What the devil...?
Heres a first: a Holy Week preacher to the pope and the Weekly
World News, a wacky supermarket tabloid, agree. The subject: Satan.
You can read what Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa told Pope
John Paul II on Page 9 of this weeks Catholic New World. In a
nutshell, its this: we are at risk when we ignore the reality
of Satan, prince of evil and father of darkness.
In a somewhat more histrionic vein, the Weekly World News trumpets
its front page with: EVIL SPIRITS SPREAD TERROR IN SCHOOLS; Teenage
devil worshippers unleash the power of Satan.
An explanation: I usually glance furtively at the headlines of
papers of this ilk. Im fascinated by their frequent take on things
religious. This time, though (and may the media gods forgive me),
I actually bought a WWN. You cant see me hanging my head in shame
as I write this, but I am.
Obviously, this headline required professional investigation.
So I spent several minutes in exhaustive research, until I was
lured away by a story and photo from Russia, Man cuts off his
head with a chain sawand lives! But I managed to stop before
I got caught up in the tale of the 5,300-year-old Ice Age mummy
revived by scientists only to escape and be run over by a car.
Anyway, its no surprise that I think the popes preacher has
the better story. Still, WWNs take was
And the two stories do come together, albeit just a little.
WWN gives a nugget of supposed fact: a not-yet released U.S. Department
of Education report on a rise in satanic behavior among teens.
For instance, two out of three teens between 13 and 18 have invoked
an evil spirit. Theres little argument that occult behavior
has been on the increase and that ought to be troubling. But it
may be a reach to lay the blame totally on a personification of
For the faithful and even the not-faithful, Satan is real and
evil is real. But as Cantalamessa told the pope, Seeing the devil
everywhere is no less misleading than seeing him nowhere.
And Id rather hear about battling evil from a perspective of
faith than from faux journalism in the pages of WWN.
Editor and General Manager
Send your comments to Tom Sheridan