Browsing Fr. Poggemeyer's Weekly Letter

April 30, 2023


Dear Parishioners,

It's interesting that in the last couple of weeks two big screen movies have come out treating the extraordinary work of the devil. The first, which is getting the most media attention – even getting an article in our local newspaper – is the movie “The Pope's Exorcist.” The second is entitled “Nefarious” I strongly recommend that you avoid “The Pope's Exorcist” and go instead to see “Nefarious,” if you want to get a genuine feel for the way the devil works extraordinarily, and how that might look in today's real world.

“The Pope's Exorcist” purports to be a treatment of the ministry of Fr. Gabriel Amorth, who was the head exorcist in Rome for some 30 years. He died in 2016. Fr. Amorth founded the organization called “The International Association of Exorcists” (IAE), and this movie is so bad, that the IAE was compelled to publish a statement. I found that statement (only in Italian so far). Here are some highlights from their statement about the movie:

– The quality is simply “splatter cinema” (assumedly because it just splatters blood and super sensational special effects everywhere).

– The movie seems to copy other films where the exorcist himself gets possessed (which never happened with Fr. Amorth, and is very far-fetched).

– There is way too much artistic license taken with the presentation of Fr. Amorth from a spiritual, priestly and human point of view. The main character doesn't reflect Fr. Amorth in the slightest.

– It seems they made more of a connection with Russell Crowe's role as The Gladiator than they did with the spirit of service that motivated the ministry of Fr. Amorth.

– The Catholic Church gets represented by a pope who is not believable.

– The Church is characterized by chiaroscuro (more shady than light), having the effect of “The Da Vinci Code,” and making the Church more then enemy than the devil.

– It's more a horror film than a true depiction of Fr. Amorth or the real ministry of exorcism.

– The film greatly distorts and falsifies what is really lived and experienced by persons afflicted by the devil, when they are ministered to by exorcists who celebrate the rite of exorcism according to the norms of the Church.

– Furthermore, the film is actually offensive regarding the state of suffering those people experience who are afflicted by the extraordinary action of the demon.

In my opinion, it's significant that Fr. Amorth's own IAE was moved to make public comment, because the movie from the point of view of practicing exorcists is that bad. So, perhaps the better choice for anybody wanting a cinema portrayal of the extraordinary work of the devil is “Nefarious.” I have heard from friends who saw it in the Toledo area that it is riveting and convincing.

“Nefarious” was created by a couple Catholic directors, with the intention of exposing the demonic forces at play in our world and getting people to seek for the true remedy that is Christ. The plot focuses on a prison inmate who just before he is scheduled to undergo capital punishment claims he is possessed, and that halts the punishment; and a relationship with an investigative reporter ensues. One reviewer of the movie said, “this film is the most realistic – albeit terrifying – portrayal of Satan that has ever been on film, period. It will rightfully horrify people, but at the same time will give us faithful to Christ and His Church an opportunity to evangelize in a way we have never been able to before.” The creators of the film state that, “Horror fans will actually have a pretty intense experience, but it won't be the experience that they expected. It's not spectacle. It's not people walking up the side of walls. It's … real exorcism. It's evil. You see evil.” It seems “Nefarious” is the better film to choose, if a person is looking for an intense film about real evil.

Have a blessed week!

In cordibus Iesu, Mariae et Iosephus,

Father Poggemeyer


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