Weeks after a major controversy over the existence of hell, the Pope releases a stern warning about the devil to believers.
The leader of the Roman Catholic church made this distinction in his newly released apostolic exhortation called “Gaudete et Exsultate” (Rejoice and Be Glad).
In the document, which is a formal counsel to Catholics, Pope Francis writes that there is “a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil.”
He is quick to inform the readers that he is not speaking figuratively adding, “We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea. This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable.”
This is not the first time the Holy Father has warned people about Satan. In 2017, he also insists that the Devil is a very real, evil being.
Speaking with an Italian Catholic broadcaster from TV2000, Pope Francis said, "He's not like mist. He's not a diffuse thing, he is a person. I'm convinced that one must never converse with Satan - if you do that, you'll be lost. He's more intelligent than us, and he'll turn you upside down, he'll make your head spin.
The pontiff added, "He always pretends to be polite - he does it with priests, with bishops. That's how he enters your mind. But it ends badly if you don't realise what is happening in time. We should tell him, 'Go away.'"
This new document, which has no mention of hell, comes weeks after the controversy caused by a report that claimed that the pontiff denied the existence of hell.
According to newspaper publisher and atheist, Eugenio Scalfari, the pope told him, “There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”
The Vatican immediately reacted by releasing a statement attacking the credibility of the quotes.