Friday, June 02, 2017

Some stuff is really beginning to bother me ...

All of them witches?

So I will try to ignore it.

Little Therese always cautioned her novices never to lose their peace over things that they have no control of or are not their responsibility.  So that's what I try to do as well.  I don't want to be censorious, finding fault with everything.

A few things caught my attention this past week.

Statements made by Jesuit Superior Fr. Arturo Sosa Ascobal suggesting that there were no tape recorders to record every word Christ taught - that was some time ago and I just blew it off.  More recently he suggest the devil is a 'symbolic construct'...

From my point of view, evil forms part of the mystery of freedom. If the human being is free, he can choose between good and evil. Christians believe that we are made in the image and likeness of God, therefore God is free, but God always chooses to do good because he is all goodness. We have made symbolic figures, like the devil, to express evil. Social conditionings also represents that figure, since there are people who act this way because it is in an environment where it is very difficult to do the opposite. - Source

That's troubling.

I'm not in to all the devil stuff many other Catholics seem to be enthusiastic about, exorcists and their stories and preoccupation with possession and obsession and so on, but what the Jesuit Father says is contrary to Scripture, the Catechism, and even the frequent sayings of Pope Francis concerning the devil.  It is a good reminder for me to go back to the sources, especially the Gospel, the Catechism, and mystical theologians such as Garrigou-Lagrange.

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all he pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The "Life Force", the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls "Forces" while denying the existence of "spirits"—then the end of the war will be in sight. But in the meantime we must obey our orders. I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that "devils" are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you. - Screwtape


  1. I am with you on all accounts. Not a fan of devil or exorcism stories and actually never read them intentionally. And the reason being is because I believe it is all too real and not at all symbolic. I can only hope that the Jesuit superior general general was somehow misquoted or misunderstood.

  2. The real question is whether Father is a good Jesuit or a bad Jesuit.

  3. "We have made symbolic figures, like the devil, to express evil."


    Tell that to Santo Padre Pio! 

  4. I too hope the Jesuit Superior was misquoted and misunderstood...

    There are no bad Jesuits - that is what I tell myself.

    Padre Pio would definitely have something to say on this.

  5. Padre Poo could read hearts...

    1. I know you meant Pio.

    2. My smartypants phone has auto correct, or screw up, or something.

  6. Points for the C.S. Lewis bit.

    The extent of my enjoying stories about the Devil or exorcism comes from me being a fan of horror movies.

  7. IF Padre Sosa thinks the devil is only symbolic, he should know better. The correctness of his views aside, if you replace "have made" with "use," I think he makes a good point. Good Catholics (who also should know better) use the devil symbolically to express/explain evil all the time. This also doesn't comport with the reality of the devil. As an example, I recently had a conversation with a woman about some difficulties at my kids' Catholic school (admin issues, principal replaced, etc.). Her take was that the troubles were evidence that we must be doing something right because the devil was mad and attacking the school. Somehow the natural consequences of making a poor choice in leadership are blamed on the devil and become proof that good choices are being made. This woman is a friend--a great person, smart, good Catholic, not crazy or fringe in any way.

    I don't know what Padre Sosa meant to say, but if he's saying we have difficulties making sense of evil, he's right.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.