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The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist Hardcover – 10 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books (10 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385522703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385522700
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 15 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,626,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Ramos on 9 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Matt Baglio was a freelance journalist living in Rome when he learned about a class the Vatican was offering on exorcism that was open to the public. Mr. Baglio thought it would give him enough information to write an article if he attended the class. He was wrong, from what he learned in class and contacts made, the author was able to write this book and has a new look on life.

In this class Mr. Baglio met and an American Priest from California who was appointed by his bishop to become the diocese exorcist. The book is written mainly as a biography of this priest, Father Gary Thomas. So with the investigative eye of a journalist, the insights of the exorcist and interviews of the subjects of some exorcisms we are given a glimpse into the world where good still battles evil.

The small biography of Father Thomas is a fast read that shows the sad truth that most priest do not even believe in the devil until the come face to face with pure evil. This was where Father Thomas was until he started the class to become an exorcist and actually started attending some exorcism. Every diocese is supposed to have an official exorcist appointed but the majority live in Italy and there is only a handful in the U.S.A. Most countries have none at all.

The author also covers the teachings of the Catholic Church on demonic possession and the basis for the belief in the rite of exorcism. Through Father Thomas' eyes we are shown different forms of possession and learn that each exorcist is a unique individual with his own strength and weaknesses. In order for the rite to be successful both the possessed and the exorcist must have faith in God.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Crothers on 25 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
Matt Baglio is to be commended on steering a steady course through some fairly perilous waters and managing to give a clear-headed and relatively dispassionate account of the Vatican-sponsored, university-based training in exorcism undertaken by a contemporary American priest.

At the risk of simply rehashing the blurb from the book's cover, this really is a fascinating insight into a world that most of us are probably completely unaware of, other than through Hollywood. Coming from a position of confirmed aetheism, it's quite a shock to learn just how many people, especially in Italy, are seemingly afflicted by "demonic possession". Without wishing to question the sincerely-held beliefs of the "victims", it is hard not to wonder at how these people have been failed by the respective national medical and social welfare systems.

Father Gary Thomas has performed a valuable service in co-operating with the author and both men are to be commended on a work which will be of significant interest and value to believer and non-believer alike.

If I had one critiscism it would be that Father Gary's post-Rome experience of exorcism in the field, back in his native USA, could have been treated more extensively.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Rowe on 21 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is NOT ABOUT EXORCISMS. It's about a DOOD who left his fiancee for a job at the Catholic Church. If you want a book about Exorcism, get Malachi Martin's "Hostage To The Devil".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 190 reviews
170 of 173 people found the following review helpful
The Rite Stuff 12 Mar 2009
By Bert Krages - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a well-written book by a journalist who covers an American priest's sabbatical in Rome to learn how to administer exorcism. The book lays a solid foundation for understanding both the practical and theological underpinnings of the actions of demons as understood by the Catholic Church and its measured response to claims of possession. One of the things that makes the book interesting is the reserved and often skeptical approach that the Church takes evaluating claims of possession and its insistence that psychiatric and other disorders be ruled out before proceeding forward. Another strong aspect of the book is that it shows the education and apprenticeship that the priest undergoes in becoming appointed as the exorcist for a diocese. The author does an excellent job of describing the personalities of the key subjects of the book and presents descriptions of exorcisms in a very measured way. If you are looking for a book that covers an obscure part of the Catholic Church in a respectful and matter-of-fact manner, The Rite would be an excellent choice.
131 of 134 people found the following review helpful
You Don't Really Believe Those Exorcist Stories Do You? 6 Sep 2010
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This question (my review headline) was recently asked of me by the Jesuit President of a famous Jesuit university after I had announced to a small group that Rev. Gary Thomas, an exorcist, would be one of our featured guests in the 2010-2011 Oakland Diocese's Catholics@Work Speakers Series. His disparaging response is characteristic of today's American Catholic Clergy as many find the concept of the Devil and exorcism to be a sideshow that no "serious minded "priest would lose time considering and would just as soon forget.

Those who doubt the existence of evil and the Devil are reminded in "The Rite" to be mindful of French poet Charles Baudelaire's philosophic proclamation - "the Devil had finally convinced the world that he no longer existed."

Fortunately, an unintentional spoiler has come along - Matt Baglio, an ambivalent "cultural" Catholic who was living in Italy as a freelance writer and Vatican journalist. In 2005, Baglio heard that one of the Vatican universities was offering a course entitled "Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation." While writing about exorcism was not at the top of his list of subjects to write about, Baglio was curious, believing this might be a public relations stunt, registered for the course, and ended up writing "The Rite" about his experience and observations.

Baglio quickly learned that the students were anything but superstitious or puritanical and befriended fellow American Fr. Thomas who impressed him with his honesty and transparency. This marked the beginning of an important journey that both would make together. For Fr. Thomas, a story of a "remarkable American priest who answered the call of his Bishop to become the appointed exorcist for his diocese...who delved deeply into a world he never knew existed, completing the course and participating in over 80 exorcisms along with a senior Italian exorcist. As a result, his view of the world - and his place in it - changed dramatically." For Baglio, a story of journalist reconnecting with his faith in a way he never intended or expected, experiencing a "phenomenon" that filled him with immense joy, also changing his view of the world and his place in it.

Baglio's "The Rite" provides a compelling, hard to put down story that believers and non-believers alike will find satisfying and provocative. He provides an intelligent, myth-busting look at exorcism that explains what the Church really teaches about demonic possession, what the priest and the victim experience, and the critical role of an exorcist in today's orthodox secularist society.

The book is being adapted to film and is presently being shot in Budapest with Anthony Hopkins playing Thomas's teacher. The film is to be released in January 2011.

I highly recommend "The Rite" and bet it will also change your view of the world and your place in it.
98 of 107 people found the following review helpful
A Fascinating Window into Exorcism Today 27 Mar 2009
By rodboomboom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Baglio was a journalist in Rome when he heard about a new class at a Vatican-affiliated university on exorcism. Fascinated if the church in fact still believed in it, he attended and met one Fr. Gary. This American priest came to provide this interesting window into exorcism today in the Roman Catholic church.

This is a great read about how the American bishops were encouraged to appoint a priest to be trained in Rome as their exorcist. Californian Fr. Gary is such an appointee, and then the book unfolds his trip to Rome, class and development as a certified exorcist.

Not all of this was new to me, except that I too had the major misperception that the Rite of Exorcism, if done properly, cast the demon/s out immediately. Fr. Gary discovers this also, that for some it took decades. The proliferation of demon activity in Italy shocked me as well, but shouldn't as we know the proliferation of the occult is growing worldwide. So much for all spirituality being the same.

We Lutherans concur with this belief that the devil and his cohorts are real and active. Before my being certified at Seminary to be eligible for a call into the ministry, three sem professors questioned me for three solid hours on theological matters. At the end, one asked: do you believe in exorcism. I quickly answered yes. They then demanded that I provide evidence supporting this from Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, which I did. They then asked what I would do to determine that a person was potentially demon possessed, and how I would proceed. I responded with much the same criteria that is used in this book by these exorcists, and that I would contact them to find out how to proceed.

Many Christians besides Roman Catholics hold these same Biblical views about demon possession and exorcism. Interested parties will want to read two good volumes on this: J.W. Montgomery edited a great volume: Demon Possession, and Kurt E. Koch's "Occult Bondage and Deliverance."
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
How To Train An Exorcist 15 Mar 2009
By Fr. Joseph - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book gives a bird's eye view of the Roman Catholic Church in training a priest to be an exorcist. This book is excellent because the author presents the topic of exorcism from the view point of an objective investigation done by a top notch news reporter. You get to see how a priest is trained to deal with Satan and his demons using the power of prayer, blessings and rituals in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This book should be read by any one interested in demonology or thinking about entering the priesthood.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Very interesting and fairly grounded 21 Oct 2009
By Denali - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as I did not read the reviews on Amazon prior to reading it. I am not religious but it peaked my curiosity. Well I did like it. The book delves into the history of church sanctioned excorcists and their training. The reader follows one American priest's journey of training for the exorcist program in Rome. He observes all types of exorcisms - from very mild ones that require just a blessing, to very violent ones that need repeated treatment. The author also discusses the church history of angels and demons and theories from both believers and non-believers. I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the topic. I found it to be fairly grounded.
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