The Devil Made Them Do It?
“The Devil made me do it” does not justify sin.
It looks like Pope Francis still isn’t keen on addressing sexual abuse in the Catholic church. Since new allegations surfaced earlier this year, the pope has dealt with the issue by ignoring it and making tone-deaf statements that have nothing to do with the problem.
Recently, the Supreme Pontiff gave a homily at the Casa Santa Marta, in which he made some appalling comments about the problems facing the church. In short, he blamed the devil.
During his homily, the pope discussed the role of Satan in the church’s most recent scandals. “In these times, it seems like the ‘Great Accuser’ has been unchained and is attacking bishops,” he said. “True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.”
He went on to state that the “bishop’s strength against the ‘Great Accuser’ is prayer, that of Jesus and his own, and the humility of being chosen and remaining close to the people of God, without seeking an aristocratic life that removes this unction.”
Interestingly enough, Pope Francis did not also think it important to speak against the abuse of children by members of the church’s leadership. He made no remarks indicating what steps he would take to address these issues.
The Church’s Unholy Deflection
The Pope’s blaming Satan for the troubles facing the church is nothing new. Throughout the history of Christianity, people have attempted to avoid responsibility for their sins by using the “Great Accuser” as a convenient scapegoat.
When Adam ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, he blamed Eve for giving it to him. Eve told God that she ate the fruit because Lucifer, in the form of a serpent, tricked her.
Eve was right — Satan had tricked her. But she failed to acknowledge that she allowed herself to be deceived. Instead, she thought she could mollify God by passing blame to the serpent. Well, we all know how that turned out, right?
The pope is correct in calling Satan the “Great Accuser.” He cited Job 1:6, which reads: “One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the LORD, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.”
In the Bible, Satan is likened to a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” But he is also known as the one who accuses God’s people of their sins. However, the Pope’s use of this description is not applicable to the Catholic Church’s scandals.
But the point Pope Francis is missing is that Satan did not — and could not — force the church leaders to prey upon children. Their decisions were their own.
Francis claims that Satan is responsible for the exposure of the church’s atrocities, but the Bible contradicts his argument. The Book of Numbers provides some insight: “But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”
The sins that were committed by members of the Catholic Church were bound to come to light — especially since they were sins against children. Jesus affirmed this during his ministry. He said: “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Responsibility of the Church
The Pope’s deflections indicate that the church is not serious about dealing with the problem of the sexual abuse of children by their priests. In fact, Francis himself has been accused of doing nothing to stop the abuse when he was made aware of it.
Unfortunately, these sins will continue to be perpetrated by those in power and the offenders will not be held accountable. When the highest leader in the church attempts to use scripture to avoid responsibility for the atrocious behavior of their priests, they aren’t likely to make any genuine efforts toward preventing these abuses. It appears that the only hope for the children is for others within the Catholic Church to oppose the rampant corruption in the leadership.
The Pope is wrong when he claims the church’s predicament is due to Satan exposing their wrongdoing. The truth is that their situation is the result of allowing some of their leaders to do Lucifer’s will rather than God’s. They will not rectify this problem until they begin adhering to the Bible’s true teachings instead of twisting scripture to fit their purposes.