Satan is hurling at God “the ultimate and terrible challenge,” to show he is capable of constructing an “anti-creation” that mankind will be deceived into thinking is better than what God has created, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra has warned.
The archbishop emeritus of Bologna said this decisive confrontation is taking place now, and is being fought primarily over marriage and the family — a prediction Sister Lucia made in a letter the Fatima visionary sent to him over 30 years ago.
The cardinal was speaking May 19 to the Rome Life Forum, 100 life and family leaders from over 20 nations who had gathered near the Vatican to discuss the crisis in the Church and in the family, and the hope for renewal in Our Lady of Fatima.
Cardinal Caffarra, who helped found the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in 1981, began by explaining that human history has always been a tale of confrontation between two forces: “The force of attraction,” that is the wounded Heart of the Crucified Risen One, and the “power of Satan,” the father of lies, the “murderer from the beginning” who seeks to extinguish truth in the heart of man.
This area of confrontation, the cardinal continued, is being fought in an interior and exterior dimension: within both the human heart and human culture.
He made clear that the Lord’s force of attraction “can only take effect on those who ‘are from the truth’ — those “profoundly available to the Truth, who love the truth, who live in familiarity with it.”
But “there is no truth” in Satan, he added, who seeks to kill truth in the heart of man by “inducing” him to unbelief. He is constantly refusing the truth; his action in society is to oppose the truth. “Satan is this refusal,” the cardinal remarked. “He is this opposition.”
Satan is therefore always working against the Lord’s strong force of attraction to Himself, seeking to “neutralize” it. And this battle within the human heart becomes manifest in society and culture, leading to “the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.”
Destroying two pillars of creation
This confrontation, Cardinal Caffarra went on to explain, shows itself with “particular clarity” in two developments, the first being “the transformation” of the crime of abortion into a legal and subjective right.
Legalized abortion “signifies calling what is good, evil, what is light, shadow.” It is a Satanic attempt, he said, to produce an “anti-Revelation,” to generate an “anti-creation.” The cardinal added that by ennobling the killing of humans, Satan has “laid the foundations for his ‘creation’: to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure His presence therein.”
The second development showing the “culture of the lie” is the “ennoblement of homosexuality,” the cardinal said, which “in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage.”
Marriage has a “permanent structure” in the mind of God because the union of man and woman is the “human cooperation in the creative act of God,” Cardinal Caffarra said.
For this reason, the elevation of abortion to a “subjective right” and equating a homosexual relationship to marriage represent the destruction of “two pillars of creation.”
“At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual anti-creation,” Cardinal Caffarra said. “This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God. ‘I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation.’”
“This is the frightful strategy of the lie,” the cardinal continued, “constructed around a profound contempt for man.” He noted that man is not capable of “elevating himself to the splendor of the Truth” and so Satan continued to “tell him banalities about man” and that the Truth “does not exist.”
Christians must testify
To combat Satan’s lies, Cardinal Caffarra stressed that the faithful are called upon to testify: to “announce openly and publicly” through such actions as this weekend’s March for Life in Rome, and to proclaim divine Revelation, speaking in particular of the “Gospel of Life and Marriage,” and doing so “as if in a trial.” The alternative, he said, is to remain silent or saying something else, but at the same time, he stressed that should not be taken to mean that Christians should be “antipathetic to everyone.”
The cardinal stressed that just as medicine “proposes the cure while excluding the illness,” so should we “love the sinner, but persecute the sin.” It would be a “terrible doctor,” he said, “who adopted an irenical attitude towards the disease.” Instead, the Christian should “hunt down the sin,” he said, “track it down in the hidden places of its lies, and condemn it, bringing to light its insubstantiality.”
He concluded that “Christ is witness” and reassured those present of the words from the Gospel of John: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”
In supplementary words after his talk, Cardinal Caffarra recalled the letter he received from Sister Lucia when he was facing trials in establishing the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.
He said he would “never forget” the last words of her letter, “words that are engraved in my heart,” in which Sister Lucia wrote “there will come a time when the decisive confrontation between the Kingdom of God and Satan will take place over marriage and the family.”
He said she underscored that those who are going to work for marriage and the family “will undergo trials and tribulations” but added: “Do not fear, Our Lady has already crushed his head.”
Cardinal Caffarra told the conference that his talk was “based on these words of Sister Lucia, and therefore on the conviction that what Sister Lucia said in those days are being fulfilled in these days of ours.”
See the full text of the cardinal's talk here