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Pope blames Catholic divisions on the devil

Pope Francis is silhouetted at the end of a private audience with Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan, at the Vatican, on April 5, 2018. (Alberto Pizzoli/Pool Photo via AP)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis called Tuesday for unity in the Catholic Church and blamed its divisions on the devil.

It was the second time in as many days that Francis has warned about the destructive work of the devil after making headlines recently by seeming to deny the existence of hell.

Francis made the comments during a Mass he celebrated along with 550 “missionaries of mercy,” the army of priests he formed during his 2015-2016 Jubilee of Mercy to highlight the sacrament of reconciliation around the globe.

In his homily, Francis said the church and the world need mercy today “so that the unity desired by God in Christ prevails over the negative action of the devil, who takes advantage of all means which can divide rather than unite if used badly.”

Francis has been accused by some conservatives of dividing the church with his mercy-over-morals priorities. But he has held firm, stressing that God’s mercy is infinite and holding up as examples some of the great, forgiving priests he has known in his lifetime.

On Tuesday, in an earlier audience with the “mercy missionaries,” Francis recalled one confessor who was famous in Buenos Aires for his mercy, the Rev. Aristi, who died some two decades ago at the age of 94.

Francis recalled that when he went to pray at Aristi’s open casket, he snatched the cross from the rosary the dead man clutched in his hands, as a keepsake of sorts, despite the biblical commandment not to steal.

“I’ve carried that cross with me from that moment on, and I ask him the grace to be merciful,” he said.

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  • Once again, instead of taking responsibility for its own affairs and dealing head-on with its (many) flaws, Roman Catholicism lays the blame at someone else’s door. In this case, it’s “the Devil.” (Whoever or whatever that might be.) 

    This sort of thing is old hat for them, as I’ve documented for many years now. Someday they will finally grow up and start acting like adults … but I doubt it’ll be any time soon. More’s the pity.  

  • Yes, the Satanic Panic is back !!

    The Devil is causing a schism in the Catholic Church. And Omini-Threesome-God can’t seem to do anything about it?

  • Ahh, blame it all on Satan aka the demon of the demented. Very disappointed in Francis and his Jesuit education.

  • Oh, dat Debbil. He be everywhere. His name Legion.

    Or maybe, Superhyperrightwingconservative. He da worst.

  • C’mon. It was Easter just a week ago.

    And besides, I have been reliably informed by People Who Know that god has nothing to do with the selection of the pope.

  • If the devil is behind today’s division it seems reasonable that the Pope of Confusion is the one being led by the nose to divide Catholicism and confuse the Faithful.

  • The church and the world need mercy from the unrelenting confusion coming from the mouth of Francis.

  • Hmm.
    Francis affirms the existence of the biblical Devil that Jesus spoke of, but denies the existence of the biblical Hell that Jesus spoke of?

    People, that mess just ain’t gonna work.

    Francis got love and mercy and humility, yes, but that doesn’t make up for the contagious damage and confusion he now causes by directly opposing and negating the words of Jesus himself on a topic so critical to humans’ final destinies.

    No wonder the Catholic Church (and all the rest of us church folks too!) are heading straight for hard times.

  • The comments are about ‘confusing” messages. There is only confusion for those that take every comment and word written literally. The Devil is just as metaphorical as Hell.Heaven/Hell Devil/God are figments of human imagination. Both words are used to impart ideas, not a literal reality.

    So Francis is right, the Devil is behind the problems, the Devil is also known as devisiveness, as prejudice, as self-righteousness…..

  • And out come the Francis haters, conv8nced that all of the problems of the Catholic Church are his fault.

    At least they’re not blaming Obama, Hillary, Teh Geyz, liberals, Democrats, brown people, and anyone not to the right of Attila the Hun.


  • I find it imperative to any group, religion especially that lively dialogue including dissent to be healthy. Those who try to use the division card want people to accept everything someone says as truth when in fact NO ONE is perfect. In fact, using the division card is one way someone tries to dodge the accountability of their assertions. If the pope cannot handle being challenged then he needs to do some serious personal work.

  • Tell us all you know about the Catholic Church. Here’s more than enough space:


  • One thing is certain…there will be no more Jesuits in the Papacy. I would not be surprised if they are not suppressed again. It appears to me the only supernatural being he acknowledges is the Devil. Crazy times.

  • “The devil … takes advantage of all means which can divide rather than unite if used badly”? So, if these “means … [are] used [not] badly”, then “the devil … takes [no] advantage of [such] means”? And how do you know this, pope? Who makes you a pragmatist & an authority on “the devil” all of a sudden? Because it takes 1 2 … Oops(y-daisy), thankfully, the expression escapes me.

  • It would seem to me that the pope’s worst critics and the most conservative Catholics are the ones who cannot handle being challenged.

  • I like that graphical expression there at the end. Funny & effective. I’ll use that next time on you during our Round 7. Thanks. (Sorry, Ben in Oakland, but Bobby made me laugh.)

  • You count your Hail Marys well but can’t you count 3 A’s in my laughter but 5 a’s in your parroting of it? Speaking of which, what does this mean earlier?

    “Like your pet parrot, Jose Carioca?”

    You have a bird at home? Does it laugh with 3 A’s or 5 a’s? Gotta know these things ASAP – with 2 A’s.

  • Why bother with an 80-year old man in a white dress?
    I’m so glad this freak show has nothing to do with me.

  • Actually, that;s almost as much space as is needed to state that the RCC is a bunch of power-hungry, anti-empirical, science- and democracy-hating perverts.

  • Of course. If you’re speaking *demonstrable* nonsense, the last thing you want is for someone to challenge you.

  • You can always be counted on to say something remarkably inappropriate.

    Today’s menu was anti-Catholicism.

  • It appears to me that the RCs are much more sophisticated regarding science than the average evangelical/fundamentalist. I know they have the Vatican Observatory and sponsor another telescope on Mauna Kea.

  • It seems in most of Christianity god gets the praise for good things and satan takes the rap for bad things. If I didn’t know better I would think it was planned this way.

  • I agree with everything you say.

    HOWEVER, please note that I am almost always referring to the RCC *as an institution*, and not individual Catholics. I know a bunch, and they are nice and intelligent folks. One RCC friend of mine describes herself proudly as a “Cafeteria catholic”. I’d say that quite a number of my Catholic friends are appropriately skeptical of the RCC *qua institution*.

    Altho the RCC does operate some observatories, ultimately science and religion are incompatible, for several reasons, perhaps most notably because science does not respect authority, but instead, challenges it, and of course, wants evidence.

  • Yeah, as we all know, the RCC is guided by god, thus cannot make any errors, thus any criticism ultimately is produced by Muslims or Protestants or Hebes or atheistical commies..

  • The problem ain’t with the great telescopes of Mauna Kea or the Vatican. We’re all thankful for such powerful space-exploration tools.

    The problem is with the atheistic blinders and materialistic presuppositions that those compromised, weakened Catholics invariably and irrationally put on just before looking through the lens.

    They’ve been sold a bill of goods by an alien, anti-God religion. (It’s called Evolution — cosmological, biological, etc.) So if you want to see the great beauty of the night sky and universe, take off the blinders and put Rom. 1:20 on your science menu.

  • You’ve got your anti-Catholic script down pat.

    Too bad you have no facts to go with the script.

  • Again, what is your objection? Everyone enjoys secure places. Security is the mark of truth.

  • On the contrary, I’ve got LOTS of facts–far more than you, I’m sure. And I’d love to post them (along with citations, of course, so my claims can be checked out) but my experience has been that when I post those facts, those who disagree with me are ALWAYS unwilling to discuss them, or even to acknowledge them.

    I guess from your POV the RCC is perfect, eh? After all, it has the guidance of god, so how could it err?

    We could start, for example, with the HUNDREDS of instances in which the RCC swept sex abuse under the rug and blamed the victims. Do you acknowledge that or not?


    You are apparently unaware of the respected scientists who are Christians who believe evolution is “true”, as you put it.

    you’ve just told us everything we need to know about you and your abilities to think critically.

  • There is no doubt at all in my mind (based on my observations stretching over many years) that Catholics are much better thinkers, and much better educated (on average), than the fundy/evangelical crowd.

  • Religions aren’t imaginary, they unfortunately are very real. BUT they are based upon figments of human imagination.

  • I don’t fear anything. It is not a matter of fear of the Novus Ordo Church but of a total lack of interest in it.

    But what has this psychologizing of yours to do with truth? Why do you call it false security? Give real arguments.

  • You have lots of opinions.

    Having discussed some of them with you, I believe “I’ve got LOTS of facts–far more than you, I’m sure” is either wishful thinking or self-delusion.

    I’ve never suggested that the Catholic Church is perfect.

    The “RCC” did not sweep sex abuse under the rug and blame the victims.

    Individual bishops, like individual schools, individual Olympic committees, individual ministers, individual rabbis, and a host of other individuals made errors, either on purpose or with other intentions.

  • For years, the RCC *did* sweep matters under the rug. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico. For years, before sex abuse by “celibate” priests became public, the RCC shifted priests to and from this organization when they were finally found to have abused CHILDREN (usually)–and of course, they were not reported to civil authorities for their CRIMES, nor were members of their parishes told about their histories.

    I could cite all manner of abuses by the RCC–disrespect of women (originating in the bible, of course), a history of promoting Jew hatred, financial crimes, etc,.all of these not denied by the church, and only given brief apologies.

  • No, individuals. The Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete were a group of individuals, not the Church itself.

    The problem its head and founder, Father Gerald Fitzgerald, encountered was “bishops chose to ignore Fitzgerald’s
    recommendations, preferring to rely on the advice of medical and
    psychological experts who asserted that treatment was feasible.”

    This was nationwide – St Luke’s in Silver Spring, MD, had the same experience.

    I notice you have never criticized the ” medical and
    psychological experts”, despite the fact that they continue to make ridiculous recommendations in other areas.

    The reason why, of course, is that it does not fit your anti-Catholic agenda.

    The proof that Fitzgerald was right, and you are not, is the complete lack of criminal charges.

  • 1. My agenda is in no sense “anti-Catholic’ (specifically, Catholic church as an institution), but rather, is pro-liberty, anti-crime, pro-truth, pro-democracy, etc. It just so happens that the agenda of the Catholic church so often is, well….

    2. It is undeniable that bishops covered up the accusations of victims and failed in their duties to report serious crime to civil authorities.

    2. It is also true that sex crime (and others) is by no means limited to the Catholic church. Interestingly, it is often associated with “strict” denominations, such as evangelicals, Orthodox Jews (who, astonishingly, collaborate with their rabbis in defaming victims!). This is sad. But I think it has happend more often in the RCC–probably because men who know they have sexual problems, figure that going into the clergy will help them deal with (suppress) those problems. Nevertheless, bishops et al have harmed congregations by failing to deal intelligently with those problems.

  • 1. Your agenda is anti-religion, although you bear a particular animus to Catholicism.

    2. It is undeniable that some bishops, some ministers some bishops, some ministers, some school principals, some doctors, some psychologists, some rabbis, some prosecuting attorneys, some school principals, some doctors, some psychologists, some rabbis, some prosecuting attorneys failed to respond appropriately to accusations. It is also undeniable that these failures did not include all bishops, all ministers some bishops, all
    ministers, all school principals, all doctors, all psychologists, all rabbis, all prosecuting attorneys.

    3. There is no evidence of correlation of sex crimes with celibacy, strictness, or any other ism or belief. What evidence exists indicates that Catholic clergy were less likely than – for example – public school teachers to offend.

  • My only agenda is to do what I can to maximize liberty, logic, freedom of thought and speech, democracy etc., and to oppose efforts to accumulate power and use that power to control the lives and thoughts of ALL people, including those who are not Catholics.

    Thus, you are correct that I have a particular anti-Catholic animus, since the RCC has shown itself numerous times throughout history, and continuing today, to be opposed to all of those. Indeed, it is on-record as opposing some of those ideas, such as some papal statements explicitly opposing democracy.

    It is also true, as I have acknowledged, that sexual abuse and lying is not confined to the RCC. All religions do that, and all attempt to silence or slander victime who speak out.

    Several Catholics clergy, e.g. Fr Thomas Doyle, have made similar criticisms–and been silenced (or attempted to be silenced) by the church.

    One of my (serious, practicing–tho I guess liberal) Catholic friends started out with the same views of my ideas as you have. When she understood what I was sayingf, she agreed with almost all of my criticisms, and we became friends. Quite a number of Catholics have speculated that many of the sex crime problems the RCC has experienced originate in men with self-acknowledged sexual “problems” attempting to deal with them by joining the priesthood.

    I would love to see a citation to your evidence comparing sex crimes by teachers to Catholic priests.

  • Gee, if the church is so perfect and somehow under the guidance of god, how come it’s had to issue so many apologies?

    Do you agree that the church has issued many apologies for its past actions, or not?

  • Thomas Doyle, ex-Catholic priest, has been banned altogether from attempting to practice Canon Law in more than one archdiocese.

    The fact that others have jumped into the dirty water of your bathtub with you means literally nothing.

    So, you support your anti-Catholic animus by failing to do basic fact-checking and relying on ex-Catholics with axes to grind.

  • That you constantly shortcircuit yourself IS, however. You said, “Pee”. Then I said, “Urinal”. Then you …


  • BOB ARNZEN: “Pee”.

    ME: “Urinal”.

    BOB ARNZEN: “Tongue”.

    ME: “Speech”.



  • Perhaps you can explain to me (or refer me to some place on the web)
    exactly how it is that god somehow guides the church, yet it is
    composed of imperfect people. How does god make his wishes known? If
    not through people, then how?

    Oh, wait, I get it: when RCC clergy do something you approve of, or that most people consider “right”, then they are guided by god; when they do something “wrong”, then they are imperfect sinners.

  • If you were even moderately familiar with the New Testament you’d know that twelve apostles were selected, and one turned out to be a complete piker.

    There is a reason why the Christian church is called the “pilgrim” church, and it’s not because every member will attain salvation.

    No, you don’t get it. You could, but you don’t want to.

    It would interfere with your anti-Catholic anti-religion ranting.

  • BOB ARNZEN: “Pee”.

    ME: “Urinal”.

    BOB ARNZEN: “Tongue”.

    ME: “Speech”.

    BOB ARNZEN: “Ninny”.

    ME: “Victorian”.



  • If you were even moderately curious, you’d have read the work of religion scholars like Bart Ehrman; if you were even moderately objective, you’d understand how evil the RCC is (and once again, I emphasize that I am talking about the RCC as an institution, not about individual Catholics, all of whom are ill-served by this power-seeking institution.)

  • Yes, I am sure that reading Bart Ehrman describe the the New Testament as forgeries which were written in the
    names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later, and
    his belief that Christian doctrines such as the suffering Messiah, the divinity of Jesus, and the Trinity were later inventions would really enhance my understanding of Christianity, particularly the “RCC”.

    Then I could move on to the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and learn about Judaism.

  • Well, that really describes the differences betw us, doesn’t it? YOU are convinced that you know the truth, that you know all about the bible and the writers and the books and so on; whereas a widely-respected scholar like Ehrman is a crackpot and a fraud, at least to you.

    In FACT, it is well-known that just about all the books of the NT were written long after the death of Jesus; that Paul never knew him, that there are many problems with the books of the bibles and interpreting them, etc etc.

    And, for example, in fact, it is clear that the RCC itself has some doubts about Paul. Even some Catholic scholars have expressed those doubts!

  • Right. I read an exhaustive amount of material on the subject so I know both sides of a question.

    You have an axe to grind so you read Ehrman – period.

    The Christian church has never purported that the New Testament was written while Christ lived.

    In fact, every book refers to his death.

    That’s the difference between knowledge and what you espouse.

  • Speaking of hatred, (((Howard))), the bigoted, and hate filled views of former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Ovadiah Yosef, were republished by the official Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
    ♦ “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel.”
    ♦ “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat,” he said to laughter during a weekly sermon.
    ♦ “With gentiles, it will l be like any person: They need to die, but God will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant. That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.
    One of Israel’s chief rabbis, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, called black people “monkeys” during his weekly sermon. During his weekly sermon, the rabbi used a derogatory Hebrew term for a black person, before going on to call a black person a “monkey,” according to footage published by the Ynet news site.

  • The devil is not the problem. The problem has arisen out of humankind’s determination to disregard God’s wisdom and instruction and self-create “godliness” as the world would want it. The empirical Catholic church was never God’s intended “Church”. Therefore the Catholic church is collapsing on it’s sand foundation. There is nothing in the New Testament scriptures that promotes or calls for a kingdom such as the Vatican or Popes, priests, altars, on and on. This is all the creation of man. We know it is not of God because the scriptures proclaim that if God is for us, who can be against us ? The answer is the truth…no one.