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Interview With an Exorcist
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146 of 147 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2006
The subject of exorcism is a difficult one, in my opinion, because there are relatively few reliable, accurate, and non-sensationalistic sources of information available. (I make this observation from having worked in Church ministry for the past 28 years. One of my own areas of personal study happens to be the paranormal.) Yet it is an important topic because demons are real and they do possess people. If you are a self-professed Christian, you are obligated to take this issue seriously because the pages of New Testament are quite clear about the reality of demonic spirits and the havoc they can wreak on humans.

The strength and appeal of Fr. Fortea's book lie in the fact that it is a credible source of information, and its Question & Answer format makes it very readable. There are 110 questions in total, and they cover a broad range of material (e.g., types of demons, typical symptoms of possession, the nature and knowledge of demons, the various ways demons can affect humans, what happens in an exorcism, possession vs. psychosis, etc.). The answers are typically just a few paragraphs long, and they are written to the level of someone who presumably has no prior knowledge about the subject matter. The combination of these factors means that you can easily reference specific topics without having to read through entire chapters, and while there is a certain progression of thought in the sequence of questions, you still can jump back and forth between them without any significant loss of continuity.

The book *is* compelling, and I found it difficult to put down once I started to read it. I submit that you are likely to finish it quickly and find yourself wanting more. And this, perhaps, is the only frustration (criticism is not really the right word) I had with the book: it is more of a general overview on exorcism and related topics rather than a detailed treatment of specific cases and examples. I say frustration only because the book was just too fascinating to read and I reached the end too soon!

Fr. Fortea's book will give the reader a good working knowledge of the subject matter, but depending on the extent of the knowledge you seek, you may find yourself still intellectually hungry when you're done with it. Please understand that I do not consider this to be a flaw in the book. It does cover many areas, but they are generally not treated *at length.* For those who do want a more detailed treatment of exorcism and specific case studies, I would highly recommend Fr. Gabriele Amorth's books, _An Exorcist Tells His Story_ and its sequel, _An Exorcist: More Stories_. I have read them both, and they are excellent.

Considering the range of material covered, the cost of the book, and the credibility of its author, you simply cannot go wrong making this purchase.
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72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2007
Fr. Fortea wrote this book in a question and answer style and it's very effective. If you're looking for lurid stuff or thrills and chills you can look elsewhere. This is a serious book about going to spiritual war every day. The book is well written, has dashes of humor and has a comforting warmth. Overall the message is that most of us have nothing to worry about and that help is available for those who have foolishly or with evil intent wandered over to the dark side. I'm glad I bought the book. It should be included in the reading lists of every RCIA class.
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2006
This book is an easy read as its in a Q and A format. Many answers provide us with a better understanding of how the enemy of souls work. It tells us many tools of the the spiritual craft and how we can put on the armour of God for our battle against the adversary. Father gives us many "extras" as he draws from his own professional experience. Very intersting and written well. If you like Fr. Gabriel Amorths books, you will definitely enjoy this. Have a God filled day.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
With over twenty years experience in the deliverance ministry, performing thousands of exorcisms in Spain and throughout Europe, Fr. José Antonio Fortea of Spain shares his insights and experience in dealing with the demonic, in the form of questions and answers.

For those interested in learning more about the nature of evil spirits, this is a delightful little book that is a quick and easy read due to its question-and-answer nature. Fr. Fortea presents a series of 110 questions, to which he provides answers based on his experience, Catholic Catechism, Church teaching, and the Bible.

The reader looking for graphic stories will be disappointed, as this book is short on anecdotes and stays clear of any sensationalism. Even though the book is rich with information about the demonic, Fr. Fortea shares very few stories from his own experience in dealing with the demonic. Rather than being a story book or some kind of autobiography, this is clearly meant to be a primer on Church teaching regarding evil spirits, possession and exorcism.
[...]
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2007
I picked this book up at my local Catholic bookstore after hearing Fr. Vincent Serpa recommend it on Catholic Answers Live. It's a wonderfully informative book, though it didn't teach me much that I didn't already know - and I'm no expert in demonology. I wish the book had gone a little more in detail in the area of oppression. All in all, I think it's an excellent tool for laity to educate and inform themselves about spiritual warfare.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2008
I purchased this book recently more out of an interest to see what the author was going to tell us. I hoped it would not be like several TV programmes that treat the area of spirits and such like as a must view TV Soap.
I was delighted that the book was anything but sensational. In fact it is very down to earth and the author tells us, in a clear manner, what Roman Catholic beliefs actually are. He takes the mystery out of exorcisms and puts matters clearly in context.
The writer has a very fluid style of writing. It is like having a conversation with someone. I had finished reading the complete book in less than two hours and was delighted with the experience. I have passed the book to some friends who have been impressed with it.
I can highly recommend this book to anyone with a genuine interest in the interaction of spirits with humankind. It is not a book to frighten you but to put your mind at rest. For those that do not believe in Jesus Christ it would be an interesting, genuine insight, into the real world of Roman Catholicism.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2011
The fact that this work contains a foreward by Bishop Sam Aquila is extremely high praise! Bishop Aquila warns that "Although all Catholics should have a basic understanding of the reality of evil, we should also avoid being overly preoccupied with the topic of the devil. The Evil One is capable of using such a fascination as a means to ensnare us - with despair, fear, or discouragement" (p. 3). Only God is All Powerful and absolutely victorious over the devil!!! In surrendering to God, who loves each of us without limit, we find absolute fulfillment and happiness. God is forever calling us back to him, with all our hearts. And as Father Fortea remind us, "confession is a divine gift much greater than exorcism....Frequent confession strengthens us in sanctifying grace and is a powerful force in helping us resist temptation" (CCC 1458).

I acknowledge that I have read Hostage to the Devil (or at least parts of it), Exorcism and the Church Militant, and Demonic Abortion. I have also read Exorcist: The Beginning,The Exorcist,Legion, and The Rite - as well as seen the respective movies (I have also seen the Exorcism of Emily Rose.)! In addition to Interview With an Exorcist, two of these works are head and shoulders above the others (The works of William Peter Blatty and their prequel are excellent for leveling furniture or propping open doors.). While they have limitations (and their author's acknowledgement of a minsterial abuse seems to have led to them being out of print), Exorcism and the Church Militant and Demonic Abortion - to their credit - will be unsatisfying to anyone looking for spinning heads or vomited pea soup.

In Interview With an Exorcist, Father Fortea reminds us that "the devil is the 'father of lies,' and he seeks to make evil appear good and good appear evil. At the heart of much evil is the rejection of human dignity; the demons want us to forget that we have been created in the image and likeness of God" (p. 38). Demonic Abortion offers a deeply disturbing and profound challenge: "it is only the united Christian church, expressed most completely in the authority of the Catholic Church, that has the spiritual resources to end the culture of death; a work which it could accomplish overnight if it were to fully 'consecrate itself' to the mission of driving out the demon of child sacrifice from our land. It is painfully evident to any objective observer that the Church has not yet fully taken up this mission. In fact, the lack of unity of Catholics in this country is largely responsible for the prolongation and intensification of the culture of death since the 70s....The Church at all levels, from the bishops to the people, has clearly failed to understand the demonic nature of the industry that practices its evil right down the street from many Catholic churches. It has also failed to marshall the spiritual resources at its disposal to stop it....The Medieval poet Dante Alleghieri (1265-1321), is supposed to have said that 'the hottest places of hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality" (pp. 4, 5).

I particularly appreciated Father Fortea's recognition of the spiritual powerhouses seen in so many parishes: "there are mothers and grandmothers who pray to God everyday for the spiritual protection of their children and grandchildren. As the mission of the Mother of God is to pray for the whole Church, these faithfull women do so for their families" (p. 68). There is an implicit wake-up call here. As per Brian Caulfield, there is "an astounding number of children growing up without their fathers or without their fathers having a significant role in their lives....the results are devastating to society....The problem of lay male participation has grown almost without comment, as studies indicate that markedly more women than men attend Sunday Mass....to address the health of marriage and the family, we need to pay special attention to men....we need a Catholic men's movement to focus on a few key issues that affect men especially, and recognize that renewal will not come within the Church without the full participation of laymen....Nothing less than the health of the Church, families and children depends on how seriously we pursue this mission for men" National Catholic Register, 5/27/11). As per Exorcism and the Church Militant, "Family life, despite all its problems, is the antidote to the devil's depradations and hopelessness....the failure of family life in any society creates a dangerous void and opening for demonic activity" (pp.54, 55).

Again, there are definite limitations to this book and the others. Readers would be best served by familiarizing themselves with the Catechism and/or the Compendium of the Catechism.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2009
I was a little hesitant to order this book at first, because I prefer to read about God in our lives, not the devil. However, after reading the description and some of the reviews, I gave it a shot. Boy am I glad I did! Although the title of the book makes it seem extreme or a type of cult book or something, in reality nothing could be further from the truth. This book deals with sin, and the methods that evil spirits use to entice us to commit them. While the book does go into reasons for demonic possessions, etc., what I got out of this book fostered a broader knowledge of sin and how much God loves us and is willing to help us avoid them. It is my opinion that the writings in this book are "dead on" with what we've learned through the experiences in the lives of many saints. The means and manner in which we are tempted and how the soul is affected by sin are ratified in Catholic teachings and personal experiences of the saints. This book is very enlightening and causes one to pause and reflect on the world we live in and how God and the devil are very active in our lives even as we go about our daily activities. As others have stated, there are no theatrics here, just interractions based on the personal experiences of Father Fortea. Personally, I think every Catholic (or Christian for that matter) should read this book. Although it's light reading, it's extremely intriguing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2008
A very informative and very well written insight into the world of Satan and the forces that combat that evil. It is written in a helpful Q & A form. I enjoyed it thoroughly and will refer back to it as needed. A+
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Most of the information in this work will be "old hat" to Catholics with more than a passing theological understanding of the faith. Yet, this little book is very informative and receives high marks for readability. In fact, it is an excellent beginner's guide to the subject of exorcism. Since the author has a "gift" for taking a complex subject and rendering it into simple terms, his question and answer technique seems especially well-suited to the subject matter. Even without the drama and excitement of Fr. Malachi Martin's HOSTAGE TO THE DEVIL, this book is anything but a snooze. For someone who is just now becoming interested in the subject of exorcism, I would recommend starting here.
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