Pope Francis Warns Young Children: 'The Devil is Real'
Catholic leader tells children that Satan is their 'biggest enemy, and not a fairytale'
Pope Francis reportedly told a group of children on Sunday that the Devil exists and is their “biggest enemy, and is not a 'fairytale'."
The Pontiff met with children from Saint Crispin’s parish in Viterbo as he insisted that the devil is “the ruler of the pagan spirit” and "the lord of evil.”
The Catholic leader urged the children to resist his wiles through prayer and recourse to Jesus.
In a somewhat lively dialogue with the group of children, Francis asked them how the Devil attempts to separate us from God.
“The devil! But the devil is a fantasy; he does not exist, right?” the pope asked teasingly.
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“Isn’t he just an old wives’ tale?”
“Yes, he exists, it’s true, and he is our biggest enemy,” he agreed with them.
“He is the one who tries to make us slip up in life. He is the one who puts bad desires and bad thoughts in our hearts and leads us to do bad things, many bad things in life, ending with war.”
The Pope has spoken of the devil numerous time during 6-year pontificate, insisting that he is not a myth and must be opposed.
Francis came under fire the last year after he branded those who criticize the Catholic Church as "friends and relatives of the Devil."
Speaking in Benevento, Southern Italy during a speech to pilgrims, the pope said the “fashion” today is to criticize the Church, and those who do so are "without love."
Describing how Saint Padre Pio loved the Church as she was, the pope said that when people make accusations against clergy members, their actions do not come from God but the devil.
During the Pope visit the US in 2015 he told Harlem schoolchildren that the devil works to undermine our happiness.
During his U.S. visit in 2015, the pope told Harlem schoolchildren that the devil works to destroy our dreams and undermine our happiness.
Satan “sows sadness, sows distrust, sows envy, and sows evil desires,” he said.
“The devil always sows sadness because he doesn’t want us happy. He doesn’t want us to dream.”
“Where there is joy, Jesus is always present,” Francis said.
“Because Jesus is joy, and he wants to help us so that his joy stays with us every day.”
On Sunday, the Pope offered the Italian children of Viterbo related message, insisting the devil can never be our friend.
“He will take us on the path of evil, to do evil things,” he said.
“He is very intelligent, more intelligent than theologians!” he said.
“Because he tells you: look at how beautiful this is… And he acts in the same way a snake does with a little bird. It looks at it; it puts it to sleep and then eats it.”
“The devil shows you things and tells you: ‘This is beautiful, it will do you good, do not obey your father and mother, do not do this, go this way, it will do you good,’ and then leaves you alone and to be defeated,” he said.
“In the gospel, he is called the father of lies,” the pontiff continued.
“God is the Father of goodness,” but the devil, who is evil, passes himself off as good by lying.
“You have to tell the devil, ‘Go away, liar!’” he told them.
The best defense against the devil is prayer; he continued.
“When the attack comes, go to Jesus, who never told a lie,” he said.
“Jesus cannot tell lies. Jesus always tells us the truth. Sometimes we do not like it, because there are some painful truths, but He tells them.”