Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THE DEVIL AND THE POPE


How many of you hear in your parishes homilies or even minor references to the devil? How many times has Pope Francis preached on the devil? He did so again yesterday at the Mass celebrating the Feast of the Angels. I can remember even in the 1990's that there were priests who questioned not only the existence of the devil but also of angels. I was taught in the 1970's seminary they both angels and demons where symbolic or metaphorical.

The Pope seems to disagree with that silly heresy. One would hope that the Holy Father would reinstitute the exorcisms of the pre-Vatican II baptismal rituals and of the Rite of Exorcism also.

Here is what he said as reported by the Vatican Insider:

“Satan is the enemy of mankind. He is astute: the first page of Genesis tells us so, he is astute.  He presents things as if they were a good thing. But his intention is destruction. And the angels defend us. They defend mankind and they defend the God-Man, the superior Man, Jesus Christ who is the perfection of humanity, the most perfect.” This was Francis’ message in the homily pronounced at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House on the Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. “The angels defend us,” he explained. “The Church honours the Angels, because they are the ones who will be in the glory of God – they are in the glory of God - because they defend the great hidden mystery of God, namely, that the Word was made flesh,” Vatican Radio quotes the Pope saying. "The task of the people of God - the Pope said - is to safeguard man: the man Jesus” because "He is the man who gives life to all men". Instead, in his plans for destruction, Satan has invented "humanistic explanations that go against man, against humanity and against God.” "This struggle is a daily reality in Christian life, in our hearts, in our lives, in our families, in our people, in our churches ... If we do not struggle, we will be defeated.”
 
The Pope based today’s teaching on readings which illustrate the vision of the glory of God described by the prophet Daniel with the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, before the Father; the archangel Michael and his angels fighting against "the great dragon, the ancient serpent, he who is called the devil" and "seduces all of inhabited earth," but who is defeated, as affirmed by the Book of Revelation; and the Gospel in which Jesus says to Nathanael: "You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”
 
Pope Francis focused on "the struggle between God and the devil.” "This struggle takes place after Satan seeks to destroy the woman about to give birth to a child. Satan always tries to destroy man: the man that Daniel saw there, in glory, and whom Jesus told Nathanael would come in glory. From the very beginning, the Bible speaks to us of this: Satan’s [use of ] seduction to destroy. Maybe out of envy. We read in Psalm 8: 'Thou hast made ​​man superior to the angels,' and that angel of great intelligence could not bear this humiliation, that a lower creature was made superior to him; thus he tried to destroy it.”
 
Satan, therefore, seeks to destroy humanity, all of us: "So many projects, except for one's own sins, but many, many projects for mankind’s dehumanization are his work, simply because he hates mankind. He is astute: the first page of Genesis tells us so, he is astute.  He presents things as if they were a good thing.  But his intention is destruction. And the angels defend us. They defend mankind and they defend the God-Man, the superior Man, Jesus Christ who is the perfection of humanity, the most perfect. This is why the Church honors the Angels, because they are the ones who will be in the glory of God – they are in the glory of God - because they defend the great hidden mystery of God, namely, that the Word was made flesh.”
 
The Pope then stressed that “the task of the people of God is to safeguard man: the man Jesus” because "He is the man who gives life to all men". Instead, in his plans for destruction, Satan has invented "humanistic explanations that go against man, against humanity and against God.” 
 
"This struggle is a daily reality in Christian life, in our hearts, in our lives, in our families, in our people, in our churches ... If we do not struggle, we will be defeated. But the Lord has given this task mainly to the angels: to do battle and win. And the final song of Revelation, after this battle, is so beautiful: Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night.”

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe Francis needs to stop obsessing about things like the Devil. It turns people off and isn't pastoral.

JusadBellum said...

And the old rite repeatedly stressed the reality of the Devil, the reality of the gravity of sin, the reality of the incredible gift of God's mercy if we but acknowledge our sin and ask for pardon...

I've heard those stories about theologians pooh poohing the existence of angels and demons too and it always strikes me as extremely odd that no one would have challenged those "theologians' to an open debate and absolutely cleaned their clocks from all the scriptural, patristic, Councilliar, and pious writings of the saints, doctors, and mystics...as well as the phenomenological experience of exorcisms. We have more evidence of the existence of angels and demons than we have of the smarts of theologians who question their existence. You have to be pretty dense to read all of the above and conclude "metaphor".

JusadBellum said...

Have any of you experienced the more aggressive moves of demons in your lives or those of loved ones?

Possession of course is incredibly rare, but I've been told that oppression and obsessions are much more common. Molestations( being bothered") and attacks (panic attacks, sudden anxiety attacks, etc.) are more common still.

I knew a monk who was constantly being manhandled, tripped, beat up by "something". He had a great simple faith, a profoundly fruitful ministry among laity but was seemingly a lightning rod for demonic activity.

Years later I discovered his particular monastery was also a hot bed of egregiously evil sex abuse of minors by his confreres. Back in the day he never talked about fellow monks in a negative light other than to warn us kids to beware of laxity and loss of a supernatural vision of reality.

He was usually good natured and cheerful even when talking about the invisible agency of demons because he also spoke tenderly of his Guardian angel and Mary whose work he felt all around himself like a protective shield.

That testimony helped me realize at a young age that this world is more than what meets the eye: people are complex as is the world itself. First appearances often lie. Not everyone we peg as a heretic is one...and not everyone we peg as a stalwart saint is one.

This monk encouraged us to always look to a person's devotion to the angels, saints and especially Our Lady. But even then the mystery of evil can work despite apparent outward piety as I came to experience the hard way.

In the end, we are only as good as we are today. Thus the ancient practice of regular examinations of conscience, regular acts of contrition, the habit of forgiving others from the heart.... the frequent invoking of the angels, saints, and Our Lady's protection on our journey to serve Jesus is vital.

We tend to live in a material world and so miss the 'cloud of witnesses' who are just outside of our field of vision... we tend to dull reality and so miss both the gloriousness that is a Baptized soul or the horror of sin.

This is why when Pope Francis talks about being a sinner and warns us of the devil, and then speaks of mercy, I can't help but think that not only is he NOT what the modernists claim he is, neither is he what the reactionary conservatives fear he is (to the degree they take the modernist media as infallible).

Great drama is unfolding like a boiling, molten soup of mosaics, people switching sides at all times in the great dual cities of God and Man comingled...

Many are calling Francis "liberal" and in agony over this or that symbolic gesture or election of some public sinner while others are fired or axed... but note that both 'sides' are only looking at public information. Who knows what is really going on behind the scenes? Are people being honored or brought close for healing? Are people being axed or sent to some safer place?

E=MC2 and Quantum theory proves that the visible world is less real than the spiritual one. The existence of angelic and demonic beings proves that we live in an immeasurably more dramatic and romantic universe than the secular materialist pop culture even suspects.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Many charismatics practice Protestant fundamentalism's "deliverance" where a lay person commands a demon or demons to come out of a person. These practitioners speak directly to the demons and sometimes name them

I find this very dangerous and can be very manipulative especially of the psychologically compromised.

What do you all think about lay people practicing "deliverance" in Catholicism? I think those who desire it feel the weakness of the Church today in terms of its prayers for exorcisms and lack of reminders of the demonic in the liturgy.

JusadBellum said...

Fr. Gabriel Amorth, exorcist of Rome writes that lay people can say prayers of deliverance but agrees that no one but a priest ought to attempt exorcism.

He also writes that there's a sliding scale between hexes and full blown possession - it's hard to tell where one starts or ends.

So he always encourages the basic piety, sacramental, sacraments, virtues, heartfelt forgiveness of wrongs, living in the state of grace...

His books outline how some saintly woman or child's prayers can be as effective as a priests simply out of greater love and zeal and faith in the Lord but also warns that the priest ex officio has power that laity don't.

I think our American, Hollywood 'catechism' of demonic activity only allows for the extreme cases when in reality people may dabble in the occult and demonic and magical all the time and for years before arriving at such outlandish extremes.

Some people seem to possess charisma, insights, a personality that attracts people, silences people, etc. some 'gift' of power that bewilders and unnerves... who knows but that might be demonic in nature.

Bottom line, we won't be fully alive as Catholics, using the full armor of God until we're aware and accepting of the full reality of the situation we find ourselves in. If you didn't believe criminals existed you wouldn't understand why we have cops.

Marc said...

"E=MC2 and Quantum theory proves that the visible world is less real than the spiritual one."

How so?

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father,
I would not personally recommend anyone engaging in a deliverance ministry unless they have proper authority (parent over child, for example) and are in a state of grace.
A good book for you and father Kavenaugh would be the Manual of Minor Exorcisms. You can get it from Leaflet Missal. It has material from the Roman Ritual in English from the 1964 Translations. It was put together by an Australian Bishop. I have given copies to four priests to help them, because it seems that the shadow grows longer or its reach is growing longer.

It also helps to say the Office for Michaelmas from the Roman Breviary as a devotional or use that of the LOTH for the Guardian Angels or Saint Michael. Another good one is the akathist to ones Guardian Angel.

JusadBellum's characterization of Pope Francis is dead on. Let us keep praying for him.

Keyser Soze said...

Fr. Amorth has also said that, in many cases, a good Confession has more powerful effect than an exorcism. Is it any wonder that this sacrament has been so ignored for the past four decades?

Bee said...

"How many of you hear in your parishes homilies or even minor references to the devil?"
Before I began attending St. John Cansius in Chicago? Hahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahah! About as much as I heard about the Real Presence.
All I ever heard was about social justice, and celebrating that "God is Love."

Anonymous said...

I choose not to comment about Satan "taking over" a person (although I do have opinions about it), but it does look like Southern Orders is on the way to being "taken over" by JB.

George said...

JusadBellum
"E=MC2 and Quantum theory proves that the visible world is less real than the spiritual one. "
It does nothing of the sort. Both are equally real. All created things and beings originate from God who is the Source of All and is the Ultimate reality.

JusadBellum said...

E=MC2 and quantum theory holds that this visible world we perceive as so solid and permanent is actually 'full of holes'. It's real, we're real to be sure...but the spirit, information that informs and assembles energy into matter is what determines what and where something is or that it remains in its current state.

How do you suppose the spirits influence us if spiritual beings have no affect on matter? How do they bring their presence to us if not by manipulating information? If you control the 'random' movement of sub-atomic particles which are energy, you control everything atoms can make.

Thus the nature of angelic beings is just as much a creature and follows certain laws as atoms and molecules are natures and follows laws. Their manifestations to us are 'miracles' for us but not suspensions of the laws of nature but the using of those laws in ways we have not fully grasped yet.

Jesus walked on water. Moses parted the Red Sea - it all really happened. But 'how'? By the manipulation of matter and energy by information, "the word" if you will.

We have this tendency to think the spiritual world and material world are in two separate universes when in reality they co-habit the same and only cosmos. Angels and demons exist in the same universe we do, and all of us were created by the Word.

George said...


While we are confined to the existential plane as long as we inhabit it in our physical body, angels are not so confined. Angels are spirit beings which can operate within the existential plane but also in the supernatural "higher" plane. They are superior to us in intelligence and power and can manifest themselves within our existence if need be. The angels operate in conformance with the Will of God and since He has dominion over the physical domain being the Creator of it, then certainly He can and does extend this dominion to His created spirits, His angels. There is nothing, no action they perform that is not in conformance and ordained by Him. They are God's messengers-they are His willing servants to carry out His Holy Will. He has given to us, each one, a guardian as a companion and guide but who cannot impede our free will which is a Divine gift to us also. When you are tempted to sinful behavior, keep in mind the presence of your angel who will be the witness to it and pray to this guardian to help you overcome any temptations and inclinations to do anything which offends God.