California pastor Father Gary Thomas reluctantly accepted the request of his bishop to attend a course on demonic possession in Rome. He participated in more than 80 exorcisms alongside a senior Italian exorcist. Matt Baglio had full access to Fr. Thomas as he learned the process of exorcism and as he grew and changed in his understanding of the nature of evil and human suffering.
The Rite describes the reality of demonic possession. It also traces the history of exorcism and and treats related topics such as satanic cults and black masses. Since Fr. Thomas was a skeptic and the author is a fact-seeking journalist, this book is more compelling even than the previous best-seller on this topic, The Exorcist.
©2009 Matt Baglio (P)2009 St. Anthony Messenger Press
This is an absorbing story, better than The Exorcist, at least from the standpoint of authenticity and documentation of the subject. I later saw the trailer of the film LOOSELY based on this book. While it seems like a good film, it makes major changes to the book. The book, narrated by the author, tells the real journey of a Rome UPI based journalist who started off just wanting to write an article about a new Vatican initiative to train and send off an exorcist to every Catholic diocese. So Baglio befriended and followed the experiences of an American priest undergoing what became a thoroughly life altering transformation from a kind of light hearted Bing Crosby type pastor to one who has witnessed "the dark side" and grown very deeply aware of a reality most of us don't want to even think about. The book does not at all see the Devil behind every corner. Indeed it emphasizes that an exorcism only takes place as a last resort after the analyses of a team of a psychologist, medical doctors, and psychiatrist cannot remedy the symptoms and certain overt paranormal activity takes place. Almost all cases are indeed deemed to be of psychological, not demonic, disturbance. It was really spooky to hear of what medical/head shrinker team members (cited by name and institution) reported witnessing. Though I was spellbound hearing this book, I haven't played again it since because it was a draining experience.
This read is a spiritual work of mercy. Not only does it instruct, it directs the faithful to embrace the sacraments and the sacramentals. Far from sending many devoted Christians into panic or hysteria, the book creates a sense of peace, stressing ordinary means to extraordinary healing. Well written, informative, and filled with what all of our hearts deeply desire: the truth.
Although the delivery was very mechanical, the material held my interest start to finish. The subject gave me quite a bit of insight into the theology of demons. The best part, for me, was the explanation of how demons came to be. This actually allowed me to reach a better understanding of the background of the covenant and the need for redemption by Jesus Christ.
Text like in delivery, but informative with regard to the Catholic religion and it's stances on the subject both past and present. Not a read for pleasure, but rather a read for knowledge.
No. This book is much more of an instruction giving the history and details surrounding the rite of exorcism. As far as entertainment, thrills, this book is pretty lacking. That is not to say it is not a great text book and very interesting. If looking for factual knowledge I would highly recommend.
This book would be on the same shelf as those published by Gabrielle Amorth. They are books of instruction and are not written to give readers a sense of thrill or entertainment factors.
No favorite character identified.
The variations throughout history of increased and subsequent decreased possessions.
The editor needed to reduce the exposition and explanatory sections and focus on the storyline.
The priest's story was interesting. I would have preferred to hear more vignettes about actual exorcisms.
It is unfortunate that so many authors don't realize that they don't have an entertaining speaking voice. Coupled with a storyline that often provided too much explanation and background, the authors nasal tone made it easy for me to lose focus.
Todd W. Brown
If you can get past the sometimes bland reading, there is a lot here to take in.
What I enjoyed most about this was how it simply treated the very serious and spiritual rite of exorcism in a clinical nature like it was the most normal and natural thing in the world. No matter your belief system, this book offers a peek inside a world that is often treated as a vehicle for Hollywood horror. It give you something to ponder.
Probably, I am done with this author. I'm happy for the author in that he seems to have recovered his own faith through the journey of this doing this work. Nonetheless the book is more like a travelog than an exploration of the issues around dealing with this very difficult, culturally out-of-fashion subject.
It seemed as though the author/narrator just wanted to get the piece read as quickly as possible. It wasn't written to be performed and the performer is not a professional voice talent. Kind of a recipe for disaster.
Well written and easy to follow the storyline in addition, the narration was done very well made it easy to listen to for several hours at a time.
I would not say the book has increased my interest since I already have a high level of interest in this particular topic.
I think just being straight forward about telling the story made the information interesting and insightful.
Nothing, the narration was well done for me to easily listen.
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