In five years, he has quoted him more times than his predecessors have done together in the last half century: for Pope Bergoglio the devil, and his ability to divide, are common topics in his daily preaching. A countercurrent preaching, since the Evil One has long been a great absent. Here is a small and incomplete review of quotations.
Last time Francis spoke about the devil was with a group of Jesuits during his recent trip to Myanmar, while referring to the Rohingya and more generally to the situation of refugees, he said, “Today there is so much discussion on how to save banks…. But who saves the dignity of men and women today? Nobody cares about people in ruins any longer. The devil manages to do this in today’s world”.
Since his first homily in the mass concelebrated with the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel after his election, on March 14, 2013, Bergoglio, after quoting a phrase by Léon Bloy, affirmed, “When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil”. The very next day, during a meeting with the cardinals gathered in the Clementina Hall, the new Pontiff, without reading his written speech, said, “Let us never yield to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us every day”.
Addressing the Vatican Gendarmerie on September 28, 2013 Francis recalled that “the devil seeks to create an internal war, a kind of civil spiritual war”. In the Santa Marta homily on October 14,2013, the Argentinean Pope invited us not to confuse the devil’s presence with mental illnesses, “No! The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible”.
On September 29, 2014, in another Santa Marta homily, Bergoglio explained that “Satan is the enemy of humankind. He is astute: the first page of Genesis tells us so, he is astute. He presents things as if they were a good thing. But his intention is destruction, perhaps with “humanistic explanations”.
On October 3, 2015, addressing once again the Vatican Gendarmerie, Francis recalled that “Satan is a seducer, he sows hidden dangers and seduces with charm, with demonic charm, and leads you to believe everything. He knows how to sell with this charm, he sells well, but pays badly in the end!”
On September 12, 2016 in the morning homily the Pope explained that “the devil has two very powerful weapons to destroy the Church: divisions and money… The devil sows jealousy, ambitions, ideas, but to divide! Or greed…. “It is a dirty war, that of divisions, it’s like terrorism”.
On October 13, 2017 Francis described how “The devil slowly changes our criteria to lead us to worldliness. It camouflages our way of acting, which we hardly notice.”
And how can we fail to remember, finally, the words with which the Pontiff, in the interview with Don Marco Pozza for TV2000 on Our Father, reminded us that the devil “is a person” and we must never “never talk to Satan” because “he is more intelligent than us”.