Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hitler and Stalin: Only Seconds in Command

According to this piece in the Daily Mail, Fr Gabriele Amorth, the Roman exorcist, contends that both Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the devil. Not terribly hard to believe.

And it reminds me of a story I heard in school years ago. I was educated by the Salesians and one of our priests told this story he heard from one of the "participants" when he was in seminary. (Yes, it means this is a third, possibly fourth hand story, depending upon how you count. The hearsay objection would be sustained if this weren't my own blog.)

In the 1930's some German priests had already been arrested for their anti-Nazi activities. These two Salesian priests had been arrested and were in prison. (Not a concentration camp but as I recall a general common or garden variety sort of prison.) At one point the inmates were bused in to some sort of Nazi rally to swell the numbers. They were well out of the way and guarded but it looked good when photographed from a distance. Hitler was to speak at the rally. The two priests had talked of Hitler and had similar opinions about him. When he appeared they planned quietly to recite prayers of exorcism over him from wherever they happened to be. They did so. He was not very far into his speech and the priests not too far into the exorcism prayers, when Hitler stopped in mid sentence and fell to the floor as if he'd been sandbagged.

At which point the rally was over and the priests and other prisoners were shipped back to the prison and the rally was never mentioned again.

You can believe that or not as you please. I'm not altogether sure I do. But in any event that's how it was told to me. So Fr Amorth may not be alone in his view of who was behind at least one of the "great" men of the 20th century.