Like science, religion is merely a tool that promotes the virtues and righteousness required for co-dependence to bring about the unification and improvement of humankind.
As a contemporary retelling of traditional exorcism tales, “The Pope’s Exorcism” was initially intended to preach that the institution is plagued by the human capacity for evil, regardless of its affiliation with logic or faith.
However, the clichéd “Devil made me do it” trope ate up any sort of possibility of having a meaningful conversation in that direction in the third act of the film.
Russell Crowe has his first career horror role in “The Pope’s Exorcist,” which is based on Father Gabriele Amorth’s autobiographical novels “An Exorcist Tells His Story” and “An Exorcist: Further Tales,” who was a well-known Catholic priest and chief exorcist employed by the Diocese of Rome.
Furthermore, Crowe kills it as the hulking, witty, and occasionally melancholy Father Amorth, effortlessly elevating the film to its full potential as a horror movie.
The movie turned out to be significantly better than half of the snoozefest horror flicks currently available, mainstream or otherwise, even though it will look less appealing to the audience than the lead’s adherence to entice the demons.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’?
Father Amorth’s aphorism that the Devil is happiest when we mockery rejects his existence is used as the film’s opening line before it begins to tell its story.
The sleepy Italian village of Tropea, waiting for Father Amorth to execute an exorcism, is covered in darkness in 1986. Amorth arrives on his beloved Vespa and immediately starts asking questions about the ill young guy, noting that medical experts were consulted prior.
After encouraging the family to maintain their faith and informing them that medical aid has not produced any results, Amorth gets to work. Amorth successfully performs the exorcism to save the man after a brief verbal spat with the alleged possessor.
While he works directly for the Roman Diocese, Father Amorth is later called to the Vatican. Amorth is greeted by his friend Bishop Lumumba, who assures him of his support before meeting with the Rome Curia, the highest governing body of Catholicism.
The panel is headed by a youthful Cardinal Sullivan, who questions the necessity of such antiquated practices that cast doubt on religion’s place in an era of scientific and technical progress.
Father Amorth notes that an overwhelming majority of the exorcism cases he handles are cases of personality disorder, psychosis, or similar mental illnesses that require treatment rather than supernatural intervention.
His most recent task in Italy—which the commission claims are being investigated because it was carried out without higher authority approval—was not an exorcism.
He experimented with rudimentary psychology, theatrics, and the power of suggestion to calm his mind, much like most of the sick he encountered. The remainder of the possessions he came across, he adds, was demonic; they were outward signs of wickedness.
Amorth recounts a specific example involving a girl as he tries to figure out why he was called, which immediately enrages Cardinal Sullivan, who tries to correct Father Amorth. Amorth ends the conversation by reminding him that the Pope, who selected him as the chief exorcist, is the only one to whom he must answer.
In the meantime, recently divorced Julia relocates to the Castilian abbey of San Sebastian with her teenage daughter Amy and her infant baby Henry. The abbey is the only legacy Julia’s husband left his family.
Therefore, she wants to restore and sell this old monastery to stabilize her family financially. The family meets with Father Esquibel, the parish priest, who assures them that he will offer their help.
Henry explores the large abbey alone and finds a hole in the wall where a damaged seal can be seen. Later, when the hole had been enlarged, construction workers accidentally started a fire right before it.
A gas pocket discovered inside the hole triggers an explosion, leaving one of the employees with severe burn damage. The construction team immediately stops working and departs.
Amy contacts her mother in a panic almost at the same moment she discovers Henry has started to shake and have spasms. Additionally, Henry starts acting strangely and erratically.
Henry is brought to the hospital by a concerned Julia for a diagnosis, but neither Henry’s physical nor mental circumstances are considered abnormal. According to doctors, Julia should give Henry sedatives and medical help for his psychosis.
After returning home, Henry’s episodes progressively worsen as he begins speaking and acting in an offensive manner. Julia calls Father Esquibel when Henry, who appears possessed, begs that “the priest” be present.
Father Esquibel attempts to soothe the youngster but is tossed out of the room. Things progressively worsen as Henry alleges that they have baptized the wrong priest. Esquibel contacts the higher Catholic authorities after failing to reverse the situation himself.
Amorth visits the Pope, who requests that he travel to the San Sebastian Abbey since he believes an exorcism is now necessary.
Pope notes that the location has previously bothered the religious order and that he senses an unsettling presence there, which may present Amorth with his most significant challenge yet.
Amorth researches the family’s medical history and visits the Vatican library to catch up on the abbey’s history but discovers that everything has been previously deleted and that just one sentence is cited as some type of warning that the sins will haunt our people.
Investigating The Evil
Father Amorth arrives at the remote abbey of San Sebastian dressed in his trademark all-black garb and is apprised of the situation by Father Esquibel and Julia.
After initially meeting the bedridden Henry, Amorth quickly understands that the possession is accurate and that Henry is among the extremely small percentage of his cases plagued with evil.
A deranged Henry addresses Amorth by name and references events from Amorth’s past that support Amorth’s judgment. Amorth was the only survivor in his unit during the Second World War while serving in the army, which has plagued him his entire life.
Amorth is shaken when this specific and private occurrence is brought up, so he exits the room to continue his conversation with the mother.
Amorth asks Julia if there have been any noteworthy events in the past because he is curious about the selection of Henry as the host (apart from the corrupting of the innocence element alluded to by the demonic presence).
According to Julia, Henry observed his father being fatally impaled during a vehicle accident, which left the young child so horrified that he had not spoken since, at least not until the possession issue.
Amorth says that mental weakness brought on by emotional anguish opens the door to evil. He urges Julia to maintain her faith and hope and thinks they must turn to prayer to save Henry.
Father Esquibel joins Amorth as he gets ready to meet the evil spirit once more, but when the spirit makes fun of the young priest for maybe having a past relationship with her, the young priest snaps and attacks Henry.
Amorth leads Esquibel outside, where he confesses to having once been in love with someone else. But, their relationship ended because Esquibel decided to follow his beliefs rather than the woman.
Esquibel tells Amorth about his crimes and the two return to Henry. Henry then makes fun of Amorth by bringing up another one of his old antics, which horrifies the priest.
Amorth tries desperately to drive the demon’s name out of the demonic presence but to no avail. The name of the devil would give them control over him.
A Heinous Secret
Amorth had seen a sealed dry well outside before entering the abbey, and he now chooses to investigate it carefully. Amorth preys it open after spotting a Papal seal on top of it to reveal a well filled with countless skulls.
Amorth explains the disease to Esquibel and concludes that it results from the Spanish Inquisition. This horrible historical event is remembered for the genocide and religious division it authorized in the middle ages.
When the two continue their investigation, they break through the previously mentioned hole and find a catacomb where numerous pieces of evidence indicate that the demonic presence had managed to escape the containment that had been set up in the medieval era when several Vatican agents and a Cardinal Protector gave their lives and were interred themselves to prevent the entity from venturing to the outside world.
The two eventually reach where Friar Alonso de Ojeda’s remains are located. He was the greatest exorcist in history and advised Queen Isabella of Spain to commit crimes under the Inquisition’s banner.
They learn that the friar became possessed in 1475 while looking into the possession of a monk in the abbey from the notes of the friar found in the notebook left with his corpse.
Amorth concludes from the evidence that the demonic presence has been operating inside the Vatican since its infiltration by using the friar to carry out its orders.
She even oversaw the Spanish Inquisition, one of the worst examples of religious abuse committed against humanity. The monk returned to the abbey and committed suicide there, trying to distract himself from the outside world.
This was an attempt to atone for his wrongdoing. Esquibel understands the demon’s intent in requesting Amorth’s presence: to seize the exorcist’s soul and wreak devastation on humanity once more.
While the Pope conducts his independent investigation, he discovers a sealed letter in the directory and deduces that Amorth has been duped into entering the demon’s den.
Before he can warn them, he passes out and is taken to the hospital. In the Vatican, Cardinal Sullivan nearly loses his mind when he sees a bleeding figure of Christ.
Asmodeus, the King of Hell, one of the Fallen Angels, and a close ally of the Devil himself are revealed to be the name of the demon from the friar’s diaries by Amorth and Esquibel, who then halts the demonic presence inside Henry from torturing Julia and Amy and killing them.
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‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ Ending: How Did Father Gabriel Save Henry?
Father Amorth confesses to Father Esquibel his past sin, the time he rejected Rosaria’s help because he believed she didn’t need divine help but instead medical help and instead entrusted her to other specialists before reportedly making their last battle against the demon Asmodeus.
Other members of the religious order sexually abused Rosaria, but Amorth was unaware of this, and in the end, a distraught Rosaria committed suicide in front of him. Father Amorth has been remorseful since he feels responsible for the woman’s soul.
Amorth gives Esquibel some Latin incantations to repeat if things go wrong because he knows the dangers of this specific exorcism. After all, the demon wants to possess him.
Asmodeus gets control over May and the witch throughout the arduous, turbulent exorcism process, who nearly kills Julia; Henry becomes increasingly deformed and is on the edge of passing away.
Since he has no choice, Amorth offers the demon his soul in exchange for the families’ survival and tells Esquibel to take them outside securely.
Amorth, under the demon’s influence, struggles with himself to keep it from taking complete control and makes unsuccessful attempts to commit suicide.
Amorth attempts to ignite the gaseous lair inside Ojeda’s corpse to burn himself to death, but the demon almost entirely takes over the priest’s consciousness.
An apparition of Mother Mary appears to Amorth, but he soon realizes she is corrupt, mirroring his mental state. Esquibel visits the lair after returning to the abbey and discovers Amorth almost wholly possessed.
Esquibel verbally encourages Amorth to escape the demon’s grasp and recite the incantations he had previously provided. The two are confronted by the appearance of the ghosts from their past as Asmodeus gets ready to take them both.
In the cases of Amorth and Esquibel, Rosaria and a bleeding Adella can confront and defeat those manifestations, effectively ending the demon’s attempt to exert cognitive control.
Amorth and Esquibel execute the last rites of the exorcism, defeating the monster Asmodeus and banishing it back to Hell. We learned afterward that Henry could recuperate fully when Julia and her family returned to their home in the United States.
What New Mission Has Father Gabriele Been Given?
Father Esquibel joins Father Amorth as he returns to the Vatican, and the Pope thanks them both on behalf of the religious order. Cardinal Sullivan has taken an indefinite leave of absence after seeing the horrible images of a bleeding Christ.
Bishop Lumumba, a friend of Gabriele’s, has been named as the new leader of the Roman Curia in his place. Bishop Lumumba takes the two to the Vatican library, who informs them that the San Sebastian Abbey was one of the places where the fallen angels, including Asmodeus, were exiled.
According to Friar Ojeda’s medieval chart, they have found the 199 places on Earth where these comrades of Satan have fallen, and they must get ready for the rise of more of them, he says.
Even a lifetime’s worth of effort, according to Amorth, might not contain such a number, but with Esquibel’s help, he is now more than prepared to take on the tasks, which raises the possibility of a franchise sequel in the future.
Father Gabriele Amorth claimed to have performed more than 100,000 exorcisms as a prominent exorcist before he passed away in 2016.
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