Father Arturo Sosa, superior general of the Society of Jesus, said Satan is “not a person” but only a “symbolic reality.”
“Evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who ‘throws himself across’ God’s plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 2851
In an interview given last week with Italian magazine Tempi, Sosa contentiously said the devil exists
“exists as the personification of evil in different structures, but not in persons, because is not a person, is a way of acting evil. He is not a person like a human person. It is a way of evil to be present in human life.”
Sosa’s interview was given after he participated in a discussion at an event in Rimini, Italy, organized by the Italian Catholic movement the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. The Jesuit leader said Satan is a “symbol,” not a reality.
“Good and evil are in a permanent war in the human conscience and we have ways to point them out. We recognize God as good, fully good. Symbols are part of reality, and the devil exists as a symbolic reality, not as a personal reality.”
Sosa first called Satan a symbol in a 2017 interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
“We have formed symbolic figures such as the devil to express evil. Social conditioning can also represent this figure, since there are people who act in an evil way because they are in an environment where it is difficult to act to the contrary.”