|Detail of Inferno, from Michelangelo's|
The Last Judgement, Sistine Chapel
In answering the above question, we revisit an interview by the Italian blog Stanze Vaticane, with the Vatican's Chief Exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, in which he discussed his soon to be beatified mentor, Father Candido Amantini C.P., a Master Exorcist. Fr. Amantini was Rome's chief exorcist for thirty-six years — often seeing 60 to 80 people per day. As such, Fr. Amantini witnessed demonic possession and interacted with the devil thousands of times. His protégé and successor, Fr. Amorth, recounts one exorcism where Fr. Amantini asked the devil, “How is it possible that God created Hell?” Fr. Amorth has himself asked this question of demons and their answer is always same. The following is excerpted from the interview (most relevant text in red):
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Obviously you witnessed Fr. (Candido) Amantini’s exorcisms…
Of course! I assisted at them for six years. I was appointed exorcist in 1986 and I began to perform exorcisms with him beginning that year. Then in 1990, two years before he died, I began performing exorcisms alone because he wasn’t practicing anymore. When someone went to him he responded: “Go see Fr. Amorth”. That is why I am considered to be his successor…
|Fr. Candido Amantini|
Was Fr. Candido ironic even with the devil?
I want to tell you about one very important episode to help you understand a truth. You need to know that when there’s a case of diabolical possession, there is a dialogue between the exorcist and the devil. Satan is a great liar, but sometimes the Lord obliges him to tell the truth. Once Fr. Candido was liberating a person after many exorcisms and with his typical irony he told the devil: “Go away for the Lord has created a nice warm home for you, he has prepared a little house for you where you won’t suffer from the cold”. However, the devil interrupted him and replied: “You don’t know anything”.
What did he mean?
When the devil interrupts with a saying like this, it means that God has obliged him to tell the truth. And this time it was extremely important. The faithful often ask me: “But how is it possible that God created Hell, why did he think of a place of suffering?” And so at that time the devil responded to the provocations of Fr. Candido by revealing an important truth about Hell: “It was not God, who created Hell! It was us. He hadn’t even thought of it!” Therefore in the plan of God’s creation the existence of Hell had not been contemplated. The demons created it! During exorcisms, I have also often asked the devil: “Did you create Hell?”. And his response has always been the same: “We all cooperated.”...
The interview cited was conducted in June of this year. It appears Stanze Vaticane no longer archives this article. You may read more of Fr. Amorth's remarks here.