Father Rene was born in Tours, France on October 19, 1917 to Marie and Maurice Laurentin, an architect. After finishing his secondary studies at the Institution of Sainte Marie de Chole, he entered the Seminary in Paris at the Catholic Institute in October 1934 at the age of 17 where he excelled in his studies, specifically Philosophy, specializing in Saint Thomas Aquinas. In 1938 he earned a degree in Philosophy from the Sorbonne. He was studying Theology when he was called by his country to serve in the military. World War II was looming and he realized his duty, becoming a military officer in the French Army. After being held a prisoner of war in Germany, he was finally freed and received the dual citations of the Cross of War and the Legion of Honor, two of the highest a French soldier can receive.
Despite the hardships of war, his resolve to be a priest had not waned. He enrolled in the University de Son Oflag to pursue his studies, taking Hebrew and Mariology under the tutorship of the renowned Dominican Father Genevois. In July 1946 he attained his degree in Theology and was ordained a priest on December 8, 1946 in Paris by Bishop Blanchet, then the rector of the Catholic Institute. Because of his learned thesis, he was encouraged to continue writing and extended on the thesis he had written on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the role she had played throughout Europe. In 1952 he received his Doctorate in Mariology from the Sorbonne on June 7, 1952, followed by another Doctorate in Theology where he graduated cum singulari prosus laude on February 9, 1953 from the Catholic Institute of Paris.
In October 1955 he was named Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of Angers and taught Mariology to the Franciscans that same year. He became Vice President of the Society of French Studies of Mary in 1962. That same year he was he was a periti or expert at the Second Vatican Council after being named a consultant for the preparatory commissions two years before in 1960. He wrote much of the Marian Doctrine in the Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican II. Also during this time he studied meticulously on various apparitions and served as a correspondent for Le Figaro, writing numerous stories and editorials on the Council and then the election of Pope Paul VI. He wrote several articles and thesis from 1963 to 1972 on Vatican II and Synods.
The more he became known, the more others sought him out, recognizing how knowledgable he was in Theology and Mariology. Those experts on Lourdes and Fatima had gone to him rather than the opposite, for his reputation preceded him. Always Father Rene was willing to listen and absorb all he could. He has produced in-depth treatises on Lourdes, Fatima, Pontmain and countless other apparitions throughout Europe and the world.
In 1981 the Vatican authorized him to study the writings of Yvonne-Aime de Malestroit who was under consideration by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He published eight volumes on the candidate. Throughout Father Rene's illustrious life he has been a guest lecturer at numerous universities throughout the world including summer tenure at the University of Dayton in Ohio as a visiting lecturer for well over twenty years as well as Marymount University in Washington, D.C. He is also a member of the Theology Faculty at the University of Florence and the University of Milan. He has been singled out and honored by Pope John Paul II, having enjoyed numerous personal audiences and consultations with the Holy Father. In addition he has appeared internationally on radio and television in France, America, Germany, Argentina, Canada, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, the Soviet Union and Venezuela. He has written over 2,000 articles, mostly for Le Figaro, a major publication in France and Chretians Magazine.
He has long understood the meaning of the messages from the Mother of God, beginning at Rue de Bac in his own country and has followed with extreme interest almost every reported apparition, locutionist, messenger, etc. over the past 40 years, writing extensive works on so many, specifically Medjugorje with his first work in 1984. This was only three years after the apparitions had begun which purportedly continue today as well. He has written many subsequent works on Medjugorje, many translated for his English books by our good friend Juan Gonzalez of Houston. Some of these are "Latest News of Medjugorje" (1987), "Scientific and Medical Studies on the Apparitions" (1988), "Seven Years of Apparitions: Time for Harvest?" (1988), "Is the Virgin Mary appearing at Medjugorje?" (1990), "Learning from Medjugorje: What is Truth?" (1992), "Apparitions at Medjugorje Prolonged: A Merciful Delay for a World in Danger" (1992), "Medjugorje - Thirteen Years Later" (1994), "Ten Years of Apparitions" (1991), and "War - Love Your Enemies - Medjugorje" (1994).
Father Rene has been the champion of many lesser known apparitions and mystic phenomena which gave more credence to them because of his expertise in the face of opposition from others who had no proof, many times going only on their own opinions. Many have tried to destroy Medjugorje, San Nicholas, Scottsdale, even Vassula Ryden but have not been able to legitimately discredit these apparitions and messages because of the wisdom and logic imparted by Father Rene who understands the history of apparitions and how God works in conveying Heavenly messages to His children. Father Rene realizes that often the style of each visionary is different and people can easily find fault with the messenger, but if they cannot with the messages - then that is the key to it being more authentic than others think. Father Rene reasons that a messenger's humanity works to show that often it is from God and how God works with that person in the fashion of an oxen cart where both need to pull the cart. God and man need to work together to accomplish His Divine Will.
In 1990 he wrote on the Apparitions of San Nicolas in Argentina - "An Appeal from Mary in Argentina: The Apparition of San Nicolas." His findings helped the local bishop approve the apparitions at the local level. In 1993 Father Rene wrote an excellent piece on "Read the Bible with Mary". That same year he wrote on the Apparitions at Saint Maria Goretti parish in Scottsdale, Arizona where Father Jack Spaulding was pastor. The book was "Our Lord and Our Lady in Scottsdale: Fruitful Charisms in a Traditional American Parish." Father Laurentin also released in 1993 a "When God gives a Sign: A Response to Objections made against Vassula's Testimony on True Life in God." This was about Vassula Ryden, one of the more controversial messengers of our time. Two years later he followed that with a book entitled "Who is Vassula?" In 1996, fifteen years after writing 8 volumes about the nun Yvonne Aimee, he wrote the book "La Sainte enfance" on the childhood of the saint-to-be.
He has also written on "Pilgrims, Sanctuaries, Icons, Apparitions" and "The Way of the Cross in Santa Maria, California" as well as his masterpiece "The Cause of Liberation in the USSR." In addition he has authored "A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary" and "The Truth of Christmas Beyond the Myths: The Gospels of the Infancy of Christ" as well as countless other works and articles. All in all he has written over 100 books on various subjects of Mary, Apparitions and Church Doctrine.
According to theologians and experts the world over there is no one more of an authority on discernment than Father Rene Laurentin who today is an Abbot as well. He has written extensively on Saint Bernadette Soubirous, Saint Louis Marie de Grignion de Montfort, Saint Catherine Laboure and the newest Doctor of the Church Saint Therese of Lisieux which were published well before she was proclaimed a Doctor. In fact, many say Father Rene's works helped in the Little Flower's promotion to that august title.
Overall many also consider this 82 year-old priest the champion of Marian Apparitions the world over and he is flattered by such plaudits, but what means more to L'Abbe Laurentin is that he is doing it for God and His Blessed Mother for he truly recognizes the urgency of the times and God's purpose in sending Our Lady to His children in such multitudes of appearances and messages during the later hours of this second millennium. Father Rene realizes the urgency of Our Lady's words and is doing all he can, as his fiat to God and His Heavenly Mother to separate the wheat from the chaff so all can benefit from God's Love and Mercy. L'Abbe Laurentin understands this clearly and his goal is to clear the cobwebs of doubters when he believes something is truly from God.
Or is it?!? Better for who? Would you believe satan? You better believe it for the evil one is fostering a generation that prides itself on demeaning others, on devaluing human life through the virtual reality of zapping someone or getting zapped in the mind-bending trips through mazes and dungeons of video games where death is heartless and the meaner, more aggressive one becomes, the better chance of survival. That's what these horror films preach - survival at all costs, even if it means sacrificing your brother or sister to save your own hide. Quite a contrast to Sunday's Gospel Message in Matthew 23, 37-40 in which Our Lord charges that we must love our neighbor as ourselves. That same message has been hammered home by His Holiness Pope John Paul II throughout his pontificate, especially in his catechesis talks over the past several weeks during his regular weekly Wednesday Papal Audiences. Yes, quite a contrast to the Halloween message being permeated by the media, Hollywood and Madison Avenue today. No wonder we are fostering a self-centered generation today. No matter how many values and virtues we have tried to instill in our children, the lure of the world is so powerful that it overshadows the good. It can be so frustrating when one turns on the television to enjoy a program like "Touched by an Angel" or a news program and be bombarded with promos for some of the most grotesque and, often times, obscene scenes of upcoming movies or TV programs where anything goes as they push it to the very edge and beyond. There was a tremendous brouhaha this past week over a scatological word uttered on "Chicago Hope" - something shocking for network TV but mild for cable and the movie genre. Heck, we can remember when the "I Love Lucy" Show could not even say the word "pregnant" or show one bed, let alone a bathroom of any kind. Today, bathrooms are as common place in films as the proverbial strip club scene where the stars are discussing a case they're investigating while amazon endowed strippers gyrate above them and behind them. Often the characters featured aren't paying any attention to the show, but the directors make sure the audience sees this gratuitous nudity. Why? Adam and Eve were embarassed at their nudity after their fall and rushed to cover up. Shouldn't we strive to do likewise and hope and encourage others to do the same? While the body is something beautiful God created, it is not to be considered an object or be leered at lustfully. When the temple of the Holy Spirit is treated as an object of lust then both the offender and the person placed in temptation are guilty of sin. But this escapes those who produce scurrilous magazines and films today.
Speaking of movies, teens can't seem to get enough nudity and sex in their films or on television in their daily entertainment menu. Each year producers, directors and writers, as well as the actors and actresses try to go a step further in shocking audiences. And speaking of shock, teens today are agog over "The Blair Witch Project", a psychological, badly produced mockumentary that scares the living daylights out of people. Why? Why do satanic movies such as "Seven" and the new "The Bone Collector" draw so many people into its clutches? Is lucifer that enticing? We would hope not. But take a look at Hollywood and the commercials today as well as the media. The whole Monica Lewinsky episode was leud and obscene and the media showed such a double standard in perpetuating the details on innocent youth that they are as guilty as the offenders - Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, the man who should set the example for virtue as the President of the United States. But we all know the latter is already in satan's clutches, having sold his soul to the devil and sentencing millions of innocent unborns to death as well as mocking the Ten Commandments. But how many others, especially our youth, have sold their soul to the devil by subscribing to this self-destructing culture of horror films and obscenity, the demeaning of human dignity?
The recent proliferation of pro wrestling is a good example of how far society has gone. Remember the Romans and the Christians? The gladiator mentality has permeated society today with these behemoths of the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling, two titans who vie for the youth's attention and dollars on competing cable networks several times a week with such frenetic titles as "Raw," "Nitro," and "Smackdown." Women parade to the ring in the skimpiest of costumes, leaving nothing to the imagination which is their intent in demeaning the dignity of womanhood. The more blood and gore, the more violence and head bashing the louder they roar as the fans are stirred into a frenzy by steroid-bulked warriors in briefs spilling out of the squared ring into the stands, aisles and lobbies pummeling each other with everything including the kitchen sink. The result: the fans clamor for more blood! They say pro wrestling is "sports entertainment" and that it's all scripted, in other words - fake. But satan is not fake, very much real. And this is the great charade he has pulled on the vast majority. When and where will it all end?
The tragedy of Colombine, and numerous other killings throughout the United States is a direct fallout of this violence, in-your-face frame of thinking. So many youths today have that sense of invulnerability that they fail to heed the warning signs, whether from their parents or teachers or priests. Pastors can preach every Sunday on the evils of this path so many choose to take, parents can counsel until they're blue in the face, teachers and others can warn them of the inherent dangers in following this course of violence, but they might as well be talking to a brick wall because this generation has, for the most part, tuned out their elders today. Why? Because of the influence of the entertainment industry today which fosters rebellion and disrespect for authority. Turn on almost any program and you're confronted with smart alek kids and teens who diss their parents and adults as totally out of touch ol' fogies. Watch the majority of commercials and if you understand even half of them and the message they're trying to convey, please let us know since we haven't a clue. And this from one who worked in the ad industry for fifteen years as a creative director, art director and copy writer for both nationally renowned and local accounts. The solid principles established by the advertising industry have been discarded in favor of confusion, MTV flashes and a gage on how far they can go to shock the viewer. How many beer ads or automobile ads are about the beer or cars they're promoting. Very few! Is there a clothing ad out there - especially for jeans - that has anything to do with the product itself or is it all subliminal sexual advertising promoting perversity?
Yes, satan must be having a field day. And the saddest part is that so many today haven't a clue what he's doing. They are unsuspecting sheep being fleeced by ol' hornhead. He has been very clever in his campaign to capture souls just as Pope Leo XIII was given to see in a vision in the latter part of the nineteenth century in which the evil one bartered with God for the last century of the millennium - his last hurrah, if you will, in which he would have carte blanche to roam the world seeking the ruin of souls. Free will would be put to the sternest of tests and to combat this, the good Sovereign Pontiff was inspired to compose the powerful Prayer of Saint Michael. It seemed to be working even during two terrible world wars, but it was after the Second Vatican Council that it mysteriously disappeared. In going through the documents and post-conciliar documents of Vatican II with a fine-tooth comb over the years, we have never, ever found one thing in the Council Fathers' recommendation to indicate they wanted to eliminate this vital prayer always recited by the priest after the final blessing at Mass. Tell us satan didn't have a hand in this? You bet he did and he influenced those who promulgated the "spirit of Vatican II" because what was decreed during the Council was from the Holy Spirit, what evolved afterwards, outside of the Council by discontents unhappy that the Council did not go far enough, was from the fallen spirits.
It is those same fallen spirits, led by the leading fallen angel satan or lucifer, who continue the deception in the Church today, working on both the far left and far right to foster insurrection, whispering in the ears of liberals and progressives that the Church is still too Catholic and needs to compromise more, allow women to be priests, accept homosexual behavior as normal, condone contraception and even be understanding of premarital and extramarital sex because after all "we're only human." The greatest lie he has been able to promulgate is that he doesn't exist. Therefore, the more he subliminally implants these thoughts in peoples' minds, the more modernists clamor for tolerance at the expense of the Gospel message and the Ten Commandments. Conversely, on the far right side there is a movement underfoot to throw the baby out with the bathwater, discarding Vatican II entirely and going back to the Council of Trent as the only authentic Conciliar authority. That is like discarding Fatima because of Lourdes and La Salette. They fail to realize Vatican II was necessary to deal with the decline of priestly vocations and the need for the laity to take a greater role in the Mystical Body of Christ. They demean the Novus Ordo Mass as illegitmate and pass judgment with nothing of Divine Revelation to back their charge. While the Novus Ordo has been greatly abused by priests ignorant of the true documents of Vatican II, it is still the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass despite its nuances that leave those who loved the Tridentine Mass feeling a sense of emptiness because of the lack of reverence and the sense of the sacred. New music has cropped up, smothering the traditional hymns most cradle Catholics were weaned on, replaced by some songs that not only are more like something you'd hear on the local radio but also heretical at times when referring to the people of God as Christs. But these as well did not originate within the Council but through the devious means satan used to infiltrate dioceses and parishes.
Talk about scary! That infiltration which Pope Paul VI recognized on his death bed when he uttered, "satan is now in the sanctuary," is the worst form of terror and should alert every single Catholic as to how he has manipulated so many and fostered this culture of death so prevalent today where a human life is worth nothing; all for the sake of the seven deadly sins. There's a reason they're called the "deadly" sins! And that is the scariest, most horror-filled scene we can imagine, one so many are opening the door wide to by their incessant appetite for the eerie, the sensational, the occult and illicit sex graphically illustrated and glamorized on the screen. This Halloween, we hope all will take note of the underlying current to the season and that it no longer is pumpkins, ghosts and cute little witches but satanic figures and concepts that demean everything we stand for as Catholics committed to Christ. No longer is it a time of innocence and a chance to dress up, but more an open license to exhibit raw emotions and fantasies created by the demons as the evil one uses God's children to spread the culture of death further into society. And this all passes as entertainment. That's entertainment? It would be better if a millstone were tied around the necks of these producers, directors and ad sponsors then to allow them to continue this travesty and raping of souls. The real scare - the final scare of their life will come at the end of their life when they realize the horror that is very, very real: the loss of their eternal soul.
On All Hallow's Eve, rather than contributing to the cavities and caveat of the micabre by emptying your wallet on candy bars to pass out and overpriced costumes and grotesque masks for your kids, it might be a good idea to offer your Sunday Mass that not only will all the trick and treaters be safe physically, but also spiritually and psychologically. They are up against the fiercest and most vile of enemies and nothing should scare them more than the possible loss of their soul. We can clue them in by scaring them silly. How? Don't be afraid to spin the tales of the Gospel in which Our Lord specifies what happens to those who disobey God. Don't be afraid to remind them of the Ten Commandments. Don't be afraid to educate them on the horrors of abortion, premarital sex, homosexuality, stealing, greed, jealousies and all the other sins that stifle the soul. Don't be afraid to counsel them to stand up against the voracious, unhealthy appetite the world has developed for more schlock and shock that threatens their very salvation. Yes, it's very serious and if we don't warn them now it could come back to haunt us. So this Halloween let's turn the tables by doing some scaring of our own!