Pope Francis - who stands accused of covering up widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, says that the devil is trying to divide and attack the organization. So apparently all of the child rape isn't the priests' fault, since the devil apparently made them do it.
"(The Church must be) saved from the attacks of the malign one, the great accuser and at the same time be made ever more aware of its guilt, its mistakes, and abuses committed in the present and the past," said Francis in a September 29 message.
Francis, who has made clear that he believes the devil to be real, suggested that Catholics worldwide pray every day in the month of October to stave off the Devil and his pedophile-encouraging ways.
"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."
"I renew the invitation to everyone to pray the Rosary every day of the month of October ending it with the antiphon 'Under Your protection' and the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, to repel the attacks of the devil who wants to divide the Church," said Francis, who described the devil as "the great accuser."
The prayer reads:
"St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls."
Perhaps the power of 1.2 billion praying Catholics October will be enough to overcome the Devil's influence over the preying priests.
Francis' description of Satan as "the great accuser" has rubbed one of the pope's adversaries the wrong way - Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican's former ambassador to Washington D.C.
In an 11-page statement published on Aug. 26, Viganò launched an unprecedented broadside by a Church insider against the pope and a long list of Vatican and U.S. Church officials.
He accused Francis of knowing about sexual misconduct by a former U.S. cardinal with male adult seminarians but not doing anything about it.
Viganò, concluding that his former boss had singled him out as the devil in disguise, complained in his next statement that Francis "compared me to the great accuser, Satan, who sows scandal and division in the Church, though without ever uttering my name". -Reuters
Archbishop Viganò then said in his written statement that Pope Francis "continued to cover" for McCarrick and not only did he "not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him" but also made McCarrick "his trusted counselor." Vigano said that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.
CBS News spoke by telephone to Viganò, who confirmed he wrote the statement and said he was speaking out now "to combat the grave situation in the church, to protect the church and also to stop future abuse." He told CBS News producer Anna Matranga that he had no agenda and was stating facts.
Viganò, who retired in 2016 at age 75, described an exchange with Francis on June 23, 2013, shortly after he became pope, about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned last month over claims he sexually abused seminary students and an altar boy.
Viganò writes that he told Francis about the allegations: "Holy Father, I don't know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance."
Viganò then said that the pope did not respond to the statement, and McCarrick continued in his role as a public figure for the church.
"Pope Francis has repeatedly asked for total transparency in the Church. He must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests. In any case, the Pope learned about it from me on June 23, 2013 and continued to cover him."
On Sunday, a top Vatican official attacked Viganò in an open letter, accusing him of mountingh a "political frame job devoid of real foundation," while refuting the accusations against Pope Francis point by point.
Francis, meanwhile, has refused to confirm or deny Viganò's accusations.