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The Curé d'Ars and the Protestant

Elaine Marie Jordan

Today we are told conversion isn’t necessary - the important thing is that we are all good people, and love Jesus Christ. This isn’t what the Church taught in the past, as evidenced in this encounter of the Saint John Vianney with a Protestant. We can also see the good results of this intransigent, charitable position.
One day the saintly Curé d'Ars was visited by a Protestant gentleman. The good priest, thinking he was a Catholic, began to speak to him about Our Lord and the Saints, as he was accustomed to do with all who came to see him.

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The Cure d'Ars did not have the ecumenical spirit
As the man rose to leave, the Saint gave him a medal as a small remembrance of his visit.

The gentleman said to him: “Dear sir, you have given a medal to one who is a heretic – at least, I am a heretic from your point of view. But although we are not of the same religion, I hope we shall both be in Heaven one day.”

St. John Vianney took the man’s hand in his own and, giving him a penetrating look, answered: “Alas, my friend. We cannot be together in Heaven unless we have begun to live so in this world. Death makes no change in that. As the tree falls, so shall it lie.”

“But, my good Father,” replied the other, “I put my trust in Jesus Christ, Who said, ‘He that believes in Me shall have eternal life.’”

The priest answered: “Jesus Christ said many more things than that. He also said, ‘He that does not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican.’ And he also said, ‘There shall be one fold and one shepherd,’ and He made St. Peter the chief shepherd of His flock.”

Then he added, “My dear friend, there are not two ways of serving Jesus Christ. There is only one good way, and that is to serve Him as He Himself desires to be served.”

Saying this, the priest left the man. But these words sank deeply into the Protestant’s heart, and led him to renounce the errors in which he had been brought up, and he became a fervent Catholic.

Canon Howe, The Catechist,
South Bend, Indiana: Marian Publications, 1976, pp. 340-341
Posted November 28, 2008

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