The mainstream media is at it again. "The Pope And The Devil: Is Francis an Exorcist," an Associated Press (AP) headline reads. The reporter writes that "Francis' obsession with Satan" is because he has mentioned the devil "on a handful of occasions" within a two month period.
On USA Today "USA Now," host Shannon Rae Green says, "take a look at this disturbing video," of Pope Francis purportedly performing an exorcist on a man in a wheelchair, who convulses and slumps in his chair after Francis lays hands on him. Green remarks that, "Francis has made it clear that he believes in the devil and refers to Satan often in his teachings, even devoting a chapter to the devil in his book, On Heaven and Earth."
One Huffington Post blogger opined, "As shocking as it may be to some observers and Catholics in the Global North, Pope Francis' informal exorcism neatly captures the rise of the Global South, where prayers for deliverance from evil are common Catholic (and Pentecostal) currency."
Why is the liberal media surprised by what the Pope says when Christianity quite clearly teaches the reality of the devil? Christians believing in the devil is not new news. But apparently ignorance and denial is.
In response to perceived negative news coverage, the Vatican stated that, "Pope Francis didn't intend to perform any exorcism… he simply intended to pray for someone who was suffering."
Performing an exorcism is the act of "casting out" evil spirits, demons, or the spirit of the devil from a person's body. Catholics are trained to do this-so what's the big deal if the Pope did in fact perform an exorcism? Why hide it? It's what Catholics believe.
But the media wouldn't stop. After the Vatican's statement was released, an AP reporter opined: "Who can forget the green vomit and the spinning head of the possessed girl in the 1973 cult classic 'The Exorcist'?"
Unfortunately, Hollywood, rather than the Bible, provides a frame of reference for those who believe that evil is outmoded, superstitious, or comical.
Unfortunately it isn't. Evil and the devil are quite real-that is, if you believe the Bible is the Word of God.
Indeed, the Bible clearly refers to Satan and the demonic. Satan is referred to as a dragon (Rev. 12:4), the Devil (Matt. 4:1), a Serpent (Gen. 3:1, Job 26:13, 2 Cor. 11:3, Rev. 12:9), Beelzebub (Matt. 12:24), the Prince of Demons (Matt. 12:24), Belial (2 Cor. 6:15), Leviathan (Isa. 27:1), Ruler of the Kingdom of the Air (Eph. 2:2), the Accuser (Rev. 12:10), the Tempter (1 Thess. 3:5), our Enemy (Matt. 13:39, Luke 10:19, 1 Pet. 5:8), Abbadon/Apollyon- the Destroyer (Rev. 9:11), Prince of this World (John 12:31), and God of this Age (2 Cor. 4:4).
According to Father Andrew McNair LC, who wrote for Catholic.net, "The occult movement of Satanism ranks number one among teens and young adults as their preferred spirituality." Pointing to literature, television and Hollywood movies, he argues that the occult, White and Black magic, are prevalent topics that pervasively and negatively influence teens and young adults.
What is his and the Pope's advice? To listen to the Apostle Peter, who admonished, "Keep sober and alert, because your enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour;" and to listen to the Apostle Paul who encouraged Christians to "Put on the full armor of God so as to be able to resist the devil's tactics."
Jesus and the apostles had a lot to say about the reality of the devil. As such, the Pope rightly writes and speaks about the reality in which Christians believe. But will secular reporters and skeptics head his call?