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Pope Talks About Possession and the Devil in a Book entitled “Exorcists Against Satan”

A book entitled “Exorcists Against the Satan” has been in Italian bookstores since April 11. It includes an unpublished interview with Pope Francis about the Devil. 

Fabio Marchese Ragona, the book’s author, begins the interview with the Holy Father by posing the case of a possessed nun who, in a moment of demonic manifestation, the Devil says [through her that] he hates the Pope because “he always speaks badly of me.” The interviewer writes that the Devil then said: “Have you seen how many problems I create for him?” And, after mentioning the case, Marchese asks the Pontiff how these affirmations must be taken, to which Pope Francis answers: 

“I don’t know the case personally, hence, I can’t assess it. However, it’s really possible that I bother the Devil because I try to follow the Lord and what the Gospel says. And this bothers him. At the same time, he certainly rejoices when I commit a sin. He looks for man’s failure but has no hope in face of prayer.”

Then the interviewer asks the Pontiff if he has dealt directly with possessed individuals, to which Pope Bergoglio responds:

When I was Archbishop of Buenos Aires I had several people who came to me saying  they were possessed. I sent them to consult two “specialist” priests: they are not quack doctors but exorcists. One is called Carlos Alberto Mancuso and he was an exorcist in the diocese of La Plata. The other was my confessor, Father Nicholas Mihaljevic, a Jesuit born in Croatia. Both told me afterwards that of those people only two or three were really victims of diabolic possession. The others suffered from diabolic obsession, which is something very different because they didn’t have the Devil in their body. This has to be specified.”

Then the Pope is asked if he had ever carried out an exorcism, to which the Holy Father replied: “No, never. If it were to happen, I would ask for the support of a good exorcist, as I did when I was Archbishop.” 

The interviewer then refers to rumours about demonic attacks against Benedict XVI, attacks that he resisted, and he recalled that in 1972 Paul VI said that the smoke of Satan had entered God’s Church through cracks. So Marchese asked: Can the Devil also act in the Vatican and attack the Pope? To which Pope Francis answered:

“The Devil certainly tries to attack everyone, without distinction, and he tries to strike especially those that have greater responsibility in the Church or in society. Jesus also suffered the Devil’s temptations. And let us think also of those of Simon Peter, to whom Jesus said: “Get thee behind me, Satan.” So the Pope is also attacked by the Evil One. We are men and he always tries to attack us. It’s painful, but in face of prayer, he has no hope. And it’s also true, as Saint Paul VI said, that the Devil can enter God’s Church to sow discord and confront some against others. Divisions and attacks are always the work of the Devil. He always tries to insinuate himself to corrupt man’s heart and mind. The only salvation is to follow the way indicated by Christ.”

The penultimate question is if one must be afraid of the Devil, to which the Pontiff answers: 

“I believe there are very dangerous devils , and I’m talking about ‘polite’ devils. Jesus also talks about them, we read this in Luke’s Gospel, which states that when an evil spirit is expelled he wanders in the desert seeking relief. But the moment arrives when he gets bored and returns “home,” from where he was expelled, and he sees the house in order, it’s lovely, just as it was when he was inside it.” 

To this answer of the Holy Father, Marchese finally asks him: “What happens at that moment?” And the Pope explains:

”He goes to find other devils more evil than he is, he brings them, they enter the house politely, ringing the bell, and take possession of it politely. The soul, not taking care of doing an examination of conscience, pays no attention to them, or, due to spiritual lukewarmness, lets them come in. These [devils] are terrible, because they kill you. It’s the ugliest possession. Spiritual worldliness covers all these things. There’s no escape: the Devil either destroys directly with wars and injustices or does so politely, very diplomatically, as Jesus says. Discernment is needed.”