My friend, père René Laurentin RIP – Genesis 3:15, Exorcism, Mariology

PIB Rome

Father René Laurentin (RIP – October 19, 1917 – September 10, 2017). See his wiki. His doctoral work, a collection of the comments of the Fathers of the Church throughout the early centuries throughout the ancient world in whatever ancient language specifically on Genesis 3:15, duly received a footnote in my own thesis on Genesis. We both have our publications on the shelves of the PBI. I thank him for his dedication and patience in putting such an opus together. No small feat. A real treasure.

I first got to know Father Laurentin in the 1990s at a world wide get-together of exorcists across the crater from Castel Gondolfo. We had quite the discussion about the title to a paper I wrote for the occasion on exorcism legislation in Canon Law. The title was in Greek, citing Mk 5:7:  ὁρκίζω σε τὸν θεόν. It’s actually Satan who, incredibly, makes brave to speak those words, attempting stupidly to put Jesus under an exorcism in the name of God the Father. Father Laurentin couldn’t wrap his mind around the double accusative in the Greek. To my shame, I admit that I decided on that title on purpose, knowing it was tricky. I’m evil and bad. Sorry Father. Please forgive me. I was young and rambunctious. Father Laurentin has also written on exorcism, as one might have predicted from his work on Genesis 3:15. Good for him.

There were other occasions for us to have a good chat, such as when I was a permanent chaplain at Lourdes. It was his practice to stay with the chaplains when he came to Lourdes. I asked him about his equivocation of religion and nationality for those in the former Yugoslavia, saying that, instead, the locals knew the difference between the two, with the upshot being that his publicized and controversial rationalization for apparent religious indifferentism proposed by the “apparition” in Medjugorje was illegitimate and that the “apparition” was wrong to have such a laissez-faire ecclesiology. I know he was already older at that time, but I wanted to give him a chance to recant. Pope Francis did the right thing.

Then there was the time I met Father Laurentin at the very top of the tower of “Vatican Bank”, and before that, up in the Apostolic Palace, a number of times…

Father is a complex figure. We are all that, complex. Some of his writings I didn’t much like, others I did like, a lot. Apart from that…

Father Laurentin was always the gentleman, always the scholar, always sincerely devoted to Our Lady and to making known in his own way heaven’s care for us, just what you might expect from a good priest. I wish there were more like him.

So, here’s the words of the Rector of Lourdes:

Le Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Lourdes
Published on Sep 11, 2017

Le Père André Cabes, recteur du Sanctuaire de Lourdes, rend hommage au Père René Laurentin, le grand historien des apparitions de Lourdes, décédé dimanche 10 septembre 2017, à l’âge de 99 ans. Une vidéo de L. Jarneau pour le site internet du Sanctuaire http://www.lourdes-france.org

C’est Mgr Théas, l’évêque du Centenaire des apparitions de Lourdes (en 1958), qui l’avait sollicité pour que l’on puisse disposer d’une histoire de Lourdes solidement établie : « Lourdes n’a besoin que de vérité ! ». Il a commencé par offrir le magnifique petit volume, Sens de Lourdes, chaleureusement salué par l’évêque : «Cher Monsieur le Professeur, j’ai le souvenir de vous avoir dit ou écrit que vous seriez le théologien de Lourdes. Après la lecture de votre essai, je constate que vous réalisez ma prédiction au-delà de mes espérances… Je veux spécialement vous remercier pour ce que vous dites sur l’ordonnance des apparitions et leur développement progressif. C’est du nouveau et c’est très suggestif… Rien n’a été écrit d’aussi beau, ni d’aussi lumineux. Vraiment, après vous avoir lu, on découvre mieux la solidité et le sérieux du pèlerinage. Vous révélez le mystère de Lourdes et sa place dans la vie de l’Eglise…»

L’abbé Laurentin a pu lire les carnets du commissaire retraçant les interrogatoires de Bernadette, et ainsi sont apparues dans leur ordre les paroles de Marie, dessinant un parcours de catéchèse priante. Après l’Histoire des Apparitions, ce fut l’étude des «paroles» de Bernadette, avec l’aide des sœurs de Nevers, et sa vie écrite pour le centenaire de sa mort, en 1979.

L’abbé Laurentin fut expert au Concile Vatican II, et a contribué à l’élaboration des pages écrites sur la Bienheureuse Vierge Marie dans la Mystère du Christ et de l’Eglise. C’est qu’il était un exégète, ayant fait de très beaux commentaires de l’Ecriture, notamment de l’Evangile de l’enfance selon saint Luc. Sa double thèse, en lettres et en théologie, avait porté sur Marie, l’Eglise et le sacerdoce : là aussi des propos solides et très éclairants, qui se prolongeront en de multiples ouvrages.

A partir de là, bien sûr, l’abbé Laurentin a été très sollicité en de nombreux endroits du monde entier comme spécialiste de la Vierge Marie, du phénomène des Apparitions, et de bien des manifestations du surnaturel. Ce que nous retenons et admirons, c’est la solidité du théologien, le sérieux de l’historien, l’agilité du journaliste, capable de transmettre ce qu’il avait si profondément travaillé. Je voudrais souligner la ferveur du croyant, témoin du bonheur de l’autre monde, promis par Marie à Bernadette.

5 Comments

Filed under Apparitions, Priesthood, Vocations

5 responses to “My friend, père René Laurentin RIP – Genesis 3:15, Exorcism, Mariology

  1. James Anderson

    Any English translations available?

  2. Father George David Byers

    Google translate?

  3. My chrome gave me the option to translate it

  4. elizdelphi

    I think I have talked a friend of mine out of going to Medjugorje with some other old friends of hers, she didn’t really believe in it and wanted to go out of a more general devotion to Mary and because those are good friends, but didn’t realize how bad some of the Medj stuff is till I pointed some especially irrational things out to her, like the alternative birthday of Mary which she found quite preposterous.

    I wish i could find a theologically excellent author who wrote about Mary in terms that I could relate to well.

  5. Father George David Byers

    Hint hint. You write well.

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