Father Réné François Rohrbacher - Satan

I translated this excerpt on Satan from a French book series of 29 volumes, third edition, called: Histoire Universelle de l`Église Catholique (Universal History of the Catholic Church), written by Father Réné François Rohrbacher.

Here it is, every error is based on a truth that we abuse.

Two principal causes incline man to this criminal abuse: his inclination towards the creature, and then the instigation of the spirit of darkness. Man, in his first state, aspired naturally towards God and attracted in this direction the nature of which he was king. By his sin, man having moved away from God, was enslaved to the senses and the flesh. From there the secret inclination to materialize God and to worship the matter, which produced idolatry. We know, moreover, who pushed man to that first fall, and who pushes him to the bottom of the abyss: it is the enemy of God and of man, whose existence is proved by all traditions, and whose name is Satan, adversary, enemy, was known by the pagans even.

"Satan's sin, says one of the most serious doctors, was an unsupportable arrogance, according to what is written in Job, that, it is "he who rules over all the children of pride." Therefore, pride is to attribute everything to one’s self, and thereby the superb make themselves their gods, shaking off the yoke of sovereign authority. That is why the devil, having been swelled by an extraordinary arrogance, the Scriptures say, that he had affected divinity. I will go up, he said, and place my throne above the stars; and I shall be like the Most High. But God, who resists the superb, seeing his arrogant thoughts, and that his mind, carried away by a rash complaisance in his own perfections, could no longer stand in the sentiments of a creature, of the breath of His mouth precipitated him into the bottom of the abyss. He fell from the sky like lightning, quivering with anger; and assembling with him all the companions of his insolent enterprise; he conspired with them to raise against God all creatures. But not content with raising them, he conceived from then on, the insolent design of subjecting all the world to his tyranny; and seeing that God, through His Providence, had ordered all creatures under the obedience of man, he attacked him in the midst of this garden of delights where he lived so happily in his innocence, he tries to inspire him with the same pride of which he was possessed, and, to our unhappiness, Christians, he succeeded as you know. Thus, according to the maxim of the Gospel, man, being tamed by the devil, incontinently became his slave: A quo enim quis superatus est, hujus et servus est; and the monarch of the world being overcome by this superb winner, everyone passed under his laws. Inflated with this good success and not forgetting his first design of becoming equal to the divine nature, he declared himself openly the rival of God; and, striving to clothe himself with the divine majesty, as it is not in his power to make new creatures to oppose his Master, what does he do? "At the least he adulterates all the works of God," says the grave Tertullian," he teaches men to corrupt its usage; and the stars, and the elements, and the plants, and animals, he turns all into idolatry;" he abolishes knowledge of God and, throughout the whole of the earth, he is worshiped in His place, according to what the prophet says: The gods of the nations are the demons. That is why the Son of God calls him the prince of the world, and the Apostle, the governor of darkness; and elsewhere, with more energy, the god of this century.

"I also learned from Tertullian, that not only were the demons presented with vows and sacrifices before their idols, the proper tribute of God, but that they made them adorn with robes and ornaments of which the magistrates clothed themselves, and carried before them beams and staffs, and other marks of public authority, because in fact, says this great personage, the demons are the magistrates of the century. And to what point of insolence did this rival of God bring! He has always affected to do what God does, not in order to approximate to His holiness, it’s his capital enemy, but as a rebellious subject, who, out of contempt or by insolence, affects the same pomp as His sovereign. God has His virgins consecrated to Him; and did not the devil have his vestals? Has he not had his altars and temples, his mysteries, and his sacrifices, and the ministers of his impure ceremonies, which he has rendered, as much as he could, like those of God? Why? Because he is jealous of God and wants to appear in all his equal. God, in the new covenant, regenerates the children by the water of baptism, and the devil pretended to want to expiate their crimes by various sprinklers; he promised his own a regeneration, as Tertullian reports; and it is still seen, some public monuments where this term is used in his profane mysteries, the Spirit of God, at first was carried on the waters; and the devil, says Tertullian, is pleased to rest in the waters, in the hidden fountains, and in lakes, and in subterranean streams. And the church of antiquity, being imbued with this claim, has left us this form which we still observe today, to exorcise the baptismal waters. God, by His immensity, fills heaven and earth; the devil, by his impure angels, occupies as much as he can all the creatures. And from this comes the custom of the first Christians, to purge them and to sanctify them by the sign of the cross, as by a kind of holy exorcism.

"He is, indeed, a subject of enraged pain, he sees that all his enterprises are vain, and being far from becoming equal to the divine nature, as he had recklessly projected, he must bend, in spite of all, under the Hand of God All Powerful; but he does not relinquish for it his obstinate fury: on the contrary, considering that the majesty of God is inaccessible to his anger, he unloads on us, who are the living images, all the impetuosity of his rage: as one sees an impotent enemy, who, unable to attain the one he pursues, feeds in some way his spirit by a vain imagination of vengeance by tearing his paint. So, it is with Satan: he stirs the sky and the earth to arouse enemies of God, among men who are His children; he endeavors to engage them all in his audacious and reckless rebellion, to make them companions of his errors and torments. He believes by this to take revenge on God. As he is not unaware that there is no resource for him, he is no longer able but to that malicious joy which is due to a villain to have accomplices, and to a wicked mind seeing the unhappy and the afflicted. Furious and desperate, he only thinks of losing everything after losing himself, and to envelop everyone with him in a common ruined.

"You may imagine that, if he is so bold, he will attack by open force; ah! he is not of this sort. It is true, that ordinarily the proud openly exercise their enmities; but the enmity of Satan is not of a vulgar nature: he is mingled with a black envy which gnaws at him eternally. He can not suffer that we should live in the hope of the happiness which he has lost, that God, by His grace, equals us with the angels, that His Son be clothed with human flesh to make us divine men. He becomes enraged when he considers that the servants of Jesus, men miserable and sinners, seated in august thrones, will judge him at the end of the centuries with the angels his followers. This envy burns him more than his flames. This is what makes him embrace frauds and deception, because envy, as you know, is a cold obscure passion, which reaches its ends only by secret pursuits; and it is by this that Satan is infinitely formidable: his finesse is more to fear than his violence. Like a pestilent vapor flows in the midst of the air, and, imperceptible to our senses, insinuates his venom in our hearts, thus this evil spirit, by a subtle and insensible contagion, corrupts the purity of our souls. We do not notice that he acts in us, because he follows the current of our inclinations. He pushes us and rushes us from the side he sees us bend; he never ceases to inflame our first desires until, by his suggestions, he makes them grow into violent passions. If we began to love, from madness he makes us furious; if avarice worries us, he represents us a still uncertain future, he astonishes our tame soul by objects of famine and war. His malice is spiritual and ingenious, deceives the most loose. His desperate hatred and his long experience make him more and more inventive; he changes into all sorts of forms; and this spirit so beautiful, ornate of so many ravishing acquaintances, among so many marvelous conceptions, esteems and cherishes only those which serve to overthrow man.

"Do you want, for a further confirmation, that I make you see in short in our Gospel everything that I just told you? He transports the Son of God to the pinnacle of the temple; he represents to Him in one moment all the kingdoms of the earth. Who would not admire his power? And the Son of God so permits, in order that we would understand what he could do to us, if God abandoned us to his violence. Judge his hatred and his pride together, by the counsel which he gives to our Savior to prostrate himself at his feet and adore him; pernicious advice and unheard-of insolence. Moreover, could he take a more plausible design to the respect of Our Lord, to tempt Him with gluttony after fasting for forty days, and vain glory after an action of heroic patience? These are his finesses and his artifices. But what seems more evidently to us, is his obstinacy. Overcome by three times, he still can't lose courage; he leaves Him, says the sacred text, for a time; neither tired nor despaired of defeating Him, but waiting for a better hour and a more pressing opportunity. O God! What shall we say here, Christians? If such a vigorous resistance does not slow down his fury, when can we hope to make a truce with him? And if war is continual, if this irreconcilable enemy, watches without cease to our ruin, how can we resist weak and helpless that we are? However, faithful, do not be afraid. This formidable enemy, he dreads the Christians himself; he trembles at the name of Jesus alone; and, despite his pride and arrogance, he is forced, by a secret virtue, to respect those who bear His mark."

Here is Satan and his empire depicted, by one of the most powerful geniuses to have appeared on earth. We quote the words of Bossuet, because the truth that he develops is necessary to fully understand the history of divine and human things. Moreover, he summarizes the belief of the early Christians, as can be seen from the fact that he recalls.

Fr. René Francis Rohrbacher (Volume 2, pages 253-257)


Réné François Rohrbacher

Ecclesiastical historian, b. at Langatte (Langd) in the present Diocese of Metz, 27 September, 1789; d. in Paris, 17 January, 1856. He studied for several months at Sarrebourg and Phalsebourg (Pfalzburg) and at the age of seventeen had completed his Classical studies. He taught for three years at the college of Phalsebourg; entered in 1810 the ecclesiastical seminary at Nancy, and was ordained priest in 1812. Appointed assistant priest at Insming, he was transferred after six months to Lunéville. A mission which he preached in 1821 at Flavigny led to the organization of a diocesan mission band. Several years later he became a member of the Congregation of St. Peter founded by Félicité and Jean de La Mennais, and from 1827 to 1835 directed the philosophical and theological studies of young ecclesiastics who wished to become the assistants of the two brothers in their religious undertakings. When Felicite de La Mennais refused to submit to the condemnation pronounced against him by Rome, Rohrbacher separated from him and became professor of Church history at the ecclesiastical seminary of Nancy. Later he retired to Paris where he spent the last years of his life. His principal work is his monumental "Histoire Universelle de l'Église Catholique" (Nancy, 1842-49; 2nd ed., Paris, 1849-53). Several other editions were subsequently published and continuations added by Chantrel and Guillaume. Written from an apologetic point of view, the work contributed enormously to the extirpation of Gallicanism in the Church of France. Though at times uncritical and devoid of literary grace, it is of considerable usefulness to the student of history. It was translated into German and partially recast by Hülskamp, Rump, and numerous other writers. (For the other works of Rohrbacher, see Hurter, "Nomenclator Lit.", III [Innsbruck, 1895], 1069-71.)

ROHRBACHER, Hist. Univ. de l'Église Cath., ed. by GUILLAUME XII, (Paris, 1885), 122-33; MCCAFFREY, Hist. of the Cath. Ch. in the XIX Century, II (Dublin, 1909), I, 60, II, 448, 475.

Catholic Encyclopedia

I hadn'd seen that biography, thanks!
I have translated his biography directly from the Universal History of the Catholic Church, I should have posted it first, sorry about that.

"Famous personalities such as Garcia Moreno, Bishop Laflèche in Canada, Padre Pio, Louis Veuillot, were proud to have read and meditated on it."
(Source https://www.livresenfamille.fr/livres/religion/histoire-de-l-eglise/4864-abbe-rene-francois-rohrbacher-histoire-universelle-de-l-eglise-catholique.html; translated with DeepL Translator)



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