Beliefs

Pope Francis: The devil is real and don’t underestimate him

Devil vs. angel image.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) As millions of revelers around the world dress in ghoulish costumes to mark Halloween and the darker side of life, Pope Francis warned that the devil is no myth and must be fought strenuously with “God’s armor.”

Francis described Christian life as a continuous battle against Satan during his homily at morning Mass at the Vatican on Thursday (Oct. 30).

“This generation, and many others, have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil,” the pope told the faithful during Mass at the St. Martha guesthouse where he lives inside the walls of the Vatican.

“But the devil exists and we must fight against him.”

Devil vs. angel image.

Photo courtesy of Strels via Shutterstock

Devil vs. angel image.

Basing his reflections on the Apostle Paul’s admonition that Christians must “put on the full armor of God” in order to resist Satan’s temptations, Francis likened life to a “military endeavor” and urged people against being carried away by passions and temptations.

“No spiritual life, no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without putting on God’s armor which gives us strength and protects us. … The truth is God’s armor.”

Meanwhile, an Italian exorcist, the Rev. Aldo Buonaiuto, suggested that Halloween should be replaced by a celebration of Christian saints and renamed “Holyween.”

He said too many people wrongly believe Halloween is a “simple carnival”; instead, he said, it masks “a subterranean world” based on the occult.

“For followers of the occult, Oct. 31 is the satanic new year,” he told the Italian daily La Nazione. “It’s a time for attracting new converts. And it’s also a time when exorcists have to work more.”

Buonaiuto is director of the Pope John XXIII Community Association, a Catholic organization fighting black magic sects and satanic cults, and is involved in Catholic training programs for exorcists.

With Halloween, he said, there is an increase in black magic rites, cemetery desecrations, thefts of sacred bones and the adoration of Satan, as well as demonic possessions.

KRE/MG END McKENNA

About the author

Josephine McKenna

Josephine McKenna has more than 30 years' experience in print, broadcast and interactive media. Based in Rome since 2007, she covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis and canonizations of their predecessors. Now she covers all things Vatican for RNS.

26 Comments

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  • If the world’s first Gay-Marriage Pope has somehow retained enough belief in the Bible (surprisingly!) to at least take the devil’s existence seriously, EVERY rational person needs to take the cue and really consider what Francis is saying. It’s real stuff.

  • I don’t really get this particular interpretation of the devil.

    A creature that rejected God’s command, and is cast out of heaven… and given powers over the earth for some reason?? Why would fallen angels be granted the ability to take possession of the bodies of mankind??

    Adam was granted authority over angelkind, which is why Satan rebelled in the first place. If mankind was granted dominion over angels, why on earth would fallen angels be more powerful than man?? Strong enough to forcibly take control of humans.

  • Holyeen ???

    Is the man nuts ?? there is a perfectly good name already in existence that explains a lot. All Hallows Eve …
    Sometimes I really despair at the men in dresses and have even more sympathy
    for Franciscus. His comments on the Big Bang and science really hit the jackpot.
    I would love to meet the man.

  • Since “Gay-Marriage Pope” has described gay marriage as a plot masterminded by Satan, I don’t think it’s at all surprising that he takes Satan’s supposed existence seriously.

    Gay-Marriage Pope’s actual words regarding gay marriage:

    “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the Father of Lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

  • Hey, that was back in 2010, when he was just Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.

    Now that he’s a Pope, Mr. Francis has COMPLETELY avoided any mention of what he said back then, and in fact repudiated his own 2010 statements with his now famous “Who am I to judge”? soundbite.

    When Catholic legislators in Illinois directly quoted this famous soundbite as they successfully voted to legalize gay marriage, Mr. Francis did NOT challenge their interpretation in the least. Not at all. Didn’t even say, “Hey, I didn’t mean it that way.”

    In fact, he has NEVER done so. Francis honestly supports, TOTALLY supports, legalized gay marriage on the installment plan. De facto, under the radar. Nobody’s even trying hard to deny it anymore. Mr. Francis has given total approval to the gay mess and to the gay marriage crusaders.

  • The Boogeyman looks back at you in the mirror. You were made in God’s image. The choice is only yours to make.
    White diamonds and closed eyes
    Hands closed with white lies
    Words that sing, that ears will ring
    For twisted minds in all due time
    Touched by the hand that steals your soul
    Lost is found as life is ground down
    Kneel to pray in the dark hallway
    For the door will open, for you are the prey
    As the chains of the Beast you cannot slay
    Passes his tongue slowly over your face
    His hunger waits like a spider for his taste
    Wake up! It’s only a dream! as you cry to scream.

    Happy Halloween!

  • Ah crap, that’s Islam, and thus probably not the best example to use. I think I’m learning to much about various religions, I seem to as of late be confusing the teachings of one for another.

    Still, even in a Christian context, why would a rebelious angel be given any power over mankind?? I don’t understand it.

  • Angikan,

    Exactly, concerning Adam having authority over angels, that is not the case. Adam had the animal kingdom in subjection to him, definitely not angels (Genesis 1:28), and Adam even named all the animals (Genesis 2:20).

    The angels are spirit persons, as are God and his son, Jesus (John 4:24; 1 Corinthians 15:45); and the angels are in a superior position over man and do not die as man does.

    The angels are in a position lower than Jesus, and Jesus is in a position higher than angels. But Jesus is in subjection to the Most High over all the earth, or Almighty God (1 Corinthians 11:3), whose name is Jehovah (Psalm 83:18). Jesus is therefore in a position just below Jehovah God, as his son, and the angels are below God’s son.

    Below God’s son, Jesus, is mankind; and below mankind is the animal kingdom.

  • Great…Now we’re subject to poetry on the RNS website; in the meantime, Satan’s greatest accomplishment is convincing certain members of the human race that he doesn’t exist.

  • Since both Satan and Yahweh are figments of the human imagination, along with all the other millions of supernatual critters, then claiming ” Satan’s greatest accomplishment is convincing certain members of the human race that he doesn’t exist” is a non sequitur. But you knew that already.

  • Of course Satan is real to true Christians, since he is the enemy of Almighty God, whose name is Jehovah (Psalm 83:18), and he stands against everything righteous, just and pure, and is the father of the lie (John 8:44).

    Satan also wants to deceive as many humans as he can to cause their death, since is also a manslayer. He deceived Eve so that she ate of the forbidden fruit, and Adam joined her. This action caused their death and brought sin, imperfection, old age and death to the rest of the human race.

    Satan even has Satanists who worship him!

    The only way to keep ourselves safe from Satan’s ploys is to regularly study and meditate on God’s Word, the Bible; regular prayer to God, asking for his help and strength; and regular association with fellow believers to stay strong in faith!

  • Neither Satan nor Yahweh/Jehovah are figments of our imagination; but the promises by man and his politicians and scientists to solve all our problems, put an end to all wicked ones on the planet and bring worldwide peace to all humans “on his own” definitely IS a figment of imagination since it will never come true!

    Yahweh’s kingdom or heavenly government only will bring that about because it has the LOVE for us humans (and Satan hates us and wants us all to die!!) as well as the POWER to do so!

    Our generation is the fortunate one that will see such marvelous blessings take place with our own eyes! 😀 Just wait and see!!

  • Diogenes,

    Thankfully, Satan won’t be around for much longer… Into an abyss with his demons he will go for 1,000 years during Jesus’ millenial rule…then let out one “last time” to test all mankind…then total destruction at the hands of Yahweh/Jehovah along with his demons and any followers on earth!!

    I can’t wait for that day to happen!! 😀

  • @Fran… “Our generation is the fortunate one that will see such marvelous blessings take place with our own eyes! 😀 Just wait and see!!”. A little humility in your optimism may be in order. Mt 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. With all due respect.

  • Art,

    Of course no one knows that day and the hour, only God and not Jesus, his son, nor I the angels. I’m just so excited about the days we are living in…and I’m not trying to be pompous about it! I was just relating my excitement that soon God’s kingdom will intervene in man’s matters and make everything right!

    But Bible prophecy is being fullfilled in our day (and I am 60 years young, so I have seen the fullfillment over a long period of time!)

    The good news of God’s kingdom is being preached to the entire inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before the end of this wicked era (and not the end of mankind nor the earth) comes. (Matthew 24:14)

    It is obvious that the world governments are facing dire circumstances concerning finances and pestilence such as Ebola, as well as the advancement of terrorists worldwide. But the Bible foretold that the nations would be in anguish and not know the way out of their problems! (Luke 21:25)

    It’s also obvious that government is turning against religion which is a relatively new development, but it is a sign leading to the great tribulation, where all false religion will be destroyed by the political systems.

    The political systems will then do battle with God for rulership over the planet (referred to in Revelation as Armageddon), but God and his kingdom or heavenly government will be victorious, crushing all of man’s governments (Daniel 2:44). Amen when that finally happens! 😀

    Then God’s kingdom will begin its millennial rule over mankind on earth! 😀 Everything is definitely leading to that!

  • Michael-God is real. Read Romans 1:18-25. How did the universe get here?
    For you to look at creation then say it is all just random chance that we got
    here it takes more faith to believe in that lie than to believe in God. Many
    people don’t want God to be real cause they don’t want to be told how to
    live their lives. Read the book the Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. God bless.

  • It’s hard to be more wrong than you are. There is wrong in the sense of ultimately being on the wrong side of a complicated question. And then there’s just plain factually wrong. You’re the latter.

    Pope Francis has spoken on numerous occasions, before his papacy and during, against gay marriage. If you are too lazy to Google them, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    Or were you waiting for them to be reported by MSNBC and CNN?

    How about the Advocate, a gay publication?

    http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2013/07/05/popes-francis-benedict-jointly-condemn-same-sex-marriage

  • Yes, Satan is the god of this world, as reflected at 2 Corinthians 4:4:

    “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the lights of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

    He and his demons were kicked out of the heavens in 1914 (when God’s kingdom was established in the heavens, and Christ Jesus enthroned as its King) and they were hurled down to earth, causing much woe and suffering to us humans ever since (Revelation 12:12)!

    In these “last days” of a wicked era since then, Satan and his demons have been doing their best to turn as many humans as possible against God, so that they lose their lives, knowing that they have a short period of time to do so.

    After God’s kingdom, or heavenly government (Matthew 4:17) soon puts an end to and replaces all human governments (Daniel 2:44), that government will start its millennial rule over all meek persons on earth (Isaiah 11:1-5), by its King, Christ Jesus (Isaiah 9:6, 7).

    Thankfully, Satan and his demons will be abyssed during that entire period of time (Revelation 20:1-3)!!!

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