Cardinal Sarah: The Mass and the Serious Crisis of Faith

Adapting the Liturgy to Our Decadence

Cardinal Robert Sarah, The Catholic Thing:

Cardinal Robert Sarah

Cardinal Robert Sarah

Certainly, the Second Vatican Council wished to promote greater active participation by the people of God and to bring about progress day by day in the Christian life of the faithful (see Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 1). Certainly, some fine initiatives were taken along these lines. However we cannot close our eyes to the disaster, the devastation and the schism that the modern promoters of a living liturgy caused by remodeling the Church’s liturgy according to their ideas. They forgot that the liturgical act is not just a PRAYER, but also and above all a MYSTERY in which something is accomplished for us that we cannot fully understand but that we must accept and receive in faith, love, obedience and adoring silence. And this is the real meaning of active participation of the faithful. It is not about exclusively external activity, the distribution of roles or of functions in the liturgy, but rather about an intensely active receptivity: this reception is, in Christ and with Christ, the humble offering of oneself in silent prayer and a thoroughly contemplative attitude.

The Serious Crisis of Faith

The serious crisis of faith, not only at the level of the Christian faithful but also and especially among many priests and bishops, has made us incapable of understanding the Eucharistic liturgy as a sacrifice, as identical to the act performed once and for all by Jesus Christ, making present the Sacrifice of the Cross in a non-bloody manner, throughout the Church, through different ages, places, peoples and nations. There is often a sacrilegious tendency to reduce the Holy Mass to a simple convivial meal, the celebration of a profane feast, the community’s celebration of itself, or even worse, a terrible diversion from the anguish of a life that no longer has meaning or from the fear of meeting God face to face, because His glance unveils and obliges us to look truly and unflinchingly at the ugliness of our interior life. But the Holy Mass is not a diversion.

What is the Meaning of the Mass

It is the living sacrifice of Christ who died on the cross to free us from sin and death, for the purpose of revealing the love and the glory of God the Father. Many Catholics do not know that the final purpose of every liturgical celebration is the glory and adoration of God, the salvation and sanctification of human beings, since in the liturgy “God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7). Most of the faithful—including priests and bishops—do not know this teaching of the Council. Just as they do not know that the true worshippers of God are not those who reform the liturgy according to their own ideas and creativity, to make it something pleasing to the world, but rather those who reform the world in depth with the Gospel so as to allow it access to a liturgy that is the reflection of the liturgy that is celebrated from all eternity in the heavenly Jerusalem.

As Benedict XVI often emphasized, at the root of the liturgy is adoration, and therefore God. Hence it is necessary to recognize that the serious, profound crisis that has affected the liturgy and the Church itself since the Council is due to the fact that its CENTER is no longer God and the adoration of Him, but rather men and their alleged ability to “do” something to keep themselves busy during the Eucharistic celebrations. Even today, a significant number of Church leaders underestimate the serious crisis that the Church is going through: relativism in doctrinal, moral and disciplinary teaching, grave abuses, the desacralization and trivialization of the Sacred Liturgy, a merely social and horizontal view of the Church’s mission. Many believe and declare loud and long that Vatican Council II brought about a true springtime in the Church. Nevertheless, a growing number of Church leaders see this “springtime” as a rejection, a renunciation of her centuries-old heritage, or even as a radical questioning of her past and Tradition. Political Europe is rebuked for abandoning or denying its Christian roots. But the first to have abandoned her Christian roots and past is indisputably the post-conciliar Catholic Church

“This column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.” Slight editing.

3 Components Necessary to Win the Battle for America’s Soul

For in the End: It’s “God or Nothing.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah’s Keynote Speech at the 12th Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Tue May 17, 2016

Cardinal Robert Sarah

Before such a distinguished gathering, I offer three humble suggestions.

  1. First: Be prophetic. The Book of Proverbs tells us: “Where there is no vision, discernment, the people perish” (29, 18). Discern carefully – in your lives, your homes, your workplaces – how, in your nation, God is being eroded, eclipsed, liquidated. Blessed Paul VI saw that in 1968 when, for the Church, he so courageously wrote Humanae Vitae. What are the threats to Christian identity and the family today? ISIS, the growing influence of China, the colonization of ideologies such as gender? How do we react?
  1. Be faithful. This is my second suggestion. Specifically for you, as men and women called to influence even the political sphere you have a mission of bringing Divine Revelation to bear in the lives of your fellow citizens. Uphold the wise principles of your founding fathers. Do not be afraid to proclaim the truth with love, especially about marriage according to God’s plan, just as courageously as Saint John the Baptist, who risked his life to proclaim the truth. The battle to preserve the roots of mankind is perhaps the greatest challenge that our world has faced since its origins.[i] In the words of Saint Catherine of Siena: “Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.”
  1. Third: Pray. Sometimes, in front of happenings in the world, our nation or even the Church, the results of our prayer might tempt us to become discouraged. Like Sisyphus in the Greek myth: condemned to roll a large boulder uphill, only to see it roll down again as soon as he had reached the top. Pope Benedict XVI inDeus Caritas Est  encourages us : “People who pray are not wasting their time, even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone.”[ii]

Whether in doctrine or morality or everyday decisions, the heart of prayer is to discern God’s will. This can only happen in prolonged moments of silence where, like Elijah before the horrendous threats of Queen Jezebel, we allow the “gentle breeze” of God to enlighten us and confirm us along our journey to do God’s will. Such was the virginal silence of the Blessed Mother. At a marriage, the wedding feast of Cana, when for a new family “they have no wine,” Mary our Mother trusted in the grace given by Jesus to bestow the joy of love overflowing – Amoris Lætitia. She pronounced her very last words, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2: 1-12). Then she remained silent.

The Battle for America’s Soul

Be prophetic, Be faithful. Pray. That is why I came to this prayer breakfast. To encourage you. Be prophetic, Be faithful. And, above all, pray. These three suggestions make present that the battle for the soul of America, and the soul of the world, is primarily spiritual. They show that the battle is fought firstly with our own conversion to God’s will every day.

And so I wholly welcome this initiative, and join you in prayer that this great country may experience a new great “spiritual awakening”, and help stem the tide of evil that is spreading in the world. I am confident that your efforts will no doubt contribute to protecting human life, strengthening the family, and safeguarding religious freedom not only here in these United States, but everywhere in the world.

For in the end: it is “God or nothing.”
(My emphasis)

[i] Robert Cardinal Sarah, ibid, 166.

[ii] Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Deus Caritas Est (25 December 2006), 36.

Hat tip: The War Our Time.

The Unstoppable Rise of Cardinal Sarah

The Catholic Herald:

It is often said that once a new pope has emerged on to the loggia of St Peter’s, the cardinals’ thoughts turn almost immediately to the question of his successor. Pope Francis, although about to turn 80 at the end of this year, does not seem ready to run out of steam. Despite having part of a lung missing, he seems undiminished by a daunting schedule, which in fact he seems to relish. This, along with his obvious pleasure in his role, means that it is difficult to take quite seriously his own speculation that his papacy will be a short one. Nonetheless, nobody should be surprised that there is already much speculation about the identity of his successor.

Among the names being talked about is that of one cardinal elevated to the Sacred College by Benedict XVI, who is increasingly admired by those who wish to consolidate the legacy of the Pope Emeritus.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, relatively little known before the election of Pope Francis, has shown himself since as a key player in Rome. His name – pronounced Sar-AH and not like the English given name – reveals the French linguistic and cultural heritage which this son of the West African savannah imbibed at an early age from the Holy Ghost missionaries. Cardinal Sarah, a second-generation Christian, is a man who combines an authentic claim to come from the ecclesiastical margins so beloved of Pope Francis with a deep grasp of the cultural and theological patrimony which the old continent disseminated along with its political and economic hegemony.

We get a fascinating insight into both of these strains in his personality through his book-length interview with French author Nicholas Diat, published last year in English translation as God or Nothing. After a biographical section, where the cardinal traces his career from the early years in a round, one-room brick hut in rural Guinea which was his family’s only possession to his present position as head of the Vatican’s liturgy dicastery, the book offers reflections on the theological issues which today affect the Church’s internal cohesion as well as the vitality of its missionary outreach.

Both sections are inspiring, revealing Cardinal Sarah as a man of profound and serene contemplative temperament along with dynamic capacities for action and an astonishing courage which tackles controversial questions head-on.

These qualities of talent for action and fearlessness were perhaps what made John Paul II choose him as the world’s youngest bishop in 1979, aged only 34, for the country’s capital city and metropolitan see of Conakry.

The Church in the former French colony had long been in conflict with the radical, Marxist regime of dictator Sékou Touré. Robert Sarah had grown up in the early days of the regime, shortly after independence, attending junior seminary in neighbouring Ivory Coast, then major seminary in Guinea, before completing his studies in France and Rome. As priest and bishop, his energetic fighting of the Church’s corner so irritated Touré that at the time of the strongman’s death in 1984, the prelate was found to be at the top of his target list for arrest and execution.

Archbishop Sarah guided the Church through the turbulent changes of regime which followed. He felt so worn down by the task that he began to take a retreat every two months during which he fasted from food and water from three days. “This life of solitude and prayer helped me to recharge and return to battle,” he says in God or Nothing. Nevertheless, he felt so embattled that in 1990 he drafted a resignation letter to the Pope. A mentor persuaded him not to send it.

In 2001 he was called to Rome as Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. In that role he had demonstrated sufficient firmness and competence to be entrusted by Benedict XVI with a delicate mission to the Church in Africa.

It would seem that the law of celibacy was being largely flouted among the clergy of the Central African Republic, and the complicity of the hierarchy in the situation was too flagrant to be ignored in Rome. In 2009 Archbishop Sarah led an investigation on the ground which claimed no lesser a head than that of the archbishop of the country’s capital, as well as the president of the country’s bishops’ conference, as well as numerous other highly placed clerics.

It may have been the combativeness of the Guinean prelate which led Benedict to choose him in 2010 for the post of president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, responsible for promoting and co-ordinating the Church’s charitable and humanitarian outreach. The following month he received the cardinalatial red hat. Cardinal Sarah reveals that the German pope told him he had made the appointment “because I know that of all people you have the experience of suffering and of the face of poverty. You will be most capable of expressing tactfully the Church’s compassion and closeness to those who are poorest.”

Tact and compassion, however, were not to be achieved at the expense of the outspoken witness of the new cardinal to the truth as he saw it. Within months of his nomination he became embroiled in a public row over Caritas International, the umbrella organisation which federates the activities of Catholic charities and development agencies worldwide. Cardinal Sarah was determined to strengthen the Catholic ethos of the organisation and apply the principles set out in
Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate. The decision not to renew the mandate of director Dr Lesley-Anne Knight was followed by the imposition of new statutes giving the Vatican greater oversight over Caritas.

The changes provoked Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, the patron of Caritas, to echo the concerns of the many within it who were aggrieved in a manner which implied criticism of Cardinal Sarah as well as of the then Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. In those days Cardinal Rodríguez did not have the clout he now enjoys, and Cardinals Sarah and Bertone prevailed.

The change of pope spelt trouble for some high-ranking prelates, but not for the Guinean cardinal, whose credentials in a Church of and for the poor could not be called into doubt. When Cardinal Sarah was moved from Cor Unum it was to take a step upward, in a post concerned with one of the most disputed issues in the contemporary Church, that of liturgy.

Few, if any, would have predicted that someone so closely associated with the “Ratzingerian” agenda would be appointed to this post just as the fortunes of the
Ratzingerian party were manifestly ebbing in Rome. Indeed, it had been given out as virtually certain that the post of prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship would go to Archbishop Piero Marini, a known opponent of Benedict’s strategy for the liturgy. Archbishop Marini, a fluent Spanish speaker, is known to be close to Pope Francis. Why, then, was he thwarted of his rumoured ambition to take the reins of the Church’s liturgical life, in favour of a cardinal who has given voice to the very Ratzingerian (and un-Marinian) conviction that “one cannot encounter God … without trembling, without awe, without profound respect and holy fear”?

As a child in Guinea Robert Sarah saw the Vatican as an 'unreachable summit' (Photo: AP)

As a child in Guinea Robert Sarah saw the Vatican as an ‘unreachable summit’ (Photo: AP)

The answer is probably that Francis, who has on several occasions had to learn painfully that not even a pope can exercise absolute control over the curial machine, realised that it was not in his interest to provoke a backlash by an appointment so manifestly contrary to the orientations of his predecessor, in a domain that is not one of his priorities. He does not want to re-ignite liturgy wars. And so his charge to the new prefect was a masterful example of his technique of firing a salvo in apparently opposite directions: “I want you to continue to implement the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council … [and] to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI.”

Paradoxically, Cardinal Sarah’s profile has become noticeably higher in a pontificate which might be thought uncongenial to his theological temperament. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the family synods of the last two years, where he became an outstanding spokesman both on the synod floor and in writing for those who are resisting attempts to open access to the Eucharist to the divorced and remarried – a change advocated forcefully by Cardinal Walter Kasper and others and to which Pope Francis has been thought favourable.

We will discover what the Pope’s decision on the matter is within a few weeks now, by all accounts, unless he chooses to avoid the difficulties of the decision by opting for studied ambiguity. But there was no ambiguity in Cardinal Sarah’s position. The African was adamant that no change was possible to the discipline since this would be tantamount to a repudiation of the Church’s constant doctrine. It may have been him that Cardinal Kasper had in mind when he made some rather ill-judged remarks about the admissibility of African opinions on the questions of sexual morality which so preoccupy the developed world today. Cardinal Sarah has been no less forthright in equating the agenda of liberalising theologians to cultural imperialism from an arrogant and decadent West.

Along with his position at the synod, Cardinal Sarah’s book has contributed to his assuming a position as something of a standard bearer for Catholic orthodoxy in a Church where many things now seem uncertain. And so it is that many are now talking about him as a possible papabile, whenever the next conclave may be.

How realistic is this? In God or Nothing, he talks of how as a boy the Vatican seemed to him an unapproachable pinnacle. The book reveals him to us as a truly humble man in love with the transcendent God whom he serves in action and approaches on his knees in contemplation. He surely does not nourish personal ambition to ascend that lonely pinnacle himself. But might the Church decide that she needs that combination of the fearless man of action and the awe-filled contemplative at the helm?

It is difficult to imagine that those who desire to reinvigorate the theological legacy of Benedict XVI could gain so significant a victory in a conclave held now. Every consistory held under Pope Francis – and one is expected later this year – dilutes their strength within the Sacred College.

Cardinal Sarah’s outspokenness on issues such as homosexuality, which has become a shibboleth for Western secular morality, would mean that electing him would be seen as a direct challenge to what appears to be the emerging world order. Not all cardinals are ready for this. When he compared Western liberal ideas on sex and gender to Nazi propaganda and Islamist terror, he infuriated liberals, who see him as largely responsible for torpedoing efforts to get the synod to adopt “a more pastoral tone” on homosexuality. But he also probably scared off some conservatives who prefer a less confrontational approach.

One thing we have learnt in the last three years is that there are fewer certainties in the Church than we thought. I certainly won’t be putting money on having a pope from the West African savannah, but only a foolhardy pundit would rule it out. Cardinal Sarah is only nine years younger than Francis, so his eligibility will probably diminish if Francis remains as Pope beyond a few more years. That said, the prospect of a short reign can be seen as an advantage in a fraught situation – this was certainly the case for Cardinal Ratzinger in 2005. Still, whoever emerges as pope from the next conclave, one thing I think we can be sure of is that the voice of Robert Sarah will be listened to in its deliberations.

Fr Mark Drew holds a doctorate in ecumenical theology from the Institut Catholique. He is priest in charge of the parish of Hornsea in Middlesbrough diocese

Cardinal Sarah: 3 Critical Components Necessary for the Synod

Intervention of Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of the Sacraments Ordinary Synod on the Family, October 2015
[emphases his]

Source, National Catholic Register:

Your Holiness, Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, participants of the Synod,

Cardinal Robert Sarah

I propose these three thoughts:

1. More transparency and respect among us

I feel a strong need to invoke the Spirit of Truth and Love, the source of parrhesia in speaking and humility in listening, who alone is capable of creating true harmony in plurality.

I say frankly that in the previous Synod, on various issues one sensed the temptation to yield to the mentality of the secularized world and individualistic West. Recognizing the so-called “realities of life” as a locus theologicus means giving up hope in the transforming power of faith and the Gospel. The Gospel that once transformed cultures is now in danger of being transformed by them. Furthermore, some of the procedures used did not seem aimed at enriching discussion and communion as much as they did to promote a way of seeing typical of certain fringe groups of the wealthiest churches. This is contrary to a poor Church, a joyously evangelical and prophetic sign of contradiction to worldliness. Nor does one understand why some statements that are not shared by the qualified majority of the last Synod still ended up in the Relatio and then in the Lineamenta and the Instrumentum laboris when other pressing and very current issues (such as gender ideology) are instead ignored.

The first hope is therefore that, in our work, there by more freedom, transparency and objectivity. For this, it would be beneficial to publish the summaries of the interventions, to facilitate discussion and avoid any prejudice or discrimination in accepting the pronouncements of the synod Fathers.

2. Discernment of history and of spirits

A second hope: that the Synod honor its historic mission and not limit itself to speaking only about certain pastoral issues (such as the possible communion for divorced and remarried) but help the Holy Father to enunciate clearly truths and real guidance on a global level. For there are new challenges with respect to the synod celebrated in 1980. A theological discernment enables us to see in our time two unexpected threats (almost like two “apocalyptic beasts”) located on opposite poles: on the one hand, the idolatry of Western freedom; on the other, Islamic fundamentalism: atheistic secularism versus religious fanaticism. To use a slogan, we find ourselves between “gender ideology and ISIS”. Islamic massacres and libertarian demands regularly contend for the front page of the newspapers. (Let us remember what happened last June 26!). From these two radicalizations arise the two major threats to the family: its subjectivist disintegration in the secularized West through quick and easy divorce, abortion, homosexual unions, euthanasia etc. (cf. Gender theory, the ‘Femen’, the LGBT lobby, IPPF …). On the other hand, the pseudo-family of ideologized Islam which legitimizes polygamy, female subservience, sexual slavery, child marriage etc. (cf. Al Qaeda, Isis, Boko Haram …)

Several clues enable us to intuit the same demonic origin of these two movements. Unlike the Spirit of Truth that promotes communion in the distinction (perichoresis), these encourage confusion (homo-gamy) or subordination (poly-gamy). Furthermore, they demand a universal and totalitarian rule, are violently intolerant, destroyers of families, society and the Church, and are openly Christianophobic.

“We are not contending against creatures of flesh and blood ….” We need to be inclusive and welcoming to all that is human; but what comes from the Enemy cannot and must not be assimilated. You can not join Christ and Belial! What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion Ideologies and Islamic Fanaticism are today.

3. Proclaim and serve the beauty of Monogamy and the Family

Faced with these two deadly and unprecedented challenges (“homo-gamy” and “poly-gamy”) the Church must promote a true “epiphany of the Family.” To this both the Pope (as spokesman of the Church) may contribute, and individual Bishops and Pastors of the Christian flock: that is, “the Church of God, which he has obtained with his own blood” (Acts: 20:28).

We must proclaim the truth without fear, i.e.  the Plan of God, which is monogamy in conjugal love open to life. Bearing in mind the historical situation just recalled, it is urgent that the Church, at its summit, definitively declare the will of the Creator for marriage. How many people of good will and common sense would join in this luminous act of courage carried out by the Church!

Together with a strong and clear Word of the Supreme Magisterium, Pastors have the mission of helping our contemporaries to discover the beauty of the Christian family. To do this, it must first promote all that represents a true Christian Initiation of adults, for the marriage crisis is essentially a crisis of God, but also a crisis of faith, and this is an infantile Christian initiation. Then we must discern those realities that the Holy Spirit is already raising up to reveal the Truth of the Family as an intimate communion in diversity (man and woman) that is generous in the gift of life. We bishops have the urgent duty to recognize and promote the charisms, movements, and ecclesial realities in which the Family is truly revealed, this prodigy of harmony, love of life and hope in Eternity, this cradle of faith and school charity. And there are so many realities offered by Providence, together with the Second Vatican Council, in which this miracle is offered.

Translation from Italian by Diane Montagna.

Cardinal Sarah: From Hollywood to Gender Ideology to ISIS

by Diane Montagna, Aleteia:

VATICAN CITY — Two newly released interventions by Synod Fathers offer insight into the gravest threats facing the family today, and unite in calling for a rediscovery of the beauty of Christian family life and the transforming power of the Gospel.

Expressing deep reservations over certain synodal procedures, Cardinal Robert Sarah advised the body to “help the Holy Father to enunciate clearly certain truths and useful guidance on a global level,” as “gender ideology and ISIS” spread across the globe assailing humanity from opposite poles: “On the one hand, the idolatry of Western freedom; on the other, Islamic fundamentalism: atheistic secularism versus religious fanaticism.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah

Cardinal Sarah serves as the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. On Monday he released jointly to Aleteia and the National Catholic Register the intervention he delivered at the opening general congregations of the Synod.

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the twentieth century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” the Cardinal said in his strongly-worded intervention. “The church must promote a true “epiphany of the Family,” he added, “…for the marriage crisis is essentially a crisis of God, but also a crisis of faith…”

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, while citing the “virtual world” of Hollywood movies, television shows and fantasy sports as major contributing factors to the crisis in the family, wove a similarly threaded message: “Our culture has lost its sense of the meaning of the human person and creation. This loss is rooted in the loss of God.”

Counseling a renewed appreciation of the human person, Archbishop Gomez, in his intervention of October 10, recalled Pope Francis’ visit to the US and his reminder that “God entrusted his loving plan for creation to the family.”

“This divine Word is the authentic starting point for understanding the family’s vocation and mission,” he said.

The Los Angeles Archbishop voiced his belief that “we must proclaim the beauty of God’s plan of love for creation, for the human person, and for the human family.”

Also on October 10, Aleteia spoke with the Cardinal Sarah following a meeting of the bishops of Africa. The Guinean cardinal voiced his concern about three controversial paragraphs being included in the Instrumentum laboris, saying that by retaining the paragraphs which did not receive a two-thirds majority at last year’s meeting, he believes “there is an agenda they are trying to impose.”

He also expressed his opinion that the starting point of the synod’s working document was “somewhat mistaken” in beginning with modern difficulties rather than “God’s plan for the family.” But he added that, in the first week: “I saw that the Holy Spirit was guiding it well.”

The cardinal therefore encouraged the faithful to pray, especially as “the gravest and most serious point is the third part.”

“There are still bishops’ conferences — some, not all — in the West that want to open the doors [to everything], but they are few. The bishops of the East, Africa, and America are orthodox. But the few who are are insisting, with the help of the media.”

Here below we publish a translation of the full text of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s intervention, followed by the full text delivered by Archbishop Jose Gomez, preserving the emphases indicated in the original text.

Robert Cardinal Sarah
Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Text for Synod on the Family, October 2015

Your Holiness, Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, participants of the Synod,
I propose these three thoughts:

1) More transparency and respect among us

I feel a strong need to invoke the Spirit of Truth and Love, the source of parresia in speaking and humility in listening, who alone is capable of creating true harmony in plurality.

I say frankly that in the previous Synod, on various issues one sensed the temptation to yield to the mentality of the secularized world and individualistic West. Recognizing the so-called “realities of life” as a locus theologicus means giving up hope in the transforming power of faith and the Gospel. The Gospel that once transformed cultures is now in danger of being transformed by them. Furthermore, some of the procedures used did not seem aimed at enriching discussion and communion as much as they did to promote a way of seeing typical of certain fringe groups of the wealthiest churches. This is contrary to a poor Church, a joyously evangelical and prophetic sign of contradiction to worldliness. Nor does one understand why some statements that are not shared by the qualified majority of the last Synod still ended up in the Relatio and then in the Lineamenta and the Instrumentum laboris when other pressing and very current issues (such as gender ideology) are instead ignored.

The first hope is therefore that, in our work, there by more freedom, transparency and objectivity. For this, it would be beneficial to publish the summaries of the interventions, to facilitate discussion and avoid any prejudice or discrimination in accepting the pronouncements of the synod Fathers.

2) Discernment of history and of spirits

A second hope: that the Synod honor its historic mission and not limit itself to speaking only about certain pastoral issues (such as the possible communion for divorced and remarried) but help the Holy Father to enunciate clearly certain truths and useful guidance on a global level. For there are new challenges with respect to the synod celebrated in 1980. A theological discernment enables us to see in our time two unexpected threats (almost like two “apocalyptic beasts”) located on opposite poles: on the one hand, the idolatry of Western freedom; on the other, Islamic fundamentalism: atheistic secularism versus religious fanaticism. To use a slogan, we find ourselves between “gender ideology and ISIS”. Islamic massacres and libertarian demands regularly contend for the front page of the newspapers. (Let us remember what happened last June 26!). From these two radicalizations arise the two major threats to the family: its subjectivist disintegration in the secularized West through quick and easy divorce, abortion, homosexual unions, euthanasia etc. (cf. Gender theory, the ‘Femen’, the LGBT lobby, IPPF …). On the other hand, the pseudo-family of ideologized Islam which legitimizes polygamy, female subservience, sexual slavery, child marriage etc. (cf. Al Qaeda, Isis, Boko Haram …)

Several clues enable us to intuit the same demonic origin of these two movements. Unlike the Spirit of Truth that promotes communion in the distinction (perichoresis), these encourage confusion (homo-gamy) or subordination (poly-gamy). Furthermore, they demand a universal and totalitarian rule, are violently intolerant, destroyers of families, society and the Church, and are openly Christianophobic.

“We are not contending against creatures of flesh and blood ….” We need to be inclusive and welcoming to all that is human; but what comes from the Enemy cannot and must not be assimilated. You can not join Christ and Belial! What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion Ideologies and Islamic Fanaticism are today.

3) Proclaim and serve the beauty of Monogamy and the Family

Faced with these two deadly and unprecedented challenges (“homo-gamy” and “poly-gamy”) the Church must promote a true “epiphany of the Family.” To this both the Pope (as spokesman of the Church) may contribute, and individual Bishops and Pastors of the Christian flock: that is, “the Church of God, which he has obtained with his own blood” (Acts: 20:28).

We must proclaim the truth without fear, i.e. the Plan of God, which is monogamy in conjugal love open to life. Bearing in mind the historical situation just recalled, it is urgent that the Church, at its summit, definitively declare the will of the Creator for marriage. How many people of good will and common sense would join in this luminous act of courage carried out by the Church!

Together with a strong and clear Word of the Supreme Magisterium, Pastors have the mission of helping our contemporaries to discover the beauty of the Christian family. To do this, it must first promote all that represents a true Christian Initiation of adults, for the marriage crisis is essentially a crisis of God, but also a crisis of faith, and this is an infantile Christian initiation. Then we must discern those realities that the Holy Spirit is already raising up to reveal the Truth of the Family as an intimate communion in diversity (man and woman) that is generous in the gift of life. We bishops have the urgent duty to recognize and promote the charisms, movements, and ecclesial realities in which the Family is truly revealed, this prodigy of harmony, love of life and hope in Eternity, this cradle of faith and school charity. And there are so many realities offered by Providence, together with the Second Vatican Council, in which this miracle is offered.

***

Archbishop Jose Gomez’s October 10 Intervention:

Holy Father, Synod Fathers, brothers and sisters,

The Word of God reveals our Creator’s plan for his creation and for human history. This divine Word is the authentic starting point for understanding the family’s vocation and mission.
As the Instrumentum Laboris (nos. 39, 44), recognizes, we can discern a “divine pedagogy” in the history of salvation that unfolds in the Sacred Scriptures.

To strengthen marriage and the family in our time, I believe the Church must recover the divine pedagogy found in the Scriptures. Just a few weeks ago, when he was in the United States Pope Francis reminded us again — that God entrusted his loving plan for creation to the family.

And as I see it, the crisis of the family in our time is, to some extent, a crisis of anthropology. Our culture has lost its sense of the meaning of the human person and creation. This loss is rooted in the loss of God.

My perspective is shaped by my experience as the Archbishop of Los Angeles. The family of God in Los Angeles is made up of people from every continent and nationality.

Los Angeles is also the home of Hollywood — the place where the “virtual world” of movies, television programs, fantasy sports and all kinds of media products are created. So Los Angeles has a great influence on the perception of the human person and the family in contemporary society.

I believe that the Church must present a new evangelical catechesis on creation, as an essential element of the new evangelization. We must proclaim the beauty of God’s plan of love for creation, for the human person, and for the human family. Our new evangelization must proclaim an integral human ecology that reveals the nature, vocation and teleology of the human person as created by God.

The Church needs to recover and reflect on the “family” images found in the Scriptures and most ancient Tradition, and in the universal Church’s liturgy and popular piety:

• the human person as the imago Dei;
• the Church as “family of God”;
• the family as the “domestic Church”;
• Divine filiation and the Christian life as spiritual childhood.

In the face of the widespread crisis of the family, I believe our society needs to hear once more the beautiful truth about the human person and God’s loving plan for creation and history, a plan that is centered in the family.

Counting on the intercession of the Holy Family we need to illuminate, by our pastoral priorities and practice, how the family is the crucial “way” for the Church and for God’s plan for human society

And in the words of our newest American saint, St. Junipero Serra, we will go, siempre adelante!

Thank you very much.

 

Cardinal Robert Sarah: Divine Justice Will Fall…

On Clergy Who Fail To Preach Against Abortion And “Homosexual Marriage!”

From LifeSiteNews.com

By:  Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Cardinal Robert Sarah is warning that priests who fail in their duty to oppose the breakdown of morality in modern society, particularly pro-abortion and anti-family policies, will receive the condemnation of God.

In a sermon delivered on June 25 to seminarians of the Community of St. Martin, whom he was about to ordain to the priesthood and diaconate, Sarah admonished his listeners, “if we have fear of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, if we are ashamed of denouncing the grave deviations in the area of morality, if we accommodate ourselves to this world of moral laxity and religious and ethical relativism, if we are afraid to energetically denounce the abominable laws regarding the new global ethos, regarding marriage, the family in all of its forms, abortion, laws in total opposition to the laws of nature and of God, and that the western nations and cultures are promoting and imposing thanks to the mass media and their economic power, then the prophetic words of Ezechiel will fall on us as a grave divine reproach.”

Sarah quoted the prophesy of Ezechiel found in chapter 34:2-4: “‘Son of man, prophesy against the pastors of Israel to pastor themselves.  Should not the pastors feed the flock? You have been fed with milk, you have dressed yourselves with wool.  You have not strengthened the weak lambs, cared for those who were sick, healed those who were injured.  You have not restored those who have strayed, searched for those who were lost.  But you have governed them with violence and hardness.’ (Ez. 34: 2-4)”

“These reproaches are serious, but more important is the offense that we have committed against God when, having received the responsibility of caring for the spiritual good of all, we mistreat souls by depriving them of the true teaching of the doctrine of regarding God, regarding man, and the fundamental values of human existence,” the cardinal added. Click here to read the entire sermon.

Cardinal Sarah, who was appointed to the presidency of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in 2010, is overseeing a radical restructuring of the Catholic Church’s international development aid programs. These have been criticized for a secular mentality that ignores the spiritual needs of recipients, often promoting values that are opposed to Catholicism, including the legalization of abortion and homosexual unions.

In late May, Sarah gave an address to the Church’s largest coalition of aid organizations, Caritas Internationalis, in which he noted a “serious moral regression and gradual ‘silent apostasy’” in the western world. He also noted that foreign aid for Catholics “is not merely philanthropic and humanitarian assistance aimed at relieving a certain kind of distress, but also and above all it entails giving back to human persons all their dignity as children of God, and promoting an anthropology that also encompasses the religious dimension of human persons, namely their encounter with God.”

In his June 25 address, Sarah notes that in modern society “we no longer know what is evil and what is good. There are a multitude of points of view.  Today, we call white what we once called black, and vice versa.  What is serious, and make no mistake about it, is the transformation of error into a rule of life.

“In this context, as priests, pastors and guides of the People of God, you should be continuously focused on being always loyal to the doctrine of Christ.  It is necessary for you to constantly strive to acquire the sensitivity of conscience, the faithful respect for dogma and morality, which constitute the deposit of faith and the common patrimony of the Church of Christ.”