Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is Satan in the Catholic Church?

A few weeks ago, the head exorcist for the Vatican, Father Gabriele Amorth, made the startling revelation that Satan himself is deeply ensconced in the Catholic Church. As interesting as that story is, it also gives rise a lot of questions and thoughts.

The context of the story is, of course, the ever increasing news of child molestations in the Catholic Church. Child Molesters are more than just bad people. These days they are the best representation of evil on earth. They are like the Vampire scares that plagued the culture and the church during the late Middle Ages, only they are real monsters not imagined ones. Our culture today is obsessed with and in a state of paranoia with regards to sexual criminals these days, but do we think that it would take demonic influence to make someone engage in this sort of evil?

For far too long, (at least since 1973 and that movie with Linda Blair) religious people have been more and more interested in demonic activity. Evangelicals really caught the bug when Frank Peretti released his entertaining book: This Present Darkness. The problem is that people began to see demons behind every rock. There was a time in the late eighties where the teaching seemed to be that there was demonic influence behind every act of sin committed on earth. That is simply not Biblical.

To be sure, there are fallen spiritual beings. Demons do exist. However, people do bad things because people are sinners. We all are. We are quite capable of doing very bad things all on our own. If we weren’t, how could we be held accountable for the sins we commit? The amazing thing is when we consider that it was a result these evil things we do on a daily basis that Jesus died on the cross. He loved all of us sinners so much that he died for us, even the child molesters.

Of course, part of Father Amorth’s argument that the devil is in the Vatican is that many leaders there do not even believe in Jesus. Here he agrees with a lot of critics of the Catholic Church throughout the years. It has ceased to be God’s Church and is merely a human institution. If that is the case, do we really think Satan would waste any time, effort, or personnel on corrupting it? By that same token, how institutional have other denominations in Christianity become?

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