During his penultimate angelus address Pope Benedict talked about the influence of the devil on modern society and on our lives, clearly indicating that the devil is a malign influence behind the ascendancy of secularist atheism and the secularist agendas and policies being pursued:
These temptations are also false images of man that threaten to ensnare our conscience, in the guise of suitable, effective and even good proposals. The Evangelists Matthew and Luke present three temptations of Jesus that differ slightly, but only in their order. Their essential core is always the exploitation of God for our own interests, giving preference to success or to material possessions. The tempter is cunning. He does not directly impel us towards evil but rather towards a false good, making us believe that the true realities are power and everything that satisfies our primary needs. In this way God becomes secondary, he is reduced to a means; in short, he becomes unreal, he no longer counts, he disappears. Ultimately, in temptation faith is at stake because God is at stake. At the crucial moments in life but also, as can be seen at every moment, we stand at a crossroads: do we want to follow our own ego or God? Our individual interests or the true Good, to follow what is really good?
Therefore let us not be afraid either of facing the battle against the spirit of evil: the important thing is to fight it with him, with Christ, the Conqueror. And to be with him let us turn to his Mother, Mary; let us call on her with filial trust in the hour of trial and she will make us feel the powerful presence of her divine Son, so that we can reject temptations with Christ’s word and thus put God back at the centre of our life.
Protect the Pope comment: Whenever a pope talks about the devil its important that we pay close attention to what he is saying because rightly papal homilies focus on the victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Pope Leo XIII, Pope Paul VI, Blessed John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI have exhorted the faithful to take spiritual combat with Satan seriously. Now, more than ever, this is essential for the Church, facing the appalling crimes of child sexual abuse by clergy, the high levels of dissent and apostasy, the ascendancy of atheistic secularism and the violent hatred of the Church and Christianity. St. Michael defend us in the hour of battle.