Giving the Devil His Due

The publication of the Vatican declaration on same-sex blessings has generated a great deal of resistance within the Catholic Church. Numerous bishops in various parts of the world have refused to comply with its directives, and the African Bishops Conference has rejected it outright, forcing Pope Francis to grant an exemption to the whole continent on the basis of cultural differences.

Many Catholics take this resistance as a sign that things are about to change for the better in the Church—that the fog of confusion created by Francis will soon dissipate. Some have hope that Francis himself will come to see the error of his ways. After all, for a number of years many Catholics have been praying for his conversion. Maybe the prayers are beginning to have an effect. Others take solace in the occasional attempt by the Vatican to present itself as a defender of tradition. Thus, some Catholic theologians have praised the latest DDF document, Gestis Verbisque (“Deeds and Words”), for its concern with protecting the validity of sacraments and eliminating liturgical abuse.

But such optimism seems premature. The harm done to the Church by Francis and his clerical allies is not just their work. It’s also the work of Satan. The undermining of Catholic teaching and morality has been carried out with such efficiency that it’s difficult to avoid the impression of an intervention by dark spiritual powers.

It’s disturbing, of course, to think that the spiritual underworld is actively seeking to destroy the Church. It’s more comforting to blame the Church’s troubles on human folly and venality—something that can be dealt with given enough time and effort.

But keep in mind that Jesus was deeply concerned about the activities of Satan. He frequently warned his disciples about the fires of Hell, the deceptions of Satan, and the necessity of keeping watch. He made it clear that Satan would attack his Church and that even the elect would be led astray.

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