Back in the early 1970s, comedian Flip Wilson popularized the saying “The devil made me do it” as part of an ongoing comedic skit on his television show. Folks laughed out loud at the hilarious situations that his character Geraldine Jones would consistently get into, always explaining that “the devil made me do it.” Geraldine and her famous one liner became popular across the land.
But that was comedy. Since that time the effects of the evils spawned by the devil have become all too real and, in fact, commonplace. How this has come to pass remains in the realm of philosophical debates, though there are plenty of real world examples to prove that indeed “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”
This is surely borne out by the confusion among Catholics who are not well-informed on what the Church teaches. A recent statement by the Archdiocese of Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley bears this out. During a recent interview with the Boston Herald, the cardinal was asked about Pope Francis’ statement that some Catholics appear to be “obsessed” with abortion. His response is enlightening:
The normal Catholic in the parish might hear a sermon on abortion once a year. They’ll never hear a sermon on homosexuality or gay marriage. They’ll never hear a sermon about contraception. But if you look at the New York Times, in the course of a week, there will be 20 articles on those topics. So who is obsessed?
Phil Lawler commented on the O’Malley statement: “If I were a bishop, I could not acknowledge this failure without a deep sense of shame. And of fear.”
But there is no fear of the consequences wrought by admitting freely that Catholics are being cheated daily by those who have a moral obligation to teach the truth. O’Malley’s admission is stunning.
Did the devil make O’Malley say that?
In another example of hutzpah, Catholics for a Free Choice president Jon O’Brien wrote an article entitled “My Catholic Conscience: Doing the Right Thing for Women.” In O’Brien’s twisted view of the “good” Catholic perspective, he tells us that efforts to defund abortion giant Planned Parenthood are based on “inflammatory” statements that do not recognize the value of “compromise.”
O’Brien is dead wrong. Perhaps the devil made him say such silly things. Or perhaps Sir Walter Scott had the better explanation when he wrote “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”
I wonder if O’Malley or O’Brien even realize how damaging their statements are to Catholics who are already ignorant when it comes to what the Church teaches.
Not long ago there was a survey revealing that only 50 percent of young people believe that the devil exists. There you have the fruit of what O’Malley admitted.
Teaching that the truth is embodied in the natural law and engraved on the heart of every man is every ordained priest’s responsibility. So why the moral chaos?
Does the devil make them do it?
There is a crisis of faith among Catholics today and it would behoove those who are obligated to correct the problem by teaching sound doctrine to heed Christ’s warning: “It is impossible that scandals should not come: But woe to him through whom they come. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:2)