Fr. Paul D. Scalia: Three Faces of Evil

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*Image: Initial D: The Fool with Two Demons (detail) in a psalter, illuminations by the Master of the Ingeborg Psalter, after 1205. (Ms. 66, fol. 56) [The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA]

By Fr. Paul D. Scalia, The Catholic Thing, Feb. 26, 2026

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and Pastor of Saint James in Falls Church. He is the author of That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion and the editor of Sermons in Times of Crisis: Twelve Homilies to Stir Your Soul.


In his account of our Lord’s temptations, Saint Matthew uses three different words for the Evil One. (Mt 4:1-11) In addition to the devil he also uses the tempter and Satan. Each title or name reveals something different about how the Evil One assaults us and – more importantly – how we allow ourselves to be led into sin.

The Greek word diabolos (devil) means a false accuser or slanderer. It comes from dia-ballein, which means to throw apart. After all, a slanderer is someone who confuses things, throws them into confusion, and leads to false accusations. A diabolos is someone who brings disorder and division – which is an accurate description of the Devil’s work. In fact, it’s a fair summary not just of all that he does but all that he can do. …

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