Our Spiritual War + The Natural Law & Its Moral Significance
A number of prayers and practices against the Devil exist within the Roman Catholic tradition. The Lord’s Prayer includes a petition for being delivered “from the evil one”, but a number of other specific prayers also exist.
The Prayer to Saint Michael specifically asks for Catholics to be defended “against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.” Given that some of the messages from Our Lady of Fatima have been linked by the Holy See to the “end times”, some Catholic authors have concluded that the angel referred to within the Fatima messages is St. Michael the Archangel who defeats the Devil in the War in Heaven. Author Timothy Robertson takes the position that the Consecration of Russia was a step in the eventual defeat of Satan by the Archangel Michael.
The process of exorcism is used within the Catholic Church against the Devil and demonic possession. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that: “Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing”.
The Catholic Church views the battle against the Devil as ongoing. During a 24 May 1987 visit to the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, Pope John Paul II said:
“The battle against the Devil, which is the principal task of Saint Michael the archangel, is still being fought today, because the Devil is still alive and active in the world. The evil that surrounds us today, the disorders that plague our society, man’s inconsistency and brokenness, are not only the results of original sin, but also the result of Satan’s pervasive and dark action.”
Pope Paul VI expressed concern about the influence of the Devil and in 1972 stated that: “Satan’s smoke has made its way into the Temple of God through some crack”. However, John Paul II viewed the defeat of Satan as inevitable.
Gabriele Amorth, the chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, warned about ignoring Satan, saying, “Whoever denies Satan also denies sin and no longer understands the actions of Christ”.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the Church regards the Devil as being created as a good angel by God, and by his and his fellow fallen angels’ free will, fell out of God’s grace.
Satan is not an infinitely powerful being. Although he is an angel, and thus pure spirit, he is considered a creature nonetheless. Satan’s actions are permitted by divine providence.
During a morning homily in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, in 2013, Pope Francis said:
“The Devil is not a myth, but a real person. One must react to the Devil, as did Jesus, who replied with the word of God. With the prince of this world one cannot dialogue. Dialogue is necessary among us, it is necessary for peace […]. Dialogue is born from charity, from love. But with that prince one cannot dialogue; one can only respond with the word of God that defends us.”
Thomas Rosica and journalist Cindy Wooden commented on the pervasiveness of the devil in Pope Francis’ teachings, and both say that Francis believes that the devil is real.
In 2019, Arturo Sosa, superior general of the Society of Jesus, said that Satan is a symbol, the personification of evil, but not a person and not a “personal reality”; four months later, he said that the Devil is real, and his power is a malevolent force.
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