Do you believe there is a fallen angel the Devil? When was the last time you thought of the Devil? Do you believe the Devil may have an influence in your life? Do you believe the Devil is interested in tearing down that which is good?
I asked these questions because I recently tweeted a suggestion that the questioning of a judicial candidate by Kamela Harris seemed to imply an anti-Catholic bias. She asked a candidate for a judgeship who had joined what she called “an all-male society” the Knights of Columbus at age 18: “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?” She also mentioned the Knights were against “marriage equality.” She well know that the Knights are a Catholic group of men who follow the teachings of the Catholic Church which holds the same position. Wasn’t her question little more than asking the judge was he aware his religion held the same position? But she was cute enough not to attack the religion because there is to be no religious tests for federal office holders, even though Dianne Feinstein seems to think there should be one when it came to a devout Catholic.
Then she came out on Twitter with a tweet saying: “Let’s speak an uncomfortable but honest truth with one another: racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and transphobia are real in this country. They are age-old forms of hate with new fuel. And we need to speak that truth so we can deal with it.” I noticed she said nothing about anti-Catholicism which is another age-old form of hate in this country perhaps more deep-rooted than the others. I then tweeted back that she forgot about Catholicism.
In return people tweeted back to me suggesting, if I could read between the lines, that the Catholic Church was nothing more than a group of perverts or pedophile priests and it would be all right to discriminate against them. That’s nothing new for the attacks on the Catholic Church have become de rigueur in today’s America. We see grand juries in several states demanding they produce all their records on priests and their doings. We don’t see any other organizations in the United States under such a close examination.
That got me thinking about the Devil. It is I believe Catholic teaching that the Devil exists. The Catholic catechism notes: “Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called ‘Satan’ or the ‘devil’.”
Now if we are going to believe what the Catholic religion teaches the last thing you should be surprised at is that there are evil priests. What better way for the Devil to act than to find those who were ordained as priests who are weak and easily succumb to temptation in an organization that does it best to fight the evil the Devil brings into the world? Perhaps we should view the failings of these many priests, and the bishops and cardinals who were either like them or abetted their behavior as a sign of the Devil’s hatred for the Catholic Church. We could ask why did Satan hate it so much?
I suggest its teachings and sacraments represent everything the Devil is against. It isn’t easy to follow them in that they are obviously out of step with most of American life. Perhaps that is why we see some senators wondering whether Catholics can fully participate in the life of America; or why there has only been one Catholic president.
On November 15, 1972, Pope Paul VI said: “one of the Church’s greatest needs is to be defended against the evil we call the Devil.” He went on to ask: “And how could we forget that Christ, referring three times to the Devil as His adversary, describes him as “the prince of this world”? Pope Paul VI also suggested that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God. There is doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation.” The years subsequent to 1972 have shown how correct Pope Paul VI was with his statement.
Far from being heavenly made the priest scandal is Hell made. Far from turning people against the Church and driving them away it should have made more people interested in staying in it and redoubling their efforts to fight off the evil. But as we see the Devil with his slippery shoe found ways to convince many that like the bad apple in the peck that a few bad priests spoil the whole Church.