Pope Francis on the Devil, modern education “horrors”, mother and father families

Today the Pope spoke during his non-Magisterial, off-the-cuff fervorino at morning Mass in strong terms not just about generic, impersonal “evil”, but about the Enemy of your soul, the Devil.

From VR:

“We too are tempted, we too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of Evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ. And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus? The temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap. What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus? Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself. It grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.”


“We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ. Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ [“But Father! But Father!…”] But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here… even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”

Also today, the Pope spoke about clerical sexual abuse, appropriate given how he started off the morning.   VR:

Pope Francis also spoke about the need to reaffirm the rights of parents [NOT the state!] to decide “the moral and religious education of their children” and reject all forms of “educational experimentation with children and young people”.

He said that it is every child’s right to grow up in a family “with a father and a mother[Get that?  With a FATHER and a MOTHER.  Not two mothers, not a father and three mothers…. and a goat….] capable of creating “a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity”. [Some other environments are less suitable, and some are just unsuitable.] The Pope also called for an end to what he termed as “educational experiments” with children and young people, pushing a “dictatorship of one form of thinking” on them in the name of a pretended “modernity”.

The Pope noted that the “horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; [Like Marxism and Nazism.] they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals”.

Moreover, the Pope gave a strong speech today about the sanctity of human life.  HERE

A friend in Rome sent texts to me saying:

The pope gave two speeches today which are likely to be his most outspoken in favor of natural marriage, freedom of education and against abortion so far. Nice that he mentioned natural marriage and sexuality in the same address he mentioned sexual abuses by the clergy. I found his argument vs abortion to be bizarre in its merely socioeconomic implications but I’ll take it.

Now let’s see how MSM and ‘c’atholics react. Spin and evasion I suspect.  ….

The pope basically called modern education an Orwellian social experiment like with the Nazi and the Soviet only w/out the uniforms.

I want to see MSW calling Francis a paranoid right winger now.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Patrick-K says:

    Interesting experiment: Go to Google News and do a search for “Pope Francis devil OR satan” limited to the past 24 hours. I got 8 results, all Catholic sources plus the Christian Post. Now remove the search term “devil OR satan” and replace it with “sex abuse.” There are … a few more articles, this time around 600. Bias? Or just talking about Satan doesn’t generate enough clicks? And are Christians the ones obsessed with sex here?

  2. RobS says:

    Pope Francis might just be a jedi master of media relations. You can’t start with this type of stuff on Day 1 and get Man of the Year. You put the press in a position to where they look foolish if they suddenly rag on you after 13 months of adulation. I just hope our faithful brethren who have “given up” on the Holy Father to some extent just because he doesn’t address liturgical matters the same way they would are paying attention today.

    And Patrick makes a great point above. The press so badly wants to imagine that we’re still in the midst of this horrific abuse scandal. They want to plug their ears and ignore the evidence: that now, as during the age of the scandal, the priesthood almost entirely consists of celibate males. Except now, the ordained aren’t abusing minors (er, teenaged boys, to be more specific). So, that shows us that (1) celibacy isn’t the cause of sex abuse, and (2) something ELSE is the cause. We all know what that something else is and who, specifically, have been excluded from ordination of late …

  3. BLB Oregon says:

    I have been in online “discussions” about the invented right to same-sex marriage and noted that there is no way for a same-sex couple to have children EXCEPT by extramarital consort, such that to pretend that same-sex unions are identical to marriage is nothing other than to encourage children to be begotten outside of marriage. Of course there follows a rush to take offence that a) I’m implying that a childless couple does not have a “real” marriages and b) to imply I’m a hypocrite or else heartless because heterosexual couples also use these same “fertility treatments” as gays do, including surrogates and the rest because they want so much to be parents.

    Anyone who didn’t believe that surrogacy, contraception, no-fault divorce, and IVF were not pavement stones on the path to same-sex marriage can think again, yet there is no surer way to be ridiculed in “educated” company that to draw a line between those things.

  4. tskrobola says:

    Well of course what Francis said is wonderful and right on target.

    As for him possibly being a “Jedi master” of media relations I neither know nor care, however I do think that he’s successfully thrown himself completely clear of the two most pressing issues of the day (a) identifying and rooting out still-active bishops who in many ways enabled the child sex abuse (which to be fair to Francis neither JPII or BXVI did anything on this front either) and (b) leading the RCC’s prophetic witness against the same-sex marriage movement. He has totally failed on these two fronts.

    Francis’ waving of the white flag of surrender on same sex marriage has rendered his words impotent at this point. The media, to the extent that they even care about his address here, will simply ignore it as throwing red meat to the handful of Catholics who even pay attention to Papal addresses. Make no mistake — if Francis were to use a Papal address to thwart Church teaching or religious conservatives the media would be all over it.

    Francis has already given the media a year of what they wanted and needed to promote their agenda — lots of statements directly to the press in interviews that have been perfectly suited for the media to undermine the RCC’s standing/teaching on gay issues, not to mention some shots at pro-lifers and liturgical traditionalists.

    For Francis to say what he said here is all well and good, but only effective in making die-hards like us want to believe that he’s really making an effort somehow to promote the RCC’s teachings.

    In my opinion, Francis cannot repair the damage he’s done with his previous statements until he calls press interviews/conferences and uses the same venues to set the record straight on where he stands and where the RCC stands. And even then it would seem contradictory and reactionary to the media/public (i.e., who got to him??) rather than sincere.

  5. acricketchirps says:

    I wish my children could grow up with a mother and father and a goat, but they’re not allowed within city limits–goats, I mean.

  6. philosoph0123 says:

    Agreed, Tom…and BTW, long time no see! Best to you and yours!

  7. McCall1981 says:

    I totally agree, very well said.

  8. Theodore says:

    Reading between the lines he took some of the wind out of parochial schools as well as Catholic educators who support Common Core.

  9. Montenegro says:

    BLB Oregon: right on. Support for same-sex marriage doesn’t just “appear” out of thin air.

  10. acardnal says:

    As we would expect, the predominant reporting in the MSM is not what you reported, Fr. Z, but the Pope’s apology for clergy sex abuse in a speech he made today to the International Catholic Child Bureau.

  11. mburn16 says:

    “Bias? Or just talking about Satan doesn’t generate enough clicks?”

    I would say that “Pope behaves like Pope” or “Pope speaks like Pope” doesn’t generate much surprise or attention. Its a bit like the old axiom of “Man bites dog”. Its when its unexpected that people pay attention. If Obama came out tomorrow and made a strong condemnation of those who raise children outside of wedlock, those who are promiscuous, etc. – it would be major news. If Pope Francis did it, it wouldn’t be.

    One of the reasons that the current Pope has been such a big story is because he doesn’t act, or speak, or even live like how people expect a Pope to be.

  12. JMody says:

    I thought Lifesitenews.com’s coverage was little odd when it said this (my emphasis):

    In a different tack from previous popes, Pope Francis took the opportunity to link the pro-life message of the Church to his critique of the global economy …”

    Every thing that St. JP2 or B16 said about the economy talked about how focusing on money cheapens life. Where have these folks been?

    Or do they also think he is the Greatest and Bestest Pope Ever(TM)?

  13. Priam1184 says:

    The pastor at my parish recounted the bit about the devil and the three stages of temptation during his homily at Mass this morning. He has often taken bits from the Holy Father’s fevorini to elucidate points in his own homilies this Lent. It gives us another take on what the Pope is saying and it is sometimes quite illuminating.

    And what the Holy Father said concerning modern education in the West is right on. A centralized national education system always turns into indoctrination, that is why children in nineteenth century France (where this mess all started) had to be dragged sometimes at gunpoint from the parents and thrown in the public schools. And Francis is also right that our modern educational establishment teaches just as distorted a view of history and of the world as the Nazis and the Communists did. They have just been smart enough to ditch the uniforms…

  14. Dundonianski says:

    What I would have wished to express has been beautifully crafted by tskrobola-well said! This latest from Francis is welcome one hopes and prays that such orthodoxy now flows more frequently and freely, but I remain deeply concerned at the forthcoming synod on the family. Francis’ seemingly heartfelt and laudatory introduction to the appalling Kasper preamble on sacraments for the divorced and separated is potentially disastrous. Thank God for your American Cardinal Burke, a man who grows evermore in my estimation the more I read of his words of truth and sanity.

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  16. Netmilsmom says:

    I believe there is evil. I believe in demons. I’ve experienced some in my life.
    However, I hope that Pope Francis is not going to fall to the Charismatic habit of blaming every ill and problem on the devil. Some things are trials given by God and are good, but don’t look that way at the moment. Some problems are redemptive suffering, some are to put us on the right path.
    When I was Charismatic, my friends and I found the devil to be behind everything. Whether you stubbed your toe or got cancer, if you prayed hard enough, God would get that devil out of your life and you would be happy. God works in big pictures and we see brushstrokes.
    The devil needs to be put in a proper perspective. Consecrate, pray and fast. Keep a St. Benedict medal with you and say the exorcism prayer often. Don’t give the devil power, because constant fear of him give him more power than we realize. Trust the Lord. He gave you the guidelines, use them.

  17. The Masked Chicken says:

    With regards to education, one has to be care how one speaks. Technically, all forms of education are indoctrinations into a subject matter. In the sciences, everything one teaches is a form of indoctrination. In the late nineteenth-century, students were indoctrinated to believe in a mechanical basis for the universe. In the late twentieth-century, they were indoctrinated to believe in atoms and quarks. The difference between bad educational indoctrination and good indoctrination results from the underlying final cause of the indoctrination. In science, it is a search for the truth. While science does indoctrinate, we are careful to stress that nothing we say is to be taken as an ultimate truth. There is nothing wrong, per se, with contingent indoctrination, provided that one leaves very clear methodology for how to pass beyond he original indoctrination.

    The problems with indoctrination comes when the subject matter being taught clashes with a pre-existing, non-contingent truth. The only really bad form of indoctrination is bad moral indoctrination and that is exactly what is behind the mess in current education. The New Math curriculum from the 1960’s did not clash with an eternal truth and, if correctly taught, could have been a very powerful method of teaching mathematics. The problem is that we didn’t understand problem-solving very well and we got the indoctrination methodology wrong. So, it didn’t work and was quickly abandoned.

    By contrast, modern sociological indoctrination is done by people who take their way of thinking to be equivalent to eternal moral truths. It is, properly speaking, at that level that it must be fought. Of course, it is much easier to fight indoctrination if the general populous already believes in the correct eternal moral truths. The problem is not, technically speaking, a failure in methods, but in ends. For that, I must blame the churches of the West. Beginning with liberal Protestantism and continuing to the general Catholic population, there has been an erosion of conviction that either there are eternal truths or exactly what they are. This weakening of definitions has allowed the Church to co-exist with the disintegrating morals of the West for the last 60 years. If the Church, as a whole, should ever return to a clear consistent belief in the eternal moral principles of ages past, there will be war.

    In the end, the indoctrination of false moral concepts will continue in the West until people become afraid of losing something beyond themselves, their fears, and their pleasures.

    The Chicken

  18. Johnno says:

    “Now let’s see how MSM and ‘c’atholics react. Spin and evasion I suspect. ”

    They used ommision, by only reporting that he begged forgiveness for sex abuse by priests. Nothing else of their sins.

  19. Polycarpio says:

    I do not find the Holy Father’s argument against infanticide premised on its socioeconomic implications to be “bizarre.” In fact, I think it’s sorely needed and welcome. In this regard, the Holy Father is practicing apologetics in the ancient sense of the word, that is, defending traditional positions based on the rules and framework of the target audience. By connecting abortion to, basically, hedonism and the consumerist culture (which he calls the “cultura dello scarto”–the “culture of throw-away”), Francis is challenging the social justice crowd, pointing out that if you want to criticize the way the market dehumanizes the person, destroys the dignity of the person who is made in the image of God, then you cannot overlook the gravest example of its doing so, which is abortion. He quoted perhaps the least touchy-feely language from V.2 to say that “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.” Finally, it is not accurate that Francis premised opposition to abortion “solely” on its socioeconomic implications. He stated plainly that the right to life supersedes ALL other considerations: “Every civil law is based on the recognition of the first and most fundamental right, the right to life, which is not subject to any precondition or qualification, neither economic nor ideological” (emphasis mine).

  20. Polycarpio says:

    Sorry, where above I translated “Every civil law,” I should have said “Every civil right…”

  21. Eraser says:

    The very left-leaning rag over here ran the Associated Press story which claimed that Francis is the first pope to actually apologize publicly for the abuse scandal… Blessed John Paul was “reportedly” upset about it but did nothing and while Benedict met with some victims, it basically amounted to an empty gesture since he didn’t really do anything either. No kidding! The Holy Father makes an unequivocal statement of the Church’s teachings and the MSM didn’t turn on him. YET.

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