Pope Francis is no stranger to talking about the devil as he is known to speak about him in public speeches and take to Twitter with mention of Satan, the Evil one, Ancient Serpent and the Great Dragon, to name just a few aliases. Pope Francis doesn’t see the devil as being something of a myth. Instead, he sees the entity as a person who is real. Many greet the insistence dismissively, with indifference or curiosity. However, Francis is always referring to the devil on a continual basis, believing that the devil is the single most insidious enemy of the church. Several colleagues seem to think that perhaps he has gone overboard. But why is the pope so hyped up about the devil that he continually talks about him? Pope Francis is intelligent and he tends to look into places where very few Catholic clerics in modern times dare to tread. The preoccupation of Francis with the devil isn’t an eschatological or theological question any more than a call to arms, offering steps that are concrete to fight with the devil along with reign of evil that is in the world today.
POPE FRANCIS WARNS AGAINST BECOMING PREY TO NEGATIVITY
Pope Francis has warned people to avoid discouragement and to grab hope with both hands, to have the courage and not become prey to cynicism or negativity. Francis draws on the insight of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. He continually makes reference to the devil, however, he parts ways with any current preaching, which remains silent and doesn’t speak up about the devil and nor the insidious ways to reduce him to only a metaphor. Following the first months of the pontificate during 2013, Pope Francis talked about the devil most frequently in messages and even in the first big address to those who had him elected, he told them to not give in to the pessimism that the devil offers every day.
PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE NAIVE
He has also shared homilies on a daily basis in the Vatican guesthouse chapel with congregations that have paid him rapt attention as he went on about the devil. He is always stressing that people should not be naïve and warn that the devil is shrewd and isn’t cast out forever. The pope has even issued calls to arms saying that the devil exists in the 21st century and people should learn from the gospel about how to fight against him. He gave Christians a warning that they should not be naïve about the ways of the devil and went on to say that he is anything but a relic. Francis has preached in the past about the devil being intelligent.
THE DEVIL IS DISGUISED AS AN ANGEL
When he was newly elected the Pope spoke before a crowd on Palm Sunday and said that Christians are faced with trials. He said that while Jesus is close by, so is the devil, which comes to people disguised as an angel and speaks his words. On July 12 Pope Francis prepared a text that he was going to deliver and presented the job description of the devil. He said that the devil is a con artist who makes promises that he cannot keep and never does a thing that he says he will do. He never makes good on the promises he makes. He makes people want things that he cannot give them and makes people put their hopes in things that are not going to make them happy.
THOSE WHO FOLLOW JESUS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE DEVIL
Ever since the start of his papacy, Pope Francis has warned that if people want to follow Jesus they must be aware of the devil. He has said that the life of every Christian is always a battle against evil, the same as Jesus had in his lifetime when he struggled to fight against the devil along with all the temptations. The pope always wants to call people back to reality in all the references he makes to the devil, a devil that he believes is very active in the lives of people and church, drawing people into despair, negativity, sadness, nostalgia and meanness of spirit. Each of the temptations that Pope Francis speaks openly about is the realistic flip side of the heart of the Argentine Jesuit. His message is about the world that is charged with mercy, presence, grandeur and the fidelity of God, all of which are far greater powers than any antics of the devil.