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The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist was first brought to my attention when I saw the movie of the same name with Anthony Hopkins in one of the lead roles. Now I have always been fascinated with religion and exorcisms so of course I had to read this book. Matt Baglio did a great job in writing this.
It describes the life of an American priest who is sent to Rome to take a course in exorcism at the Vatican. During the course he is placed with a veteran priest who has performed many exorcisms and it is here that he learns there is so much more between heaven and earth then we ever thought possible. When he started the course he was a non believer, believing that no person could ever be possessed by the Devil or anyone else. But quickly he has to change his point of view when he sees and hears things he never thought possible. Could it be that the Devil really exists?
The first thing he must learn is to see the difference between a real possession and mental illness. All his experiences force him to change the way he sees the world and to rethink all he ever thought. He is changed on a spiritual level also and that is something he never thought would happen.
The book is based on the real life priest Father Gary Thomas, who so far has done over eighty exorcisms and helped countless people in their times of need. Baglio also manages to tell a lot about the history of exorcism, revealing its rites and rituals, explaining what the Catholic Church really teaches about demonic possession, and delving into such related topics as the hierarchy of angels and demons, satanic cults, black masses, curses, and the various theories used by modern scientists and anthropologists who seek to quantify such phenomena.
Now some might say the book is really catholic and goes far to deep in to the rituals and things, but that is just the part I liked the best. I am not a religious man, but I am fascinated by religion and I want to know as much as possible about it. This book has certainly helped me in that matter. So if you are like me and want to know more about this part of religion, I urge you to read this book and watch the movie.