I thought it would be interesting to put myself in the place of Satan and try to understand better his tactics. This is by no means very comprehensive for Satan is pure spirit and his intellect and means of temptation and disruption in our personal lives and in the history of the world could be the subject of a many volume set of books. But it is an interesting meditation to make and many things come to mind that seem to open up our understanding of Satan along the lines that C.S. Lewis did with his Screwtape Letters. This is my first go at it:
If I were Satan and wished to seek the ruin of human souls, I would prowl about in search of weakness and attack without mercy. I would insinuate doubt and confusion where before there was certitude, I would cause factions where before there was unity, I would disguise evil for good and convince these lowly human intellects that neither I nor evil really exists.
No longer would people fear hell, for there would be no hell to go to; and for those who did believe in hell, they would believe that it was empty or that at least they, themselves, were not destined to go there. People would no longer look to the Church to guide them through this life to the Heavenly Gates. They would look to themselves or to their governments to create a heaven on earth that would be eager to excuse their personal indiscretions and no longer would there be a need to endure the embarrassment of Confession. Besides, they no longer need absolution for sins which they no longer believe in anyway. Many will embrace secular scientific interpretations about our beginnings and our final end: embracing ideas of aliens from outer space and their genetic intervention with human beings over the millennia.
I would make attacks on love. First I might attack the family and the children by destroying marriage and encouraging divorce. I will also separate sexual activity from the procreative, rendering these acts sterile. Thus, these human animals can revel in their debauchery and self-indulgence to their hearts content. All sexual acts shall be seen as licit and private and of no business of the Church. For the new Church that I create will be nothing but a shell of what it was. It will now act as a kindly social worker and encourage many acts of kindness and tolerance, especially when it comes to their judgment of sin. In so doing, all moral acts will be tolerated with kindness leaving one free at last to have a conscience that no longer gives them the least bit of trouble.
If given a chance, I will remake the Church – knowing that my powers will not prevail against the powers of Heaven – but also cognizant that I can confuse and divide men and introduce great confusion; winning many souls for the dark kingdom. I will destroy the beauty, the silence, the reverence and the awe not only in architecture but in every way imaginable. I will encourage worldly chatter in the old hallowed halls and invite everyone to Communion whether they have sinned or not or whether they are Catholic or not. For the Church will be much more tolerant after I have had my way with Her.
Should the Church let down Her guard sufficiently (becoming complacent), I will give Her a new Sacrifice of the Mass that will cause divisions between Her members and encourage the lack of prayer and devotions that were once Her mainstay – many will leave the Church and seek their own factions. Dividing the Kingdom of God will return man to the state of Babel where no one truly understands another which was healed at Pentecost. By then it will no longer matter, for the Church will no longer be silent or reverent and completely unsuitable for prayer or devotions anyhow. It will simply become a meeting hall that is there to coddle and stroke the people and encourage them in dealing with their sins; a church reduced to an army of social workers. The Church will not demand Confessions; only forgiveness and tolerance of others. Nay, but there is one exception: anyone that holds to the old ways shall be reviled and hated by all. It is the only commandment one must never break. They will be the new enemy of the Church.
This new Mass will no longer be called the Sacrifice of the Mass; it will be called Eucharist or thanksgiving. Yes, it does sound a bit like our holiday by the same name; now devoid of giving thanksgiving to God but a chance to eat with friends and enjoy the bread and circuses of football, drinking to excess and great revelry. So they shall no longer refer to the altar as an altar but as a table and the thanksgiving (Eucharistic) meal. They will eat the food from their own hands with no belief in the difference from the consecrated hands of the priest and our own hands. The lines between priest and laity will be blurred. With this in mind, the idea of sacrifice will of course be missing; all may share a meal together without remembering their sins and ignoring the fact that many have not been to Confession in years. Even Confessions will be renamed Reconciliation as it sounds more like receiving validation of our basic goodness and receiving a pat on the back rather than divulging one’s sins. Even so, no one will see the reason to go to Reconciliation as they will receive all the affirmation they could possibly want from their secular world and also within the newly fashioned Church of the non-judgmental and tolerant.
They will no longer speak of transubstantiation and will use the confusing term “real presence” to speak of Christ in the Eucharistic Species. In this way, it will be confused with the protestant term which at times means: consubstantiation, trans-signification or trans-finalization. There will no longer be seen a distinction between these competing and opposing theological doctrines. This will allow no Church to claim an exclusive right to the Sacrament that Christ once gave to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The lines will be confused and obfuscated by changing the use of terms. People will then believe that no church is better than another and that all churches are basically the same. Salvation can be gained in any religion and there will no longer be a need to evangelize our neighbors or to send missionaries to convert other faiths. Such meddling in other denominations and faiths will seem, in itself, to be unkind and expressing a self piety that is completely unacceptable; what will be derided as Triumphalistic in their approach. This new enlightened approach will confuse all Christian churches and create a complete ambivalence among their members.
After that I will present new Rites for the Church: I will rewrite the Rite for the Ordination of Priests, for the Rite of Baptism and for the Rite of Exorcism. Confusion will enter into many factions as to the legitimacy and efficacy of the new Rites and render a fog surrounding the Sacramental validity as offered by the Church. Doubt will reign among the more informed Christians and apathy will reign among the lukewarm Christians. Hatred and distrust will be the undercurrent between these various groups. In fact the Church will more and more appear to be an extension of a political party and one more organization among many that pushes their own political and social agenda. Each will push an ideology that split their unity into a multi-faceted coalition of personal beliefs. They will decide on truths based on their individual beliefs.
So beneath it all, love will be replaced with infighting between factions and the Churches will be divided in an effort to isolate each of them into competing groups vying for dominance in their public discourse. It will be indistinguishable between the political discords we see in the public square.
My plan will nearly be complete. My attacks on the priests, theologians and biblical scholars will produce discordant expert commentary that fundamentally disagrees with one another. The Church will no longer be viewed as a Church that speaks with a single voice but many voices with disparate views. Confusion will abound and the striving Christian will be busy digesting, fighting and arguing with one another to such an extent that the primary purpose of worship and prayer will be almost lost to the world.
It is not important that the Churches sacraments remain valid, protected by the Holy Spirit. It is more important that I introduce doubt and divide my foe. My plan is not to win the war; for it is ordained that in the end the war will be lost. However, my desire to inflict as much pain and loss on my enemy will allow me to win many battles before the day when the King of kings returns to dispose me from my throne as Prince of the World.
The trick you see is not so much to overcome the ability of the Church to bind the Sacraments with validity by the guidance of the Holy Spirit but it does not stop me from fomenting distrust, disillusionment, confusion and doubt within the people. Their membership in this Church will be compromised and many defections are certain to stir up great discord and win many to my dark camp where I can subjugate them and torment them for an eternity. I will then have some satisfaction and gratification in denying Christ those who were destined for His Kingdom. I relish the destruction of these souls and the sadness of Christ. To this end, I will certainly find some success. It will be my only solace throughout eternity. And think of the many secular souls that I will reap because of the divisions in the Christian churches. No clear voice of morality and truth will exist to dissuade their fall into the pit for which they are now destined. My plan is nearly complete, but I have reserved a few secret tactics to catch mankind unaware. Watch my cunning and how flawless my militant strategies will be carried out; often without my minion’s own knowledge of their complicity or how they ultimately share in my plans.