This is the real deal, folks.
Pope Francis just released a new Apostolic Exhortation called Gaudete et Exsultate on the call to holiness. We already shared 10 key quotes from the document, though we recommend you read the whole thing. One section that stood out in the document was on the reality of the devil.
“We are not dealing merely with a battle against the world…” the pontiff wrote at the beginning of Chapter 5 on “Spiritual Combat, Vigilance, and Discernment.” “It is also a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil.” (GE 159)
“[W]e should not think of the devil as a myth…” he concludes, after explaining that Catholics must take seriously the stories of demons in the Bible, “This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable. The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice. When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families and our communities. ‘Like a roaring lion, he prowls around, looking for someone to devour’ (1 Pet 5:8).”
Later, Pope Francis explains what our weapons are against the demonic: “For this spiritual combat, we can count on the powerful weapons that the Lord has given us: faith-filled prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration, sacramental Reconciliation, works of charity, community life, missionary outreach.”
This is not a new topic in his papacy. In one of his first homilies as pope in 2013, he declared, “When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.”
And in 2014, he responded directly to criticisms that believing in the devil was old-fashioned: “Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ 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.”
You can read a collection of some of Pope Francis’ teachings on the devil here.