The devil is a real threat, according to Pope Francis. "There is the devil, even in the 21st century. He said on Friday that "the devil is still a real threat in the twenty-first century. He also apologized to victims of abuse and called for a stronger defense of innocent and defenseless life.
The devil is a real threat even today, according to Pope Francis. "There is the devil, even in the 21st century. Century. We too are targets of the devil's attacks. Satan is the principle of this world," the pope said Friday at his morning Mass at the Vatican. The "spirit of evil" wants to prevent Christian living, Francis said in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse.
From the Gospel one can learn how to resist the temptations of the devil. The devil holds nothing good for people, and everyone falls into his temptation, the pope said. The Christian life is a struggle against evil: every single Christian must face this challenge every day, the pope preached. Jesus also had to resist temptations. Christians who want to follow Jesus "must know this truth well."
"We too are tempted, we too are the objects of the devil's attacks, because the evil spirit does not want us to be witnesses of Christ, to be disciples of Jesus. And how does the evil spirit manage to keep us from the way of Jesus? The temptation of the evil one has three characteristics that we must know in order not to fall into his trap. The temptation starts very weak, but it gets bigger and bigger. Then it becomes bigger and infects others, it is transferred to others and tries to infect the whole community. In the end, to calm the soul, it takes revenge. It grows, it infects and it takes revenge."
The temptation grows and infects others
The first temptation of Jesus was "a seduction," the pope said. The devil told Jesus to throw himself down from the temple to test God's protection. He also wanted to put Adam and Eve on the wrong path, the pope added. The devil, he said, has posed as a spiritual leader. And after being rejected, he always comes back much stronger and allied with others, the pope said, referring to the Gospel of Luke. A "small, calm stream of water" would thus become a sea of evil: The temptation grows, multiplies and takes revenge.
The Pope gave another example: When Jesus preached in the synagogue, his enemies tried to keep him down: "But this is the son of Joseph, the son of Mary. That never went to university! He never studied". Temptation, the devil, had turned everyone against Jesus. The pope: "We have a temptation that grows and infects others. For example, the chatter: I'm a little envious of a person, first just inside for myself alone, then I want to share it and tell others too. But have you seen this person?! …. And temptation grows and infects others. This is how the gossip works. We have all been tempted there. It's a daily temptation to listen to the chatter of."
So there is also a need for attention to one's own "evil" thoughts, the pope emphasized here. To dismiss talk of the devil as old-fashioned, Francis called blue-eyed.
Pope apologizes for clergy abuse cases
Victims of pedophile clergy have again asked Francis for forgiveness. "I feel personally called to ask for forgiveness for the evil and harm caused by some priests, obviously not equal to the number of all clergy, for the cases of sexual abuse against children," Pope Francis told representatives of the "International Catholic Office for Children" (BICE) at the Vatican on Friday.
The church is aware of the damage, Radio Vatican quoted from the pope's address. It will not take a step back in dealing with the cases of abuse and penalties. Instead, the church needs to become even stronger here, the pope said. "For one must not sexually molest children," he."
The "Bureau international catholique de l'enfance", founded in Paris in 1948, campaigns for the rights and protection of children. It works with U.N. agencies, among others.
Abortions "despicable crimes"
Speaking to members of an Italian pro-life initiative, Francis also on Friday condemned abortions as "abominable crimes". At the Vatican, the pope spoke of a "direct attack on life" that must be met with "the most resolute resistance.".
Francis called for a stronger defense of innocent and defenseless life. This is especially true for the unborn child in the womb. He says every Christian is called to "protect life in all its phases with courage and love". In this regard, women in a pregnancy conflict must also "feel considered, listened to and accompanied as a person".
The pope went on to criticize that new technologies are increasingly "obscuring" fundamental ethical norms. Without specifically mentioning reproductive medicine, he said the market and morality were drifting further and further apart.