The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Cardinal Sarah: “I believe that we are at a turning point in the history of the Church”

The outspoken cardinal from Guinea speaks at length about faith, atheism, secularism, hope, liturgy, prayer, and much more in a new National Catholic Register interview.

Robert Cardinal Sarah’s new book The Day Is Now Far Spent: In conversation with Nicolas Diat is now available in English from Ignatius Press and the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was recently interviewed by Edward Pentin of National Catholic Register about the book. Here are some brief excerpts from that interview.

On the purpose and scope of the book: “I don’t develop personal theses or academic research. This book is the cry from my heart as a priest and a pastor.”

On the crisis of faith: “The decline of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus the Eucharist is at the heart of the current crisis of the Church and its decline, especially in the West. We bishops, priests and lay faithful are all responsible for the crisis of faith, the crisis of the Church, the priestly crisis and the de-Christianization of the West. … The profound crisis that the Church is experiencing in the world and especially in the West is the fruit of the forgetting of God. If our first concern is not God, then everything else collapses. At the root of all crises, anthropological, political, social, cultural, geopolitical, there is the forgetting of the primacy of God.”

On the priesthood and secularism: “The forgetting of God finds its first and most serious manifestation in the secularized way of life of priests. They are the first to have to carry the Good News. If their personal lives do not reflect this, then practical atheism will spread throughout the Church and society.”

On authentic freedom and civilization: “We convinced our contemporaries that in order to be free, we must not depend on anyone. This is a tragic mistake. Westerners are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of the person. However, civilized man is fundamentally an heir; he receives a history, a religion, a language, a culture, a name, a family.”

On hope: “Our first reason for hope is therefore God himself. He will never abandon us! We firmly believe in his promise. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Holy Catholic Church. She will always be the Ark of Salvation. There will always be enough light for the one who seeks the truth with a pure heart.”

On the unchanging nature of truth and Church teaching: “We are facing a real cacophony from bishops and priests. Everyone wants to impose their personal opinion as a truth. But there is only one truth: Christ and his teaching. How could the doctrine of the Church change? The Gospel does not change. It is still the same. Our unity cannot be built around fashionable opinions.”

On the hermeneutic of continuity  “We must hold firmly to what Benedict XVI called the hermeneutic of continuity. The unity of faith implies the unity of the magisterium in space and time. When a new teaching is given to us, it must always be interpreted in coherence with the preceding teaching.”

On liturgy and sacredness: ” If the altar is no longer the sacred threshold beyond which God resides, how would we find the joy of approaching it? A world that ignores the sacred is a uniform, flat and sad world. By ransacking our liturgy we have disenchanted the world and reduced souls to a dull sadness.”

On modern errors regarding the liturgy: “The contemporary technical mentality would like to reduce the liturgy to an effective work of pedagogy. To this end, we seek to make the ceremonies convivial, attractive and friendly. But the liturgy has no pedagogical value except to the extent that it is entirely ordained to the glorification of God and to the divine worship and sanctification of men. … Nothing profane has its place in liturgical actions. It would be a serious mistake to believe that worldly, spectacular elements would encourage the participation of the faithful. These elements can only promote human participation and not participation in Christ’s religious and salvific action.”

On traditional liturgy and young people: “When the extraordinary form is celebrated in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, it reveals its full fruitfulness: How can we be surprised that a liturgy that has carried so many saints continues to smile at young souls thirsty for God?”

On gender ideology: “Gender ideology is a Luciferic refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. The West refuses to receive; it only accepts what it builds itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Even human nature, because it is a gift from God, becomes unbearable to the Western man.”

On the upcoming Pan-Amazon Synod: “I have heard that some people wanted to make this synod a laboratory for the universal Church, that others said that, after this synod, nothing would be the same as before. If that is true, this approach is dishonest and misleading. This synod has a specific and local goal: the evangelization of the Amazon. … I am shocked and outraged that the spiritual distress of the poor in the Amazon is being used as a pretext to support projects that are typical of bourgeois and worldly Christianity.”

On the power of prayer: “A man on his knees is more powerful than the world. It is an impregnable bulwark against atheism and the madness of men. A man on his knees makes Satan’s pride tremble. All of you who, in the eyes of men, are without power and influence, but who know how to remain on your knees before God, do not be afraid of those who want to intimidate you.”

Read the entire interview.

And if you’ve not read it, also see Cardinal Sarah’s May 25, 2019, address in Paris, which touches on many of the themes found in The Day Is Not Far Spent.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Carl E. Olson 1197 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.


  1. I pray that Cardinal Sarah or a man like him will be our next Pope. A man who loves the Church and wants to safeguard the Deposit of Faith.

    • Why is he not the Pope now?! If Pope Benedict XVI had to be replaced (still not certain why that was) Cardinal Sarah was the perfect replacement! May God continue to bless us with your holy guidance for many years to come.

      Just received this book today, can’t wait to get started!

    • Do you think it is possible? Cardinal Sarah is a black, hence, tribalism and ethnicsm may not allow them to nominate him. May God help us.

      • It has nothing to do with where Cardinal Sarah is from or his race, it has everything to do with what is described in Dr. Taylor Marshall’s book “Infiltration”.

    • Since member EU countries despise Our Lord and Savior, the next pope should come from southern hemisphere. Hopefully an African country which is alive in faith, not another SJ like the current heretical pope.

  2. I wish he’d have the courage to leave out qualifiers like, “in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council,” when speaking of saying the Traditional Latin Mass, and avoid platitudinous praise of Francis – a “loyal son of St. Ignatius,” he says in the dedication – when Francis is in fact prime mover behind many of the problems Cardinal Sarah identifies in the Church. Everything about Francis is antithetical to Benedict XVI, whom Cardinal Sarah admires so much.

  3. Everybody start hitting your knees and praying he becomes our next pope. He’s the best thing we have. Note that he endorses the TLM, as long as it is celebrated in accordance with Vatican II – a great way to say “TLM good, SSPX and schismatics bad” I hate it that many, including Taylor Marshall, try to use the good things about the TLM to lead us into temptation. Sarah avoids this evil tendency.

    Great guy, right on target

    • I am a Japanese Catholic.

      The Japanese Catholic Church is in crisis. The prelates and priests in Japan are misleading their sheep. What is worse, although some priests have persecuted us who wish to receive Communion on the tongue (For example, these priests rejected, rebuked, and insulted us Catholic laypeople), the prelates have NEVER saved us. I am hoping that people overseas know this problem.
      Please pray for Japan!

      details: see my blog articles

      • It is AGAINST Canon Law to refuse to give Communion on the tongue. Those priests need to be reminded of that. Communion in the hand was NEVER approved by any pope.

        • Absolutely.

          However, some prelates and priests insist that the Japanese Catholic Church does not necessarily have to follow the Vatican! A certain priest in Tokyo taught us the not-necessarily policy in a Catechism class. They might think that the Japanese Catholic Church should make independent rules on the Liturgy because Japan is not a Western, Christian Country.

          Those clergy also seems to think that the Vatican must be decentralized. Indeed, just the day before yesterday, Peter Takeo Okada, the former Archbishop of Tokyo, stated such a “personal” opinion in English on his blog as follows: “I suggest that the Holy See try greater decentralization of power through delegation to the Bishops’ Conferences. It is very desirable for the Universal Church to share responsibility among local Churches.”

          What is worse, ordinary Japanese Catholic laypeople too credulous to believe what such clergy said. So, I hope that the Japanese translation of “The Day Is Now Far Spent” will be published someday.

    • Samton –

      I believe you are mistaken to believe that the SSPX are in schism. Is there a declaration of that by the Church? What is your sense of the top 1-2 disputes involving the SSPX?

      Also, why are you connecting Taylor Marshall with The SSPX? Is Marshall a member of SSPX?

        • I attend mass at a SSPX chapel , I wouldn’t do so if it had split from the church. Officially it is ‘canonically irregular’ but in recent years the society has been authorised to hear confessions and officiate marriages. Pope Benedict is very sympathetic. I also would love to see Cardinal Sara become the next Pope, he is a such a devout man and loves the church with all his heart, but I cannot see it happening.

          • The SSPX is not in communion with Rome. Yes, they have been given faculties for confessions and marriages, but they still reject submission to the Roman Pontiff due to their refusal to accept Vatican II and the Ordinary Form of the Mass. As such, they are not recognized by Rome.

        • My friend, you need to understand Canon law and what constitutes schism. The SSPX are not schismatic. They are also fully Catholic. If you hear someone say they are not in ‘full’ communion with the Church, remind them that there are only 2 states: either in communion or not in communion. There is no mid-point. Normally those who peddle that line, have a schismatic mindset, and do not wish to see unity within the Church, rather they want division.

          • True, as those who recognize that God, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Through The Unity Of The Holy Ghost, Is The Author Of Love, Of Life, And Of Marriage, and those who deny that God, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Through The Unity Of The Holy Ghost, Is The Author Of Love, Of Life, And Of Marriage, cannot both be part of The One Body Of Christ, due to The Unity Of The Holy Ghost.

            Pray that with the death of Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, the Papacy will be restored. Rest In The Peace Of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI🙏💕🌷

      • The SSPX were excommunicated in 1988 I think it was by Pope JPII as their then leader Archbishop Lefevre consecrated some new bishops without permission. The excommunication has now been lifted I believe but they remain not in full communion with Rome as they refuse to accept some of the teachings of VCII. Not to be confused with the SSSP which is in full communion.

          • It is accurate to say that the SSPX as a group were not excommunicated…
            however it is also correct to recall that the leader, Archbishop Lefebvre, and his four illicitly ordained bishops (Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta) were excommunicated–automatically (latae sententiae) for the schismatic act.

            The excommunication of the four (still living) bishops was later lifted in 2009.

      • Dr Taylor Marshall is in an FSSP parish and they are in communion with Rome, but the SSPX are not in full communion, though Pope JPII’s excommunication has now been lifted, but they do not accept all the VCII docs and are not fully restored to tgeCgurch.

  4. Cardinal Sarah will go down in history as one of the greatest voices of the 21st century Church – and more. No one speaks of the crisis in the Church and in West as powerfully as he does: direct, unequivocal and absolutely accurate.

  5. God never leaves his people without a prophet and Christ will never abandon his church.Sarah is a man of God. A true follower of Christ. He is not a politician, he is a bishop of the church of Christ

  6. We hope that the next Pope will be far removed from anything like The Current one. If you want more accurate news about current happenings in the Church, and who are True to faith of the church, as priests and Bishops , watch the Church Militant program, who report the accurate up to the minute almost, news. Church

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Cardinal Sarah: “I believe that we are at a turning point in the history of the Church” -
  2. The 20 most popular Catholic World Report stories and articles of 2019 - Catholic Daily

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.