It is Father Thomas's task to determine how best to conduct exorcisms in America. Although each priest must follow the ritual as prescribed by the Church, there is a certain degree of latitude. The reader is intrigued as Father Thomas carefully combines his Italian practical experience and American cultural differences in discerning demonic possession.
Baglio's work examines pop-culture misconceptions—about exorcism, demons, the church and more—by countering them with probing questions to psychologists, doctors, and other specialists; he is an unobtrusive inquisitor, and the focus remains well-centered on Father Thomas, and the spiritual growth that the priest has experienced in his journey. Baglio does admit, however, that his own spiritual life has been fed through his research and his subject.
Undoubtedly, when the film is released, it will be sensational, but reading The Rite may deliver more authentic chills; without the CGI there is still imagination, and with a book there is something more: readers get to "watch over Father Thomas's shoulder" as it were, and to make the same spiritual journey, asking the same questions he asked, making the same discoveries, and finding the same light in all that darkness. For authenticity and spiritual nourishment, the book is well worth reading.