‘The Pope’s Exorcist’: The Real Priest Who Inspired The Film

'The Pope's Exorcist': The Real Priest Who Inspired The Film

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The film “Take Out the Pope” tells the story of the Catholic Church's most famous representative, Fr. Edward Seibert's journey began six years ago with an adventurous visit to Milano.

The Jesuit priest remembers sitting in a restaurant, drinking wine and thinking about the expensive plane ticket he had bought the day before. His deal with the Petersburg Society has also raised concerns. Paul stopped by to buy the rights to a biography of priest Gabriel Amart – the late priest Pauline, known as "James Bond".

Seibert, who teaches film at Loyola Merriman University in Los Angeles and runs the university's film production company, had no credits in the film at the time and asked, "What did I do ?"

There was a sigh of relief today when the Amar't Life version of The Pope's Exorcist starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe hit the big screen. It opens in US theaters on Friday.

Amart was appointed head of the Diocese of Rome in 1986 until his death in 2016 at the age of 91. During those three decades, Amart claims to have performed more than 60,000 abortions. His first book, The Trainer Tells His Story, was published in 1990 and sold quickly and has been translated into 30 languages. That same year, Amorth founded the International Alien Association, which Amorth named after his favorite movie.

Seibert, one of the film's executive producers, said he was an unlikely candidate for the project. But his former collaborator, New Mexico filmmaker Michael Patrick Kaczmark, said he believed in the power of Amarth's story.

Kaczmarek, one of the film's producers, said he contacted Amart in 2015 through the religious order's publishing company and was told by executives that several people were trying to acquire the Ghost Books film and television rights. But Kaczmarek's position reflects this

“With the help of translators, I sent a letter to Father Amart confirming my religiosity and my sincere desire to respect his magic.

Siebert said the vulture stories "frightened" him at first, but he was moved by the pastor's faith and desire to help people.

Amret says 98% of people who come to see him need a psychiatrist, not a therapist, as detailed in the movie Crew Amret. When the cardinal asked him about the remaining 2%, he replied, "Ah, the remaining 2% is a subject that has long intrigued all of science and all of medicine." After a dramatic pause, he added, "I speak evil."

Like Seibert, Crowe has stated in various media interviews that he is not a fan of horror movies and prefers to "sleep well at night". But Amarth's behavior impressed me; He read the first two books of the priests and talked to people who saw him doing the exercises. Crowe says that two aspects of Amarth's character appeal to him – "his unwavering purity of conviction and his wicked sense of humor".

In the 2017 documentary The Devil and Father Amarth, a priest was seen sticking his nose into a woman before an exorcism. It was the sign he made in front of each ghost to let him know that he was not afraid of the monster.

In the 1987 film The Pope's Interpreter, Cruz Amart, a young priest assigned to investigate the estate of a young boy, travels to Spain with his coach. There, he exposed an "age-old conspiracy" to cover up the Vatican in a conspiracy that included The Da Vinci Code, Indiana Jones and countless cop buddy movies on the channel.

Crowe and the filmmakers took liberal creative license with Amarth's character and stories. Varona was not at all like a bald, clean-shaven, shorn priest. On screen, Crowe drinks double espressos and cruises around Rome on a Lambretta scooter, his wardrobe exhaling triumphantly. His scooter bears a Ferrari sticker – from Amarta's hometown of Modena, home of the luxury car maker.

Amort's difficult path to the priesthood included serving in World War II partisans, earning a law degree, and journalism. At 61, he becomes a kidnapper. He was no stranger to controversy, saying that Hitler and Stalin had power, that cults were held in the Vatican, and that yoga and Harry Potter were portals to demons.

Amarth influenced and inspired many members of the Catholic Church who followed him, of whom Bishop Stephen J. Rossetti says there is a growing and renewed interest in information about demon possession and exorcism.

"We are all indebted to Father Amart," Rossetti said. "He revived this ministry when the church and society had neglected it."

Although exorcisms are a frequent part of the ministry of Jesus Christ, seminarians and Catholic priests are not trained to perform them, he said, adding that films like “The Exorcist” have raised awareness of the phenomenon of demonic possession. Rossetti, like Amorth, observed the decline of faith, the rise of sin, and the rise of "demonic influence" in the practice of witchcraft.

According to Rossetti, exorcism, when done correctly, is "an act of healing and faith", and in 15 years of exorcism he says he has seen "darkness and evil".

"Ghosts appear in a seance, and the exorcist experiences the most sinister apparition imaginable," he said. “Things fly around the room. The monsters act like immature 12 year olds trying to scare you.

But with faith and God on his side, it has always been a "happy ministry," Rossetti said.

The International Association of Exorcists released a statement on their website criticizing The Exorcist Pope based on the trailer. The association called it "a scene designed to evoke strong and unhealthy emotions through its dark setting and sound effects … a scene designed solely to induce anxiety, worry and fear in the public".

Joseph Laycock, an associate professor of religious studies at Texas State University, said that despite protests from religious circles after the release of such films or television shows, "the persecutors use the media, even if their image is sensational."

Laycock's latest book, The Exorcist Effect, examines research for the 1973 film The Exorcist; He said the film played an important role in changing the Catholic Church's view of the practice. After The Exorcist, he describes Amarth as "the only priest of awakening demons" and predicts that the demand for exorcisms will continue to grow.

"The Christianity we had in mid-twentieth century America emphasized supernatural morality," Laycock said. “Much of Christian history has emphasized supernatural and spiritual warfare. It is the return of Christianity to its supernatural nature.

Seibert, who spent eight years working to bring Amart's story to the big screen, didn't change his view of horror films and scandal in The Pope; Both make him shiver. But it's nice to see the priest in a positive light when so many movies and TV shows insult or belittle him.

"It's nice to see how a priest talks about prayer, forgiveness, love of God and, above all, defeating demons," he said. "It's good to finally see the priest as a hero."

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Religious coverage by The Associated Press in partnership with The Conversation US is supported by Lilly Endowment, Inc. AP is solely responsible for such content.

Review of The Pope's Exorcist (2023)

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