July 21, 2015

So Why Is The Pope So Obsessed With the Devil?

Why is Pope Francis so obsessed with the devil?

(CNN) Rev. Thomas Rosica

His tweets and homilies about the devil, Satan, the Accuser, the Evil One, the Father of Lies, the Ancient Serpent, the Tempter, the Seducer, the Great Dragon, the Enemy and just plain "demon" are now legion. For Francis, the devil is not a myth, but a real person. Many modern people may greet the Pope's insistence on the devil with a dismissive, cultural affectation, indifference, or at the most indulgent curiosity. Yet Francis refers to the devil continually[Read Full Article Here]

This is actually an easy one to answer without actually getting into the nuances of the CNN article. The Pope's attention to Satan is admirable in some respects because he brings attention to an entity that society pretty much doesn't even believe exists anymore. An entity that has been a thorn in the side of humanity and a rebel against God since the dawn of time. The problem lies in the fact that the Pope seems to be obsessing over the Devil because he is obsessing. Even a liberal news agency like CNN recognizes that fact too. This type of theological neurosis is unhealthy. He is mostly distracted by the Devil because of his poor grasp on the Bible and bad theology that is driven by a flawed social/theological ideology. His focus is primarily in the wrong direction. Some of his anxiety and concern over 'Ole Nick is justifiable but his semi-neurotic mentioning of him at every turn is a product of is misguided theology.

Why does the Pope constantly talk about the Devil? Because he believes in Liberation Theology. Liberation Theology is about looking outward towards the oppressor, not inward as Jesus taught. It is about finding the sin in others and pointing it out in hopes of a social and cultural remedy for individual’s sins. It doesn’t work that way. We are all individually accountable for our own transgressions. It is the Church itself that helps us in that sanctification process. Please note I said helps us. The Church does not give us our sanctification or salvation. Jesus said it is what comes out of a man that defiles him (Matthew 15:11). 

The Liberation Theology says that injustice in the world is usually someone else’s fault, not our own. Liberation Theology places accountability on others right where a sinful person likes it drawing attention away from themselves. It therefore doesn’t focus on our need for repentance but rather other people’s. So, instead the Devil is found under every stone and behind every corner instead of us realizing that it is our sin and unrighteousness that is the primary culprit in our lives and society. 

It’s not the system that is evil per se, it is the individual people that have turned their backs on God that form the societal unit that create the injustices that this Pope laments. Fix the individual people by getting them to repent and the system fixes itself. Thereby we take the Devil out of the equation before he can even wreak havoce. The Devil is a secondary cause, our own internal sin is the primary. We commit the sin, the Devil is just an enabler and a convenient scapegoat for our own sins. We need to take responsibility for ourselves and stop blaming the Devil for everything like the Pope does.

Pardon the pun...but the Devil is truly in the details (or subtleties) on this one. If all the Devil has to do is get you to blame him for everything...he has already deceived you and won the battle. How? He got you to focus on the wrong issue(s). Do you really think he cares that you blame him for your sin? He is already condemned. Why would he care? No, he is more elated that he got you to stop repenting and seeking God which is your path to holiness. You thereby build God's wrath and sin against yourself. In the case of Satan, misery loves company. If the Devil is anything he is subtle and clever. People need to pay attention to the subtlest details. Something as small as a virus can bring down a healthy person. Something has small as a termite can bring down a home. Any of these things left to fester can become deadly.

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