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Papal frontrunner warns against the devil
    One of Italy's most senior churchmen, considered a possible successor to Pope John Paul II, has attracted controversy for his insistence that the devil is a reality, The Tablet reports.
    In 'The Great Tempter', his 28-page Lenten meditation on Jesus' 40 days in the desert, the Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa, Dionigi Tettamanzi, offers a 10-step 'strategy' for resisting the tempter's guile.
    The first three points are: do not deny that the devil exists; do not deny that the devil is a tempter; and do not deny that the devil is intelligent and astute.
    Cardinal Tettamanzi, who may become Archbishop of Milan if Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini retires next year, also recommends vigilance and fortitude, a firm belief in Christ's victory over Satan, attentiveness to the word of God, humility and mortification, and ceaseless prayer.
    A radical theology centre in Milan has criticised the cardinal's Lenten letter as medieval. Blaming the devil, argues the independent Centre for Theological Studies in Milan, 'can become an excuse for shifting responsibility away from people'. Over the centuries , 'the Church has made use of the devil to persecute witches, heretics, homosexuals and other cultural minorities', La Reppublica reported a centre spokesman as saying.
    The cardinal's pastoral letter is available in Italian on his diocesan website.