Presenter Information

John E. Rybolt C.M., Ph.D.


Vincent de Paul frequently referred to Judas in conferences given to the Congregation and the Daughters of Charity. These references, quoted in this article, give insight into Vincent’s theology and were meant to elicit proper behavior by negative example. According to Vincent, Judas received great graces but failed in his spiritual life; he was an illustration of how only the end results of one’s behavior matter and how one should never be complacent about spiritual progress. Vincent said that Jesus’s gentleness toward Judas and other sinners should be the model for treatment of the poor. Vincent’s listeners were cautioned against Judas’s three great sins: unworthy reception of Communion, avarice, and envy. These sins were linked to finding fault with community life and superiors, and mishandling money intended for the poor. Judas’s failure was also used to encourage perseverance in vocation, observance of community Rules, and the taking of responsibility for faults in the community. Other behaviors Vincent sought to encourage or discourage by referring to Judas are discussed.