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Italian exorcist responds to Jesuit leader: ‘The devil is real, not just a symbol’

Fr Arturo Sosa (CNS)

The devil exists and is not a social construct, an Italian exorcist has said.

Speaking in response to remarks by Fr Arturo Sosa, superior general of the Jesuits, Fr Sante Babolin, known as the “exorcist of Padua,” said it was standard Church teaching that Satan was a fallen angel.

Fr Sosa said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, “We have formed symbolic figures such as the devil to express evil. Social conditioning can also represent this figure, since there are people who act [in an evil way] because they are in an environment where it is difficult to act to the contrary.”

Citing documents from the IV Lateran Ecumenical Council in 1215, Fr Babolin said that God created everything – including those spirits that became evil.

“The devil and other demons were created by God good in nature, but they themselves through themselves have become wicked,” the council wrote.

Fr Babolin also said that speeches made by Pope Paul VI in 1972 prove the devil’s existence, as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Fr Babolin said that these three sources – the IV Lateran Ecumenical Council documents, Pope Paul VI’s speeches and the Catechism – provide definitive evidence for the devil’s existence.