So, on Saturday, the leader of the Catholic church, Pope Francis closed a month-long gathering of catholic bishops in Rome.

And as he had inferred before now, concerning the sexual abuse scandal that has greeted the church, the pope once again blamed the devil for the many problems of the Christian church across the world.

He said the church is under attack by the devil and urged bishops from around the world to defend the institution because “you don’t touch a mother.”

“Our mother, [the Church] is holy, but we the children are sinners,” he said. “Sinners, all of us. Let’s not forget this expression from the fathers [of the Church]: The Church is holy, the Mother is holy, with children who are sinners.”

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“At this moment, [the devil] is accusing us very strongly,” the pope said. “And this accusation becomes persecution.”

This persecution can take the form of violence against Christians, as the one lived in regions in the Middle East, which was referenced before the pope’s remarks by Iraqi Cardinal Raphael Sako. But, Francis said, this persecution can take other shapes, “constant accusations, to dirty the Church.”

Although Francis did not spell it out, many observers are likely to take those words as a reference, at least in part, to the massive clerical sexual abuse scandals that have gripped the Catholic Church in various parts of the world in recent months.

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