Perhaps one of the most famous names to come out of the Vatican, the former Jesuit priest, best-selling author and professional Exorcist was as well-known as a scholar as he was for his outspoken writings and speeches against certain teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
A writer of both novels and non-fiction and the subject of many rumours himself, sometimes the lines between fact and fiction were blurred – so just who was Malachi Martin and what role did he play in the Vatican’s battle against evil and satanic influence?
THE FORMATIVE YEARS
Malachi Martin was born into a fairly well to do family in the village of Ballylongford just outside of Listowel in County Kerry, Ireland in 1921. Despite claims in later years that Malachi was of Jewish descent, his parents were in fact English and Irish. There were four boys in total and all of them went on to join the priesthood.
The young Malachi entered the Jesuit Order at the age of eighteen after completing his senior education in Dublin. Although further travels and studies were preferred, the outbreak of the Second World War put paid to that and Malachi remained in Ireland, obtaining degrees in Semitic Languages and Oriental Studies.
Once it became safe to travel, the scholar continued his education in Europe with post graduate studies in several areas including Intertestamentary Studies and education in Hebrew and Arabic Manuscripts. By 1954 Malachi Martin was a fully ordained Jesuit priest.
Always wanting to learn more, Malachi continued to research in the Middle East, including emphasis on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Semitic Palaeography, a study of the methods and context of ancient Middle Eastern writings and scripts.
It was at this time that the young priest found himself assisting on his very first Exorcism in Egypt in the mid nineteen fifties.
SATANISM IN THE VATICAN
Father Martin long believed and had studied and witnessed evidence of the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement on a covert level with satanic worship and was not shy to publish his findings, both in non-fiction and loosely veiled fiction writing.
Of course general knowledge of the dark side of the church goes back to Pope Benedict IX from the 11th century and his notorious papacy – known to have embraced satanic worship and the black arts, this pope committed atrocities that led to his temporary banishment from Rome. It may well be that he was possessed by the very demons that our 20th Century Exorcist feared.
Despite the fact that being a Freemason is forbidden in the Roman Catholic Church, Malachi gave credence to the belief that there were at least two popes involved in the secret sect and that the Illuminati had infiltrated the Vatican. He also believed that nuns were partaking in rituals associated with dark witchcraft.
THE CALL TO ROME
The young man from a small village in Ireland had come to the attention of the Pope and the Vatican with his prolific studies, dedication and involvement in exorcisms. In 1958 he was called to Rome and took up the position of private secretary to Cardinal Bea, a biblical scholar and a mediator for Catholic-Jewish relations – a mantel Malachi would also take on.
With apartments in the Vatican, the scholarly Father Martin also took the position of Professor of Aramaic, Palaeography, Hebrew and Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.
Malachi’s vast knowledge and diplomacy brought him into contact with many other faiths as an interpreter, from relationships formed with prominent Rabbis to work behind the Iron Curtain with the Russian Orthodox Church.
By 1964 Malachi Martin was on a different path and his traditional approach caused him to be at odds with the outlines laid out by the Second Vatican council. In February of 1965 Father Malachi Martin was released from his vows of poverty and finally released from the Jesuit Order in June of the same year.
Brian Doran released an audio account of the life of Malachi Martin told through second hand accounts by those who knew the man called ‘God’s Messenger’ – according to Doran, Pope Paul VI had “given the priest a general commission for exercising an apostolate in media and communications.”
THE USA AND GUGGENHEIM
Once Malachi Martin arrived in the United States, he turned his hand to writing and applied for the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967. This was a grant awarded to the successful applicant for “demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”
Malachi was awarded the grant and this lead to the launch of his first successful book in 1969, ‘The Encounter: Religion in Crisis.’ This was Martin’s views on why Christianity, Judaism and Islam were in crisis and had failed the modern man.
Following this success, Malachi Martin was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for a second time which enabled the priest to write his most famous published work, which went to press in 1975. That book was ‘Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans.’
Malachi Martin became a U.S Citizen in 1970 and by the end of his life has published some sixty times including thinly veiled insights into the satanic rites of the Vatican with novels such as ‘Windswept House: A Vatican Novel’ and a description of the ‘Enthronement of the Fallen Angel of Lucifer.’ When asked in an interview with ‘The New American’ Martin stated these things had happened but could only be published in a novel.
In 1981 Malachi published ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church’, which was a historical volume that focused on the changes through the years and the shifts between progressive supremacy and spiritualism.
Despite having spent more than a quarter of a century as an ordained priest of the Jesuit Order, in 1987 Martin published ‘Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church.’ This was an inflammatory and extremely critical view of his former brethren and how he believed they destabilised the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church methodically and deliberately.
With so much controversy and celebrity status (Martin was a regular on radio shows and published interviews along with his books) the rumour mill surrounding both him and his own opinions was in overdrive.
Malachi Martin had publicly stated that he believed at least two popes of the 20th century, Pope Pius XI and Pope John Paul 1 were murdered.
Several mysteries surrounded Malachi himself, including whether or not he was actually ordained a bishop. He was also accused among other things of being a spy for the Israelis due to his Jewish sympathising and a story was given of him having Jewish heritage which was proved to be false.
He was a staunch advocate of the Three Secrets of Fatima. These were three secrets allegedly revealed to three cousins in Portugal over six visits between May and October of 1917. The secrets were:
- The admission of the existence and description of Hell.
- Information regarding the First and Second World Wars.
- The attempted assassination of Pope John Paul 11.
These secrets have been disputed for decades and it is believed they were never revealed in full.
Malachi Martin also discredited the religious site of Medjugorje, claiming his previous accreditation was given after being misled.
There were also rumours regarding books he may have written under pseudonyms, with at least one being proven.
In a strange twist the notorious serial killer David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam, initially claimed on arrest to have been possessed by a demon, however revealed this to be false during meetings with a court psychiatrist. Later while in prison, the convicted Son of Sam actually made approaches to Malachi Martin to assist in writing his autobiography which Martin declined.
According to Malachi Martin, he had performed thousands of what he referred to as minor exorcisms and participated in a few hundred major exorcisms in his lifetime. As well as private exorcisms, he had worked with renowned Demonologist, Dave Considine and paranormal researcher, John Zaffis.
Perhaps one of the most forthright and knowledgeable authorities on exorcism, Malachi Martin stated that a person cannot unknowingly be possessed or taken against their will, they must actively allow a possession. He believed it to be a systematic and gradual deception by the entity.
Malachi described the process of exorcism as a confrontation between the wills of the exorcist and the demon. In order to succeed, the exorcist has to be empowered by God, through the Church, and have a cleansed soul by way of confession. The process would usually involve the Exorcist and an assisting priest, with lay people used for restraining purposes when required.
Father Martin was adamant there were different levels of possession from partial or normal to total where “…a veil is drawn aside, and you realise you don’t know this person. They have a truly evil look.”
He also made it clear that the retelling in film of Exorcisms was not as dramatic but there would be temperature drops, bad odours and occasional manifestations. He revealed to Donna Anderson of the Examiner, the worst part was:
“…at a certain moment, if it’s really in the possession of a threatening spirit, a demon, everyone will know there’s something in the room that wants you dead. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that unless something happens you are going to die now. It’s like an invisible animal with claws and it want you dead.”
LATER LIFE AND DEATH
Malachi continued to be vocal in his opposition to the Jesuit teachings and aspects of the Vatican as well as insisting that Black Masses and Satanism and sacrifice were happening even within a stone’s throw from his residence in New York.
In July 1999, Martin had an alleged fall at his apartment in Manhattan which led to a cerebral haemorrhage and his death at the age of seventy eight. Even now conspiracy theorists believe his fall was not accidental and he was in fact killed by the Vatican to silence his outspoken opposition.
Indeed when questioned during an interview if he feared for his life, he stated he was however, he was too old to change.
It has been sixteen years since the death of this remarkable man and his books continue to be of major interest among scholars, conspiracy theorists and paranormal researchers to name a few.
His legacy will continue as Marty Stalker, a filmmaker from Northern Ireland has taken Martin Malachi’s most famous book, ‘Hostage to the Devil’ and made it into a film of the same title, which includes the use of archive footage. With new media attention and continuing paranormal interest, Malachi Martin will continue to be studied and remembered for decades to come.
I shall leave you with a final word from Malachi Martin:
“Anybody who is acquainted with the state of affairs in the Vatican in the last 35 years is well aware that the prince of darkness has had and still has his surrogates in the court of St. Peter in Rome.”