Skip to comments.Bishop Olmsted on the Devil and John Vianney
Posted on 08/20/2009 3:21:56 PM PDT by NYer
Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted says a lot of things in his column this week that would have got him labeled a loon in my high school Theology class. But that was in the 80s when the real loons were teaching high school Theology.
We were taught not to take stories of miracles or the existence of the devil as literal. Such beliefs and talk were “mysto-babble” and indicative of an immature faith. We needed to get to the allegorical sense and to help us there we were given exhaustive naturalistic explanations of the miracles in the Bible. (note: My school was not in this diocese.)
It’s not surprising then that most of my classmates ended up thinking the Catholic Church was a lot of bull – That’s what we were taught.
Happily for the people of Phoenix, they have a very different kind of teacher in Bishop Olmsted. Continuing his series on the Year for Priests, Bishop Olmsted looks at the devil in the life of St. John Vianney, excerpts:
Satanic attacks were commonplace in the life of Fr. John Vianney. For 35 years, the devil taunted and harassed him, not only in spiritual ways but even in tangible and audible ones. These latter, demonic acts normally are quite rare. But, by the influence of the devil, the Cure of Ars’ bed was moved about, crashing noises resounded, fires were ignited, and other harassments occurred, all in an effort to stop or at least to curtail the priestly ministry of Fr. Vianney. . .
. . . Fallen angels, also known as devils and evil spirits, try to hinder all of us in our pursuit of holiness. Their ordinary ploy is by means of temptations, which God allows so that we can make good use of our freedom in resisting them and thus growing to fuller maturity in Christ.
In addition to these ordinary ploys, demons resort to other extraordinary acts, on rare occasions, with the same intention of thwarting the plan of God and undercutting our filial trust in Him. These harassments can be of three kinds: infestations, obsessions and possessions.
With infestations, the devil makes use of noises, outcries, rattling, apparitions and other extraordinary outbursts of some sensible nature aimed at terrifying people, intending to undercut their confidence in God. He used these repeatedly on the Cure of Ars, sometimes to keep him from getting badly needed sleep, at other times to disturb his peace of mind and to try to shake his trust in God. All these were aimed at disrupting the effective ministry of this holy priest.
Early on, Fr. Vianney became aware that these infestations were most outrageous just before an outstanding action of grace was about to occur through his priestly ministry, usually the conversion of a sinner. In fact, he remarked that the worst assaults of the devil happened when he was on the verge of “landing a big fish,” by which he meant welcoming back a baptized person who had fallen far into the darkness of despair. With this insight, Fr. Vianney calmly ignored the infestations, and looked forward with joyful hope to the next victory of grace about to occur through the Sacrament of Penance.
Read on to see why Bishop Olmsted believes, “It could be said that the priesthood is not fully understandable except in contrast with the work of the devil.”
The Devil attacked Padre Pio with numerous types of temptations. Padre Augustine also confirmed that the Devil appeared to him under many different forms. "The Devil appeared as young girls that danced naked, as a crucifix, as a young friend of the monks, as the Spiritual Father or as the Provincial Father; as Pope Pius X, a Guardian Angel, as St. Francis and as Our Lady. The Devil has also appeared in his horrible forms with an army of infernal spirits. There were other times when Padre Pio was approached by the Devil but without any apparition. He was troubled with deafening noises and covered with spittle, etc. Padre Pio succeeded in freeing himself from these attacks of the Devil by invoking the name of Jesus.
The struggle between Padre Pio and Satan became more difficult when Padre Pio freed the souls possessed by the Devil. Father Tarcisio of Cervinara said, "More than once, before leaving the body of a possessed, the Devil has shouted, "Padre Pio, you give us more trouble than St. Michael"; also, "Father Pio don't steal the bodies from us and we won't bother you."
Anyone interested in demonic infestation and possession should read Malachi Martin’s “Hostage to the Devil.” The five cases detailed there are convincing and deeply unsettling.
Novena In Honor Of Saint John Marie Vianney
Curé d'Ars: Model Priest [Year of the Priest]
Pope: There's an Answer to Empty Confessionals [Catholic Caucus]
St. John Vianney's Pastoral Plan
Sermons of St. John Vianney - Cure of Ars » Lost Works
Sermons of St. John Vianney - Cure of Ars » Have You Religion in Your Heart?
Sermons of St. John Vianney - Cure of Ars: The Dreadful State of the Lukewarm Soul (Catholic Caucus)
Play about life of St. John Vianney to tour U.S. in 2009
Aug 4, St. John Marie Vianney - Patron of Parish Priests
Centuries Old Relic (heart of St. John Vianney) Comes To U.S.
Sainted priests heart - Thousands await chance to see incorrupt relic
Saint's heart to go on display
Excerpts from the Sermons of the Cure of Ars
St. John Vianneys Pastoral Plan
Relics of Curé of Ars Make Stop in Papal Chapel
HOMILY by St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars CHARITY
St John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests(1786-1859)[Cure of Ars]
News from the Apostolic Administration of St. John Vianney Fall 2002, Volume 1 - Number 1
The Cure Of Ars: Jean-Marie Vianney
Oh, how great is a priest!" [The Curé d'Ars regarding bishops/priests)
The book “Evidence of Satan in the Modern World” by Msgr. Leon Cristiani, originally published in the 1950’s, has a chapter discussing St. John Vianney’s harassment by demons. Makes for very interesting reading.
Very easily, these harassments by the devil can be misunderstood and even exploited by sensationalist segments of the media or by enemies of the Church. For that reason, the Church avoids publicity about them and handles each case without fanfare.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.