Last week for World Communications Day, Pope Francis released a statement saying that “fake news” is as old as the Garden of Eden. He urged the faithful to share information responsibly. He said that the spread of fake news leads to an increase of arrogance and hatred. He’s right.
Everyone went bananas about the statement. Fox, CNN, the Daily Wire…. all of them reposted the Pope’s statements as if to say, “See?!! I told you! You’re fake news and you need to shut up!”
I’d just like to tell them to hold their horses a minute. Ben Shapiro might think that George Soros is the Prince of Fake News, and CNN might think that Steve Bannon gets that title, but they’d both be wrong. The devil isn’t just the inventor of fake news. He hasn’t let up since that story in Genesis. He is and always will be the Father of Lies and yes, the Prince of Fake News too.
To prove my point, take a look at some of his best (or worst, I suppose) headlines.
The New Superfood that God Doesn’t Want You to Know About
Ah, yes. The First Fake News. Pope Francis talked about how this incident was so similar to what happens today. The devil used manipulation and fabrication of facts to confuse and trick Eve. She thought she was getting an easy way to find equal footing with God. Boy, was she in for a miserable surprise!
He still uses this headline today too, tempting us to sin for a life of ease and power. But just like it was for Adam and Eve, that forbidden fruit is forbidden for good reason!
Here’s How to Rule the World With One Simple Trick!
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him. “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9)
Yeah, that’s not sketchy at all. It always puzzled me why the devil even bothered with this. Clearly, Jesus knew he was lying. Next time we’re faced with the lure of power, hopefully, we have the same reaction as Jesus: “Begone, Satan.”
Revamp Your Daily Schedule by Eliminating This Big Time Waster
Idle hands may be the devil’s workshop, but he loves to make us think we are too busy for God.
“Ugh, Mass just takes SO LOOOOOONG.”
“I can’t stop and pray the rosary, I have things to do!”
“Only old ladies can go to adoration.”
I’ll admit, I’m definitely guilty of falling for those last two. But we can’t fall for this headline. There is always time for God. St. Teresa of Calcutta’s nuns spend at least an hour a day in silent adoration, and I don’t think anyone could call them time wasters or inefficient! St. Francis de Sales (who’s feast was last week, hey hey!) said that everyone should spend a half hour a day in meditation, unless you’re busy. Then it should be an hour.
You’ll Never Believe Which Biblical Figure Didn’t Really Exist! hint: it’s not who you think
This might be his biggest accomplishment. The devil has convinced almost the whole of modern society that he doesn’t exist. Even Christians will read the Bible and see the devil as more of a literary device, or a personification of evil. They are in for a surprise, because he’s much more than that.
There are a lot of passages where the devil is more of a force or power. But there are also a lot of passages where Jesus directly casts out demons from poor souls, like He did in the Gospel yesterday (Mark 1:21-28).
“Yeah, but they just didn’t understand psychology.”
It is true that a lot of cases of “possession” were simply undiagnosed schizophrenia, dissociative disorder, mania, or other mental disorders. But it is also true that there is a growing demand for exorcists the world over.
One man that I’ve become very interested in is Fr. Gabriel Amorth. There was a long piece in Vanity Fair on him that is not for the faint of heart. There are real priests out there that really do exorcisms of real people that are possessed or oppressed by the devil. He’s real, and he is really bad.
This is why I get so frustrated when other moms tell me, “Oh, it’s just a Ouija board,” or “its just a costume,” or “its just demonic themed music”. “Things only have as much power as we give them.”
No, no, no, no, no!! There are definitely things that transmit demonic power. Fr. Amorth lists some things that can open the door to demonic forces, like Ouija boards and an unhealthy fascination with evil and the occult (among others, but I’m not here to start a fight. Not today anyway.).
He’s sneaky. He’ll throw out these “clickbait” style snippets that just read as too good to be true, and a lot of times we do believe him. But Pope Francis was careful to remind us that “the Truth will make you free (John 8:32)”. So next time we are faced with the devil’s fake news, cling to Jesus, the Truth, and look that devil straight in the face and tell him: