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Features » International

Pope Francis and the devil

The pope's frequent references are prompting a re-appraisal

Pope Francis and the devil

Picture: AFP

Andrea Tornielli for Vatican Insider/La Stampa International

August 21, 2013

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Pope Francis has already mentioned the devil on a number of occasions. Civiltà Cattolica criticises those in the Church who see the devil as nothing more than “a banal and simple metaphor.”

“When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil”, these were the words of Pope Francis in the homily of his first Mass as Pope, celebrated in the Sistine Chapel on the day after being elected. This new Bishop of Rome, who had come “from the ends of the earth”, mentioned the devil a number of times during his sermon. On 24 March in St. Peter’s Square, while celebrating World Youth Day, he recalled the fact that a Christian’s joy comes not from owning many possessions but from encountering Jesus, “from knowing that with him we are never alone, even when we come across problems and obstacles in life that seem insurmountable – and there are so many of them! That is when the enemy comes, when the devil comes”.

Furthermore, on 4 May, during the morning Mass at Santa Marta, Francis reflected upon the persecution of the Christians, speaking of the “hate of the prince of the world for those who have been saved and redeemed by Jesus”.

These hints that were repeatedly dropped were already picked up on by the press, and have prompted reflections from Fr. Giandomenico Mucci in Civiltà Cattolica. He wrote, “for several decades, Catholic preaching has forgotten about the devil, who is fully present in the very documents of Vatican II. Some theologians have welcomed the opinion whereby Satan is a fruit of human fantasy, a figure dreamt up in pagan areas, only to later penetrate into Jewish thought”. This would explain the stir which was created among believers and non-believers alike when the Pope preached about the devil”.

Forgetting the devil is a phenomenon which has been particularly characteristic of the last fifty years. 

Full Story: To what extent does the Pope acknowledge the devil? 

Source: Vatican Insider/la Stampa

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