It may surprise some Catholics to learn just how literally the modern Church interprets Satan and his army of demons. While many people today understand the devil as a metaphor for sin, temptation, and unresolvable evil in the world, the pope consistently repudiates such allegorical readings.
In sermons, interviews, and occasionally in tweets, Pope Francis has declared that Satan—whom he has referred to as Beelzebub, the Seducer, and the Great Dragon—is a literal being devoted to deceiving and debasing humans. In an apostolic exhortation released in April, he wrote, “We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea,” but rather as a “personal being who assails us.”
It surprises me that there would be Catholics that don’t know this. I thought it was common knowledge that Catholics take transubstantiation, etc. literally. (Ew, by the way.)
Maybe what the Atlantic means is that there may be some liberal readers who love Pope Francis because he thinks that condoms might sort of be an acceptable way to stop the spread of STDs will be surprised by the fact that Our Hero the Pope believes in the Great Dragon.