The Existence of Satan?
The New Thinking
'The devil exists as a symbolic reality, not as a personal reality,
The Superior General of the Society of Jesus has said that the devil is a symbol, but not a person.
The devil, “exists as the personification of evil in different structures, but not in persons, because is not a person, is a way of acting evil. He is not a person like a human person. It is a way of evil to be present in human life,” Fr Arturo Sosa, SJ, said Wednesday in an interview with Italian magazine Tempi.
“Good and evil are in a permanent war in the human conscience and we have ways to point them out. We recognise God as good, fully good. Symbols are part of reality, and the devil exists as a symbolic reality, not as a personal reality,” he added.
Sosa’s remarks came after he participated in a panel discussion at a Catholic gathering in Rimini, Italy, organized by the Communion and Liberation ecclesial movement.
The Catechism of the Catholic teaches that “Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: ‘The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.’”
Angels, the Catechism says, are “spiritual, non-corporeal beings.”
“They are personal and immortal creatures,” it adds, who “have intelligence and will.”
Sosa, 70, was elected the Jesuits’ Superior General in 2016. A Venezuelan, he has a pontifical licentiate in philosophy and a doctorate in political science. He served as a Jesuit provincial superior in Venezuela from 1996 to 2004, and in 2014 began an administrative role at the general curia of the Jesuits in Rome.
Sosa has offered controversial comments about Satan in the past. In 2017, he told El Mundo that “we have formed symbolic figures such as the Devil to express evil.”
After his 2017 remark generated controversy, a spokesman for Sosa told the Catholic Herald that “like all Catholics, Father Sosa professes and teaches what the Church professes and teaches. He does not hold a set of beliefs separate from what is contained in the doctrine of the Catholic Church.”
We are relieved and happy to report that the Superior General has now clarified his remarks by stating that he totally accepts the existence of Satan as defined by the Catechism.
However the lesson to be learned is how Satan can deliver his greatest feat by lulling the faithful into believing he does not exist!
What does the 'Traditional' Church Say
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
THE FALL OF THE ANGELS
391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil". The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."
392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God." The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".
393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."
394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him."
International Association Of Exorcists
An international organisation of Catholic exorcists said that the existence of Satan as a real and personal being is a truth of Christin doctrine.
“The real existence of the devil, as a personal subject who thinks and acts and has made the choice of rebellion against God, is a truth of faith that has always been part of Christian doctrine,” the International Association of Exorcists said in a press release.
The organisation’s release came in response to recent remarks on the devil from Jesuit superior general Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, which the organisation called “grave and confusing.”
The exorcists said they released their statement to provide “doctrinal clarification.”