It happens that I have in my possession a little book called Evidence of Satan in the Modern World, written by the French(?) priest Leon Cristiani in 1961. He spends a good deal of time on accounts of exorcisms, and on the diabolical characteristics of both capitalism and communism. But the very best bit comes on p. 171:

“It is therefore without any particular satisfaction, but without diffidence, that one may declare that there are certain undeniable proofs of the presence of Satan in our contemporary ‘civilisation,’ proofs which few can refuse to admit:

1. The mediocrity of our great media of communication such as the wireless, cinema, and television: not mediocrity in technique or in propaganda, but in the beauty and nobility of their influence on people’s minds;

2. The erotic atmosphere exuded by our novels and plays, in popular songs, in all that can be summed up as ‘show business’;

3. The degradation of modern art, which seems to have lost all feeling for beauty, and to be concerned only with ugliness and obscurity.”

Outstanding. What is the proof of Satan’s presence? Bad art.


  1. If he felt that way in 1961, 2008 would make him foam at the mouth…

  2. j. christian says

    This makes me think of a headline:

    “French priest says bad art a sign of Satan”

    Change the nationality of the priest and have fun:

    “Italian priest says bad food a sign of Satan”

    “German priest says crappy cars a sign of Satan”

    “Peruvian priest says lazy alpacas a sign of Satan”

  3. J Christian,

    With a wink and nod to CM, you forgot:

    Irish priests says existence of neighboring island nation a sign of Satan…


  4. Could you post lengthier excerpts that contain arguments and evidence? Those seem like hasty generalizations to me.

  5. I like the seeing this post with yesterday’s…we are insane, people.


    As always—heehee.

    Matthew, Have you watched MadMen finale yet?

  6. Matthew Lickona says

    So what does the American priest see as the sing of Satan?

    Santiago – no no, you miss the point. Of course they’re hasty generalizations. It’s just awesome that he looked to art for his undeniable proofs of Satan’s presence.

    Lindsay – yes. But my computer hard drive crashed for the second time in a month that same evening. So I haven’t blogged it. Yet. Love love love that show.

  7. cubeland Mystic says

    American priests see no signs of Satan since the mountains of dead babies obscure their views.


    Irish Priest: A squall limey demons blew into the land from the east, and have never been cast out.

    The mystic sees signs of Satan all the time at the office. If you could only see the wonderful generic possibilities that the corporate mind has planned for you. Word to the wise–never get off the conveyor-belt.

  8. Santiago – no no, you miss the point. Of course they’re hasty generalizations. It’s just awesome that he looked to art for his undeniable proofs of Satan’s presence.

    Ohhh. I see. That *is* interesting.

  9. Matthew,

    I was going to say, a la USCCB:

    American preist says Republican Party is sign of Satan.

    But for 40 prolife bishops, that’s just not true….

    Oh, but I won’t get political – I have enough venom for both parties, by the way!

    Still, it’s what defines the “American Priest” – his political animus – and so maybe I’ll just put it in Thomistic terms:

    “American Preist says that the perverse governing by party faction (as long as it’s not his party) is sign of Satan…”


  10. Matthew,

    Was Fr. Gill not rockin?

    And Peggy’s “talk” with Pete?

    Love it…delicious.

  11. cubeland Mystic says

    No comedy for a moment.

    I often puzzled why I feel a sense of impending doom. We have a very good income here at the cubeland monastary. We have well-to-do secular friends. We even have some nice Catholic friends. We live in a good neighborhood, and the kids go to a good public school. We have no debt. So far health is with us.

    So what is the problem?

    I am pretty sure that it is the unending stream of information that is counter to our Catholic faith. For example, the other day I went to Costo, On one side of the intersection is a giant billboard for a XXX Porn Shop on the other side is an equally big one for the Sports Radio AM with all the local sports teams. The cheerleaders were in uniform, holding their respective balls. I’ll be damned if the 4 cheerleaders were not dressed more seductively and revealed more than the 1 porn girl on the other side of the intersection.

    Not only the sex, there is a constant stream of violence and harshness in the media. Our politics are scary because they appeal to emotions rather than logic. Hate and fear. We have no cable so I don’t see things like MTV or the younger generation stuff. So I have no idea what is going on there, but I cannot imagine it is good.

    So how does a Catholic relax when you are surrounded by the mists of evil?

  12. notrelatedtoted says

    “So how does a Catholic relax when you are surrounded by the mists of evil?”

    I heard an interview with Ted Nugent on the radio the other morning. His answer is to “pray for good bombing weather.” He noted that every good man should see every day as a literal battle of good vs. evil. And regarding those who see no evil, he asks that they “either load my gun, or get out of the way.”

    Granted, his world view does not leave much room for mercy or redemption, but a jarring sentiment nonetheless.

  13. So how does a Catholic relax when you are surrounded by the mists of evil?

    Because the Resurrection has happened.

  14. And, to your point Santiago, in spite of it all, we are worth saving. Which speaks to the fundamental goodness of what God has created. mcm

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