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One aspect of Pope Francis’s papacy is often overlooked: His battle with Satan.
“There is no shadow of a doubt,” Pope Francis said in 2014, “A battle exists, a battle in which the eternal salvation of us all is at stake.”
“Look around us — it is enough to open a newspaper,” he said, “we see the presence of evil. The Devil is acting.”
What is it that we find when we “open the newspaper”?
But Pope Francis likely has in mind not this open Satanic activity, but the more subtle activity of the evil one. But clearly the battle is raging, said Pope Francis, and there are no alternatives to joining it. “No! Either you are with Jesus or you are against him.”
Significantly, the only joint public appearance by both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict was in 2014 to consecrate Vatican City to the Archangel Michael in order to defeat the devil.
“In consecrating the Vatican City State to St Michael the Archangel, let us ask him to defend us from the Evil One and cast him out,” said Pope Francis.
He added: “This initiative was planned long ago with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, to whom our affection and acknowledgment are ever due, and to whom we would like to express our great joy in having him here with us today. Thank you with all my heart!”
The Archangel who fought the devil in heaven is still in charge of fighting the devil here below.
“Even if the devil is always trying to scratch the face of the Archangel and the face of man,” he said, “God is stronger; his is the victory and his salvation is offered to every human being.”
All the same, Pope Francis puts each of us individually on guard against the devil.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Francis, said “Satan breaks into people’s lives to tempt them with his enticing proposals. He mixes his own voice to the many other voices that try to tame our conscience. Messages come to us from many places, inviting us to ‘allow ourselves to be tempted,’ to experience the intoxication of transgression.” Our job is to resist. But how?
First, Francis says what not to do. In February 2021, he said, “Jesus never enters into dialogue with the devil, never. In his life Jesus never had a dialogue with the devil, never. Either He banishes him from the possessed or he condemns him, or he shows his malice, but never a dialogue. Jesus does not respond with his words. He answers with the Word of God, with three passages of Scripture. And we should also all do this.”
We should never dialogue with the devil either, because the devil will win every time. “When the seducer approaches, he begins to seduce us: ‘But think of this, do that …,’ the temptation is to dialogue with him, as Eve did. And if we enter into dialogue with the devil we will be defeated.”
“Keep this in your mind and in your heart: you can never enter into dialogue with the devil, no dialogue is possible. Only the Word of God,” he said.
In the end, Pope Francis says to turn to St. Michael. On Sept. 29, 2017, he spoke of each Archangel’s job. Michael is “the one who fights against the devil.”
“The Lord asked him to fight [the devil] for us who are on our life journey towards heaven,” said the Pope. “Michael helps us to fight against him and to not be seduced by this evil spirit which deceives us.”