Pope Francis has become known for his progressive attitudes but Vatican insiders say his approach to Satan is decidedly old-school, far more so than his recent predecessors, the Washington Post finds. In many sermons, the pontiff has warned that the devil is a real, ever-present evil entity that people need to be on their guard against. "Pope Francis never stops talking about the devil; it’s constant," says a senior Vatican bishop. "Had Pope Benedict done this, the media would have clobbered him."
Bishops who speak of Satan as an allegorical figure may not be pleased by the pope's approach, but exorcists are delighted to have a pontiff on their side. "The sad truth is that there are many bishops and priests in our church who do not really believe in the devil," says the Vatican's former chief exorcist. "I believe Pope Francis is speaking to them. Because when you don’t believe, the devil wins." Francis himself was seen laying hands on a Mexican pilgrim last year in what the Vatican says was merely a prayer, though it looked a lot like an exorcism to many observers.