(CNSNews.com) – While some recent news reports have looked at how often Pope Francis speaks of the Devil, it should come as no surprise that the pontiff believes Satan is a literal being, a fallen angel, who, as the Pope has said, seeks to destroy mankind and that “maybe his greatest achievement” in today’s world “has been to make us believe that he does not exist.”
“I believe that the Devil exists,” said the future Pope, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergolio, in his 2010 book, On Heaven and Earth, which was re-published in April 2013 with the subtitle, Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century.
“Maybe his [Satan’s] greatest achievement in these times has been to make us believe that he does not exist, and that all can be fixed on a purely human level,” said Pope Francis.
The Devil, said the Pope, is “a being that opted not to accept the plan of God. The masterpiece of the Lord is man; some angels did not accept it and they rebelled. The Devil is one of them.”
Jesus defines the Devil “as the Father of Lies, and the book of Wisdom says that sin entered the world through the Devil’s envy of God’s masterpiece,” said Pope Francis. “His fruits are always destruction: division, hate, and slander.”
“And in my personal experience,” said the Pope, “I feel him every time that I am tempted to do something that is not what God wants for me.”
Commenting further on the Devil, the pontiff said, “Man’s life on Earth is warfare; Job says it meaning that people are constantly put to the test; that is to say, a test to overcome a situation and overcome oneself. … The Christian life is also a sort of sport, a struggle, a race where one has to detatch oneself from the things that separate us from God.”
The book, On Heaven and Earth, which was re-published shortly after Cardinal Bergoglio’s election to the papacy on March 13, 2013, is co-authored with Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka and is presented as a dialogue, a back-and-forth conversation between the rabbi and the future Pope.
There are 29 chapters in the book and the two religious leaders talk about myriad topics, including atheism, prayer, euthanasia, divorce, globalization, money, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Holocaust.