Diary of an American Exorcist, a Review

Books, movies, and websites discuss what exorcism is — the lifting of a demonic possession that afflicts a person. And while some claim that possession is really just a mental illness, many professionals, especially Catholic priests, disagree. That explains why in the Catholic church ordained priests are trained to expel the Satanic evil from the afflicted and perform exorcisms in the name of Jesus Christ. Sections of the Bible do refer to exorcisms and tell about the frequent times Jesus cast out evil spirits, showing (Luke 10:17) Christ’s power over demons.  

For those who are puzzled by or know little about exorcism and its removal of evil from a person’s soul, Msgr. Stephen G. Rossetti has produced an excellent and a bit unnerving category of his years as an exorcist. Titled Diary of an American Exorcist: Demons, Possession, and the Modern-Day Battle against Ancient Evil (2021, Sophia Institute Press), the book is separated into distinctly yet connected chapters, with one describing one of Msgr. Rossetti’s exorcism sessions and the adjoining chapter entitled Theological Reflection. 

In the book’s introduction, Msgr. Rossetti explained how and why he became an exorcist. “The answer is quite simple,” he wrote. “The Blessed Virgin picked me.” A frightening event happened one night when he was a seminarian and he felt attacked by demons. So he grabbed for his rosary beads, and as soon as he touched them, the evil attack stopped. Twenty-five years later, he was appointed a diocesan exorcist and he describes how he and his team of fellow exorcists work regularly handling numerous cases. And he noted that he always keeps his rosary with him, even when he sleeps at night.

In each of the 95 chapters dedicated to describing separate exorcisms, many of the descriptions can be frightening and very sad. Especially tragic was Msgr. Rossetti’s patient named “Jason” who had asked Satan to help him in his business venture plus his being involved in other sinful behaviors. The patient woke up one morning with an upside-down cross burnt onto his shoulder. At the first session with Msgr. Rossetti, “Jason” finally exclaimed three times “I belong to Jesus. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.” But sadly, devils were entrenched in “Jason’s” soul, and after a third visit, Msgr. Rossetti concluded all he could do was to pray that “Jason” and his family would not let the demons push him and his family over the edge.

Perhaps the most compelling and important texts are Msgr. Rosetti’s listings of how people, especially in the demonically overwhelmed United States, must avoid demonic possession: stop getting involved in occult and witchcraft practices; avoid pornography; ban abortions; avoid the sense of hopelessness; never contemplate suicide; and stop drug and sexual addictions. As he noted, “Sin gives evil increasing access to our lives.”

What should people do then? “Love God and love the people—completely. Judge no one—left or right, liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, black or white. Pray constantly. Invoke the Blessed Virgin…God will not abandon the United States. I believe it has a special role to play in the divine plan salvation,” adding that the country needs our prayers. 

Indeed, in this secular day and age, Americans, all people, must return to church and worship God. As he noted in the introduction, “In the meantime, we trust in God, hold fast to the salvation of Jesus, and invoke the protection of the Blessed Virgin, the saints, and the angels.”


Diary of an American Exorcist: Demons, Possession, and the Modern-Day Battle against Ancient Evil  is available from Sophia Institute Press.

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A convert to Catholicism, Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, restaurant critic, and cookbook author, who is passionate about every aspect of the food world — from interviewing chefs to supporting local farmers and to making the connection between food and faith. Her latest work is Cooking with the Saints.

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