Msgr Calkins writing on Fr Gabriel Amorth
GABRIEL AMORTH, S.S.P., The Gospel of Mary: A Month with the Mother of God trans. Edmund C. Lane (New York: Alba House, 2000) pp. ix, 124.
Father Gabriel Amorth is particularly well known in the Italian-speaking world because of his many years as editor of the popular Marian monthly Madre di Dio published by the Society of St. Paul of which he is a member and perhaps even more because of his present position as chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome. In this latter capacity he has written three books about spiritual warfare, the first of which has been translated into English as An Exorcist Tells His Story (Ignatius Press, 1999).
These two areas of Father Amorth's expertise are obviously inter-related because of the unique role which God has given to Mary in the battle with the powers of darkness. She is the Woman of Genesis 3:15 and the Woman of the Apocalypse, the one who is locked in deadly combat with Satan according to the eternal plan of God. Father Amorth is very conscious of God's plan and Mary's place in it by his deliberate design. Whether or not he is conscious of it, in An Exorcist Tells His Story he writes about it from a Scotist perspective:
I have taken the liberty of providing this rather lengthy quote because in the book under consideration he begins with the same Scotistic approach, even though it is less explicitly developed. That is why he can say that
Clearly his starting-point is effectively the Franciscan position of the absolute primacy of Jesus and Mary.
This books humbly presents itself to us as a book of 31 meditations, one for each day of the month, but, in fact, it is far more. Its subtitle could also be "An introduction to the Mystery of the Mother of God" or "An Incentive for Devotion to Our Lady" since each brief chapter ends with a well-crafted reflection. This little book is, in effect, a primer on Our Lady which could be put in the hands of anyone with good results.
While the bulk of the chapters are based on scripture, they are also rich in references to the great tradition. There are also chapters treating the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Marian consecration and Mary as Mediatrix of all graces. Although there are no footnotes or bibliography, one can see that Father Amorth has done his homework besides the fact that he speaks from his heart.
My one point of disagreement with Father Amorth is his acceptance of the "adultery hypothesis" i.e., that Joseph suspected Mary of adultery (22, 30-31). I am much inclined on the basis of philological and other grounds to believe that Joseph hesitated to take Mary to himself out of holy fear [cf. Ignace de la Potterie, S.J., Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant trans. Bertrand Buby, S.M. (New York: Alba House, 1992) 37-65]. However, I readily admit that Amorth's position is held by the great majority of theologians and commentators today.
This is an excellent book which could have many uses. I recommend it without hesitation.
Arthur Burton Calkins
Version: 13th March 2002
Section Contents Copyright ©; Mark Alder & Named Authors 2000