US Prelate Preaches on Reality of Satan
by Ed West
5 February 2010
Chaput of Denver said more Church leaders should speak about the source of evil
in the world CNS
One of America's leading churchmen has spoken about the reluctance of religious leaders to speak
Addressing the Emmanuel Community's annual symposium in Rome last week, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said
it was "very odd that in the wake of the bloodiest century in history
- a century when tens of millions of human beings were shot, starved, gassed and incinerated with superhuman ingenuity
- even many religious leaders are embarrassed to talk about the Devil".
The archbishop was speaking at the Pontifical Lateran University about the task of evangelising the modern culture
and what he called religious leaders' embarrassment to discuss the existence of Satan.
His speech, entitled "The Prince of this World and the Evangelisation of Culture", was part of a three-day
symposium and was dedicated to looking at "Priests and Laity in the Mission".
Archbishop Chaput talked about the human desire for beauty and transcendence, but said that, without God's licence,
creative genius can easily lure us into a "will to power" within politics and science and an "impulse to pride" within art and high culture.
"Genius breeds vanity. And vanity breeds suffering and conflict," he said, explaining that the roots of vanity lie with the first "non serviam" that Satan uttered, he said.
The reluctance of religious leaders to talk about the Devil was "odd", he said. "In fact it is more than odd. It is revealing.
Mass murder and exquisitely organised cruelty are not just really big 'mental health' problems," he said.
"They are sins that cry out to heaven for justice, and they carry
the fingerprints of an Intelligence who is personal, gifted, calculating and powerful."
He said that in the late 1920s, as "the great totalitarian murder-regimes
began to rise up in Europe" Raissa Maritain wrote an essay, The
Prince of This World, in which she described Satan's works:
"Lucifer has cast the strong though invisible net
of illusion upon us. He makes one love the passing moment above eternity, uncertainty above truth. He persuades
us that we can only love creatures by making Gods of them. He lulls us to sleep (and he interprets our dreams);
he makes us work. Then does the spirit of man brood over stagnant waters.
"Not the least of the devil's victories is to have convinced artists
and poets that he is their necessary, inevitable collaborator and the guardian of their greatness. Grant him that,
and soon you will grant him that Christianity is unpracticable. Thus does he reign in this world."
The archbishop added: "If we do not believe in the devil, sooner or
later we will not believe in God." The Devil is "the
first author of pride and rebellion, and the great seducer of man. Without him the Incarnation and redemption do
not make sense, and the Cross is meaningless."
"Satan is real. There is no way around this simple truth."
Archbishop Chaput also praised Pope Benedict XVI for speaking against the "culture
of relativism" and called on the Catholic faithful to fulfil what he believes is
their primary vocation. "We have an obligation as Catholics to study
and understand the world around us," the archbishop said. "We have a duty not just to penetrate and engage it, but to convert it to Jesus Christ.
That work belongs to all of us equally: clergy, laity and religious."
One English diocesan exorcist, who asked not to be named, said that Archbishop Chaput was right.
"The biggest reason is because there is an atmosphere
of doubt, especially in the existence of Satan as a personal being.
"Paul VI, John Paul II and the current pope have all mentioned him
as a personal being who exercises evil. That was defined as the fourth Lateran council. In my experience, because
of losing any understanding of Satan, people have ultimately begun to disbelieve in the whole thing of what God
is about. If they don't believe in absolute evil, the whole question of redemption goes as well. They begin to
ask what was the point of Christ coming to save us? Save us from what? It's a logical process that starts with
He added:"Archbishop Chaput is a conservative and people will say
'he's a conservative, he would say that'. Well, I'm not a bit conservative but I've seen the effects of Satan first-hand."
The above article first appeared in the 5th February issue of The Catholic Herald and is reproduced with permission
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Version: 11th February 2010