Sin, the Devil, and Pope Francis

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 02, 2013

Veteran reporters (myself included) are wrestling with the question of how to cover the homilies delivered by Pope Francis at Mass each day in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. We’re all accustomed to seeing formal statements from the Pontiff, but these daily meditations, delivered extemporaneously, are something new.

So how should these homilies be handled? The Vatican has been releasing summaries, but might eventually provide full transcripts. Meanwhile we’re just watching carefully, and providing coverage of the Pope’s homilies whenever, in our judgment, he says something particularly newsworthy. Which is frequently.

Eventually these homilies may be available in book form, and readers will gain some important insights into the pastoral vision of Pope Francis. For now, just let me make a quick observation:

If you follow the Pope’s homilies, day by day, you’ll be struck by how frequently he mentions sin, the Devil, and the need for regular Confession.

It's not that Pope Francis is a fire-and-brimstone preacher. Far from it; he follows warnings about sin with reminders of God's infinite mercy. Still, he keeps coming back to the Devil. Call him a realist.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Mar. 18, 2018 10:26 PM ET USA

    The Vatican's creation of this "fake news" completely undermines the moral authority of the Vatican to comment on "fake news" anywhere.

  • Posted by: feedback - Mar. 15, 2018 6:14 PM ET USA

    Whoever it was, who thought that this stunt, besides its serious spiritual and moral implications, would give a boost to Pope Francis' reputation, didn't think too much of the Catholics' intellectual prowess, and he wasn't too gifted with it himself. Each lie serves the father of lies. And a lying church does not serve Christ at all. Firing of the culprit(s) would be in order now, but I've learned not to hold my breath. I'm offering instead a prayer for the Pope.

  • Posted by: shrink - Mar. 15, 2018 11:32 AM ET USA

    So the Vatican has been pushing fake news, which our pontiff has said is sinful. And our pontiff governs the Vatican, so, does that make our pontiff sinful? Who am I to judge?

  • Posted by: nix898049 - Mar. 15, 2018 10:45 AM ET USA

    This is exactly why I tend not to believe any visual aids used in reporting anymore. I still miss BXVI and, along with Francis, pray for him daily.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 04, 2013 9:36 AM ET USA

    The reality of "the Kingdom" on Earth rests on the reality of the "Cosmic Battle..." Without a Devil there is no warfare, without warfare there is no Cross... Without the Eternal the Church loses focus and stumbles over Her own feet.