Cardinal: Christians Must Fight Satan’s “Ultimate Challenge”

10279044 - paper peopleCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

While addressing a Rome Life Forum last week, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna, gave a stunning expose of the confrontation between God and Satan that is taking place today, primarily over marriage and the family.

The National Catholic Register is reporting on the presentation in which Cardinal Caffarra addressed more than 100 family and life leaders from over 20 nations. The group came to the Vatican to discuss the crisis in the Church and in the family with the hope for renewal in Our Lady of Fatima.

In his address, which is even more pertinent on this day when the world mourns the loss of so many young people to a terrorist attack at a concert in England, the Cardinal spoke about the battle that is raging on every continent of the world today. This battle is focused primarily on marriage and the family and it’s the same battle that was predicted more than 30 years ago in a personal letter written to him by Fatima seer, Sister Lucia.

He began by citing two Scripture verses: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” [John 12, 32]. “The whole world is under the power of the Evil One” [1 John, 5, 19].

“Reading these divine words gives us perfect awareness of what is really happening in the world, within the human story, considered in its depths. The human story is a confrontation between two forces: the force of attraction, whose source is in the wounded Heart of the Crucified-Risen One, and the power of Satan, who does not want to be ousted from his kingdom.”

And the place where this battle is taking place is in the human heart, he said.

The interior dimension of this battle has its roots in the statement Jesus made to Pilate who asked Him if He was a king.

“You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” [John 18, 37] Jesus told Pilate.

In other words, Jesus isn’t a worldly king, but a king of hearts. It is here that His subjects obey His word, His truth. These people “are from the truth.” They love it and they live it.

Satan, on the other hand, holds the entire world under his sway by dominating through lies.

When Jesus said that Satan “was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him” He was describing the heart of the Evil One which is filled with nothing but darkness and lies.

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

“When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature,” Jesus taught, “for he is a liar and the father of lies.”[John 8, 44]

“The murder which the devil performs consists in his not standing in the truth, not dwelling in the truth. It is murder, because he is seeking to extinguish, to kill in the heart of man truth, the desire for truth. By inducing man to unbelief, he wants man to close himself to the light of the Divine Revelation, which is the Word incarnate,” the Cardinal explained.

This confrontation, which manifests on the exterior level in our culture, has resulted in what the Cardinal called “the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.”

This clash is particularly apparent in two developments of our day – “the transformation” of the crime of abortion into a legal and subjective right and the “ennoblement of homosexuality.”

Legalized abortion “signifies calling what is good, evil, what is light, shadow.” It is a Satanic attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation,” to generate an “anti-creation.” By ennobling the killing of human beings, Satan has “laid the foundations for his ‘creation’: to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure His presence therein.”

The “ennoblement of homosexuality,” the cardinal said, which “in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage.”

Marriage has a “permanent structure” in the mind of God because the union of man and woman is the “human cooperation in the creative act of God,” the Cardinal said.

For this reason, the elevation of abortion to a “subjective right” and equating a homosexual relationship to marriage represent the destruction of “two pillars of creation.”

“At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual anti-creation,” Cardinal Caffarra said. “This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God. ‘I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation.’”

“This is the frightful strategy of the lie,” the cardinal continued, “constructed around a profound contempt for man.” He noted that man is not capable of “elevating himself to the splendor of the Truth” and so Satan continued to “tell him banalities about man” and that the Truth “does not exist.”

So what is expected of us who live in the midst of this raging battle?

“The reply is simple,” the Cardinal says. “Within the confrontation between creation and anti-creation, we are called upon to TESTIFY. This testimony is our mode of being in the world.”

We are all called to speak, to announce the truth openly and publicly.

“Someone who does not testify in this way is like a soldier who flees at the decisive moment in a battle. We are no longer witnesses, but deserters, if we do not speak openly and publicly. The March for Life is therefore a great testimony,” he said, referring to public demonstrations attesting to the sanctity of life.

He then quotes St. Augustine, who wrote: “Love the sinner, but persecute the sin”.

“Note this well,” the Cardinal said. “The Latin word per-sequor [persecution] is an intensifying verb. The meaning therefore is: ‘Hunt down the sin. Track it down in the hidden places of its lies, and condemn it, bringing to light its insubstantiality’.”

Women have been charged by the Fathers of our Church to play a decisive role in the battle between good and evil. It is up to us to “hold back the hand of man who may, in a moment of folly, might attempt to destroy civilization. . . .”

How do we do this? By continuing to fight the culture of death by fulfilling our munus to bear spiritual life to the world.

“Everything about woman is ordered to this end,” writes Johnnette Benkovic in Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life. “Her body, her psyche, and her soul equip her to be a nurturing influence in family life, in professional life, through her religious vocation and in the world at large.”

Let us stand tall, walk firmly in the truth, and bring God-given gift of life into the world, knowing all the while that this battle has already been won!

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