In his homily given on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, 1972, Pope Paul VI made a famous remark about the “smoke of Satan” entering into the temple of God. The full text of the homily was not reproduced in the Vatican collection of Paul VI’s teachings (Insegnamenti di Paulo VI Vol. X, 1972). Instead, a summary of the homily was given. Within the summary, however, there are some direct quotes from the Pontiff. Two of these are memorable for their references to Satan and the preternatural.[Hat tip to Prof. R.F.]
The Holy Father asserts that he has the feeling that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God” (da qualche fessura sia entrato il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio (Insegnamenti , 707).
Later, he is quoted as saying: “We believe … that something preternatural has come into the world specifically to disturb, to suffocate the fruits of the Ecumenical Council, and to prevent the Church from breaking out in a hymn of joy for having recovered in fullness the awareness of herself (Crediamo … in qualcosa di preternaturale venunto nel mondo proprio per turbare, per soffocare i frutti del Concilio Ecumenico, e per impedire che la Chiesa prorompesse nell’inno della gioia di aver riavuto in pienezza la coscienza di sé (Insegnamenti , 708).
(notes and translations by R. Fastiggi)
In his general audience of Nov. 15, 1972, Paul VI addressed in more detail the reality of the Devil. He stated that one of the greatest needs of the Church today is the defense against that evil we call the Devil. (Insegnamenti , 1168-1173).
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Paul VI on the “smoke of Satan,” June 29, 1972
I was talking about this with one of my colleagues about this a couple days ago, who described the event in detail, saying that the Pope departed from the text of his homily at the point of his vision or trance. He sent me the following with permission to post it online: