here. As a result of listening to this audio book, I am definitely more aware of the unseen world while at the same time, not necessarily seeing "a devil behind every bush." It is a very balanced piece of work and is definitely a recommended tome for every Catholic's library.
You can purchase this audiobook here