The Bishop who was deeply involved in the closure of the Deacon's blog may take another view of that, but I am entitled to my opinion. A spiritual explanation may be one explanation among many, but its a perfectly valid one in the Catholic Church.
That Deacon, however, has a new book out called 'Who is the Devil? What Pope Francis Says'. Few Popes have said as much about the Devil as this one, or, at least, not in such a short space of time. The combat taking place between God and the Devil has been the subject of many a Papal homily.
This would, I would think, have the orthodox-believing Catholic quite delighted. Huzzah! The Pope is taking the fight to the chief enemy! And yet the regular reminders from Pope Francis that the Devil is on the prowl everywhere and that we are engaged in a spiritual warfare with the infernal enemy of God and man doesn't chime terribly well with His Holiness's responses to the sulphurous scent of clerical cologne wafting through Vatican corridors, giving presentations and interviews on why there's basically no need to protest against a Black Mass at Harvard, because the Catholic Church is far better equipped to desecrate the Holy Eucharist than a bunch of Satanists. After all - its what the 'average Catholic' is into.
Sign the petition against the sacrilege here.
Is the Devil receiving a make-over?
Under Benedict XVI, who spoke irregularly about the Devil, the Satanic could be discovered, thinly veiled within the lexicon of the subjectivism and relativism of the age, as well as the disunity in the Church which Benedict markedly noted was caused by nothing other than sin. The refusal of modern man - even the modern Church - to recognise sin, objective truth, natural and divine law would be enough to help a Catholic twig that Benedict XVI knew the Devil was working hard to defeat God's plan for humanity and His Church's mission on Earth.
It comes in general forms, such as ambition, pride, jealousy, gossip and division. Therefore, under Francis, while the Devil is named more frequently, his schemes and wiles are less perceptible. By naming the Devil so frequently, but by ignoring those traditionally big Catholic key areas in which the ancient serpent lures us into mortal sin, or the Church into apostasy, the Devil becomes more shadowy and more hidden than he already is.
'Dialogue', says Pope Francis, is a wonderful thing Catholics should embrace. But, His Holiness says, we should "never dialogue with the Devil". For, "We must always be on guard,” exhorts the Pope, “...on guard against deceit, against the seduction of evil”. His Holiness goes on...
‘It is like a fierce lion that circles us’. It is like that. ‘But, Father, you a little ancient. You are frightening us with these things…’ No, not me! It is the Gospel! And these are not lies: it is the Word of the Lord!'
Now that's what I call trad! And yet, what should make this Papacy crystal clear serves only to make it less so by the astonishingly 'radical' and often confusing style in which Pope Francis governs the Church. I would posit that not an overwhelming majority of Bishops have a firm belief in the Devil, yet here the Bishop of Rome is adamant. The Devil exists. He comes to destroy. Under Francis, is the Devil receiving a make-over? I would suggest the answer is no. And yet, because the terms in which the Devil's activities are referenced are vague enough not to offend many people at all, the Devil is not all that easy to pin down, unless, of course, the Devil's disciples are those who want 'certainty' in matters doctrinal.
See, all Catholics can accept that raw ambition is evil, or that disunity is bad. All Catholics can agree that division is bad and that jealousy and gossip are wrong. All Catholics can agree that the Devil is evil - even those who don't really believe in the Devil can believe that - for were such a figure to exist for those who didn't believe in him - that figure would be very evil. What is less obvious is what in the Devil is the Devil up to in God's Holy Church?
The Devil, the Pope and the Doctrine
The great irony, of course - and it is not a funny one - is that while His Holiness, by virtue of being Pope, can command great authority on the subject of the demonic, orthodox-believing Catholics can palpably sense that there is something rather sinister going on within the walls of the Vatican. From a traditionally-minded - or Catholic - viewpoint, the Devil is roaring through the Vatican with complete impunity, seeking whom or what he may devour and, unless for 2,000 years nearly all previous Popes have been incredibly wrong-headed, that which has up to now been zealously defended - Catholic doctrine, Catholic teaching - is suddenly being presented by men close to the Pope as something that can be renegotiated or revised. Do Churchmen not realise just how much destruction the Devil can inflict upon God's Church and all mankind simply by deceiving both that error and falsehood not only has rights, but the right to 'a fair hearing' from the mouths of Cardinals during a Synod of Bishops under the watchful gaze of the Pope? 'We have nothing to fear from falsehood being aired', I hear you cry. I agree - so long as it is refuted and truth is vindicated.
The Devil would be perfectly happy for the Catholic Church to become any of these things, so long as the real spiritual power of the Catholic Church is rendered impotent and as long as the Church is no real threat to him. The Devil would, we can assume, be happy for the Catholic Church to be a great many things that benefit mankind, as long as it is not what Jesus Christ created Her, built Her to be - the Ark of Truth and Place of Salvation for men and women.
The Devil obviously wants to destroy the doctrine of the Catholic Church and lure men and women away from Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. The really alarming question is: Why doesn't this seem to bother Pope Francis too much at all?