Item description for The Cure D'Ars Today: St John Vianney by George William Rutler...
Overview In the Cure of Ars, we have an incomparable guide. He remains for all an unequalled model both of the carrying out of the ministry and of the holiness of the minister.
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Studio: Ignatius Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.2" Width: 4.79" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.64 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 1988
Publisher Ignatius Press
ISBN 0898701805 ISBN13 9780898701807 UPC 008987018056
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More About George William Rutler
George William Rutler is a Catholic priest and pastor of the Church of Our Saviour in the heart of Manhattan. He is the author of numerous books and is a regular contributor to scholarly journals. For more than 25 years his programs have been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. A graduate of Dartmouth, he also holds degrees from Johns Hopkins, Rome, and Oxford.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Cure D'Ars Today: St John Vianney?
Piety comes and goes, stupidity remains. But not always. Dec 29, 2007
This is an intriguing and pious treatment of St. John Vianney [1786-1859], but the book defies easy categorization. The outline is clearly the life of the mystical French parish priest best known for his extraordinary grace as a confessor, but the author has skillfully set Vianney in the aftermath of the "troubles" of his country--the Revolution, the Gallican Church controversy, Napoleon--while from time to time speculating on Vianney's spirituality and pastoral approaches vis-à-vis the post-Vatican II era.
George William Rutler is honest about his feelings toward the Enlightenment. In an extensive appendix he provides an overview of the French Church and its relationships with the succession of governments from Louis XVI and beyond. In Rutler's view the "Daughter of the Church" was hardly the virginal bride, with most of its clergy and bishops nondescript and woefully lacking in vision and piety. Thomas Mores and John Fishers were hard to come by. Vianney's formative years run concurrent with a quarter-century ecclesiastical malaise, most noticeably in France but in actuality through much of Western Europe.
Rutler describes Vianney's youth as the age of "the home church," when domestic instruction and prayer carried faithful Frenchmen through a period of persecution, ambivalent priests [or no priests at all, in many circumstances.] He learned to farm but not to read, as Rutler puts it, though his early sense of a priestly calling compelled him to master reading skills, albeit with very modest success. His vocational aspirations were nearly derailed by military draft. For two years Vianney lived underground to avoid conscription. Rutler argues that the Napoleonic cause, poisoned, as it were, with assaults on the lands and the office of the papacy, was beneath the dignity of this pious young man.
If there were religious superiors of character in France at this time, Vianney was fortunate to have encountered them in his formative steps to orders. His piety and faith, if not his book learning, seemed have been the deciding factors in his tenuous approval for ordination. Many years later, in my own lifetime, a seminary rector commented to me that "piety comes and goes, stupidity remains forever." Vianney would be the exception to the rule.
Once ordained, Vianney would serve a brief and rather successful term as an assistant pastor at Ecully until he received his own parish in Ars. Ars in fact had but one church--and seven saloons. The church had recently served as a shrine to the Goddess of Reason, among other things. If anything the residents of Ars were perplexed to see a pastor who actually cared about ringing the bells, providing instruction, and preparing his sermons. As is often the case, pastoral solicitude was not initially welcomed or understood by a people unbothered by matters of the soul, and episodes of enmity from time to time were not unheard of.
But Vianney's gift as a confessor, a trait already noticeable at Ecully, soon became noteworthy in Ars as well. Rutler tends to assume that Vianney's remarkably austere life and spiritually are at its heart, and naturally there is truth to this. His fame reached far beyond Ars, but it is hard to gauge what contemporaries really thought of him. I was disappointed that the author did not say more about Vianney's ritual and practice within the confessional rite. For example, did Vianney have a rare perceptive psychological skill set that prompted his penitents to unburden their most secret crimes, vices, and sinful attitudes?
For Rutler, the cause is less important than the effects. Not only did Vianney save individual souls, but he seemed engaged in a struggle for the reign of God itself in Ars, a turmoil that brought him face to face with Satan. Rutler treats of the demonic assaults upon the saint with appropriate balance, much as the Evangelists did in recounting Christ's words and deeds of the kingdom. Vianney also wrestled within himself. On three distinct occasions Vianney tried to flee Ars. Again, it is not clear precisely why. The most likely reason is his celebrity status as a confessor, which he probably found annoying and distracting. But most likely, the strain of confessional encounter, coupled with a profound sense of humility and inadequacy, led him to possible scrupulous fear that his penitential ministry just might be an outrageous affront to God in the sacramental forum. To his credit, he recognized these temptations and urges for what they were and did not succumb to them.
Rutler's style is philosophical and meditational. He has a love [some might say a lust] for reversing familiar phrases to extract new meanings. While his sympathies lie with a triumphal Church, he is candid in his assessments about bishops and popes who compromised the holiness of the Church by opportunism, pride, fear, or intellectual arrogance. Vianney, in this framework, represents a restoration of the true dignity and spirituality of Holy Orders, a man unsullied by the type of "enlightenment" that muddled many pulpits in his day.
One of the purposes of this book is a restoration of the Sacrament of Penance. Writing in 1988 Rutler could not help but notice the disappearance of personal confession from Roman Catholic life. Rather than rail about it, the author includes a second appendix, the sermons of Pope John Paul II given during a retreat for priests at Ars in October, 1986. The talks themselves are revitalizing and nurturing, a reflection of Vianney's exhortations to see parochial sacramental life as the extension of the Reign of God. Rutler comments that when the event was announced, a number of priests protested to the Vatican on the grounds that Vianney was not an appropriate model for the priest of today. There is sadness in hearing of this, but the author does his best to make things right by giving us a heartwarming sense of what we are missing in contemporary parish life.
A profound meditation on the saint Aug 12, 2007
This book is not really a biography. Indeed, a reader should come to it with a fair amount of prior knowledge not only of the saint's life, but of his culture as well. It resembles our own.
Rather, Mr. Rutler has given us a meditation on the meaning of the priesthood. Where today, when we seek a priest at all, we seek counsel (in the modern sense recognized by the psychologist and the social worker), the villagers of Ars lacked, without realizing it, a spiritual father. They found one in the Cure, who knew he would have to account to his Lord for every lost soul.
We need such priests: men less quick to resort to psychological fad to excuse their parishioners and more willing to speak of evil, hell, and redemption in Jesus Christ. Rutler's conception of the priesthood is as heroic as it is unabashedly paternal. I am certain that if we returned to this conception, vocations would increase ten-fold: boys naturally want to be fathers and heroes. The moment they see a real specimen of either they instantly recognize and want to act on this desire.
My only complaint regards Fr. Rutler's adherence to Chesterton as a model of prose style. Paradox is interesting when used sparingly but often obscures the reality an author is trying to illustrate. Too often, Fr. Rutler allows a shimmering axiom to obscure by its brilliance the more substantial glow of surrounding exposition.
A Musical Masterpiece Feb 20, 2007
This is a very great book, and a true Masterpiece. I was deeply moved by its beauty and depth. Rutler uses language like a great composer without losing the central theme. He adds a new dimension to Saint John Vianney and brings to life the pristine soul of "The Cure D'Ars".
Literary & Spiritual Feast Feb 13, 2007
I must agree with a previous reviewer; if you are looking for a biography of St. John Marie Vianney, this is not the book for you. However, if you would like to read about the message and meaning of the Cure's life, how it applies to Christians of his time and Christians today, then this book will provide all you need.
If diction alone could convey the truth of a message, this sublime work would be enough to convince any of the truth of Catholicism. As it is, the book conveys spiritual truths through Rutler's lofty prose as a feast for mind and soul.
It is not an easy read, and certainly takes some digesting. Nevertheless, it is well worth the read.
If you like to be preached to, this is the book for you! Mar 23, 2005
I purchased this book thinking I would be able to read about the Cure of Ars. I had to wade through 9/10 preaching and platitudes to read the 1/10 of the book about the Cure. If you are wanting a biography of the Cure, this is NOT the book for you. If you are conservative Catholic or christian, you may appreciate the ramblings of the author and his opinions about everything from feminism to Pope John-Paul's speeches.