Cardinal Sarah: “We must rebuild the cathedral … We do not need to invent a new Church”

“As a bishop,” said Cardinal Robert Sarah at a May 25th conference in Paris, “it is my duty to warn the West: behold the flames of barbarism threaten you!”

Robert Cardinal Sarah speaking at Église Saint François-Xavier in Paris, May 25, 2019. (Image: François Xavier/Cardinal Sarah)

Editor’s note: The following Conference was given by H.E Robert Cardinal Sarah at Église Saint François-Xavier in Paris, May 25, 2019, just hours after he visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris. It was originally posted on CWR on June 21, 2019.


Allow me first of all to thank Monseigneur Michel Aupetit, Archbishop of Paris, and the curé of Saint François-Xavier parish, Fr. Lefèvre-Pontalis, for their fraternal welcome.

I have come to present my latest book: The Day is Far Spent. In this book, I analyze the profound crisis of the West, a crisis of faith, a crisis of the Church, of the priesthood, of identity, a crisis of the meaning of man and human life. I discuss this spiritual collapse and all its consequences.

This evening I would like to repeat these convictions I hold so deeply, by putting them into the perspective of a moving visit I made yesterday. Just hours ago I was at the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris. As I entered the gutted church, and contemplated its ruined vaults, I could not help but see in it a symbol of the situation of Western civilization and of the Church in Europe.

It is a sad fact: today the Church seems to be engulfed in flames on all sides. We see her ravaged by a conflagration much more destructive than the one that razed the cathedral of Notre-Dame. What is this fire? We must have the courage to name it, because “to name things wrongly is to add to the misfortune of the world.”

This blaze, this conflagration raging in particular through the Church in Europe, is a case of intellectual, doctrinal, and moral confusion. It is our cowardly refusal to proclaim the truth about God and man and to defend and transmit the moral and ethical values of the Christian tradition. It is our loss of faith and the spirit of faith, a losing sight of the objectivity of faith and thus a loss of the knowledge of God. As John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae:

In seeking the deepest roots of the struggle between the “culture of life” and the “culture of death” …we have to go to the heart of the tragedy being experienced by modern man: the eclipse of the sense of God and of man, typical of a social and cultural climate dominated by secularism, which, with its ubiquitous tentacles, succeeds at times in putting Christian communities themselves to the test…producing a kind of progressive darkening of the capacity to discern God’s living and saving presence.1

Dear friends, the cathedral of Notre-Dame had a spire that was like a finger stretching out toward heaven, pointing us toward God. In the heart of Paris, it spoke to every man about the ultimate meaning of human life.

Indeed this spire symbolized the one and only reason for the Church’s existence: to lead us to God, to point us toward Him. A Church that is not pointed toward God is a Church collapsing, already in the throes of death. The spire of the cathedral of Paris has fallen: and this is no coincidence! Notre-Dame of Paris symbolizes the whole West, buckling and crumbling after turning away from God. It symbolizes the great temptation of Western Christians: no longer turned toward God, turning inward upon themselves, they are perishing.

I am convinced that this civilization is living through its mortal hour. As once during the decline and fall of Rome, so today the elites care for nothing but increasing the luxury of their daily lives, and the people have been anaesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainments.

As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West: behold the flames of barbarism threaten you! And who are these barbarians? The barbarians are those who hate human nature. The barbarians are those who trample the sacred under foot. The barbarians are those who despise and manipulate life and strive for “human enhancement”!

When a country is prepared to let a weak and helpless man die of hunger and thirst, it marches down the paths of barbarism! The whole world watched as France hesitated to feed Vincent Lambert, one of her weakest children. My dear friends, after this, how can your country give the world lessons in/of civilization? When a country arrogates to itself the right of life and death over the smallest and weakest, when a country kills babies in their mother’s womb, it is slouching toward barbarism!

The West is blinded by its lust for wealth! The lure of money that liberalism instills in hearts lulls the peoples to sleep! Meanwhile the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continues. Meanwhile, pornography and gender ideology mutilate and destroy children and adolescents. We have become so used to barbarity, it no longer even surprises us!

Underneath the surface of its fantastic scientific and technological accomplishments and the appearance of prosperity, Western civilization is in a profound state of decadence and ruin! Like Notre-Dame cathedral, it is crumbling. It has lost its reason for being: to show forth and lead others to God. When the spire that crowns the building collapses, is it any wonder that the vaults collapse underneath it?

I want to sound a cry of alarm that is also a cry of love and compassion for Europe and the West: A West that renounces its faith, history, and Christian roots is destined for scorn and death. It no longer resembles a beautiful cathedral founded on faith, but a senseless ruin!

Any human civilization that loses sight of God saps its own foundations. A cathedral proclaims, by its vertical architecture, that we are made for God. On the contrary, man separated from God is reduced to the horizontal dimension.

If God loses his central and primary place, man loses his own proper place, no longer finds his place in creation, in his relations with others. The modern refusal of God imprisons us in a new form of totalitarianism: a relativism that admits no law but the law of profit. We must break the chains that these new totalitarian ideology wants to impose on us! If man refuses and cuts himself off from God, then he is like an immense and majestic river that, cut off from its source, sooner or later dries up and disappears. If man denies God and rejects him, he is like a giant tree that is deprived of its roots: he will die immediately. Nicholas Berdyaev said:

Where there is no God, there is no man: that is what we have learned from experience. Or look at the true nature of Socialism, now that we can see what it really looks like. But a truth that stands out and can be seen no less clearly is that there cannot be religious neutrality or absence of religion: to the religion of the living God is opposed the religion of Satan, facing the faith of Christ there is the faith of Antichrist. The neutral humanist kingdom that wanted to establish itself in an order intermediate between Heaven and Hell is in a state of corruption, and the two gulfs, of height above and of depth beneath, are disclosed. There rears up against the God-Man, not the man of the neutral intermediate kingdom, but the man-god, the man who has put himself in the place of God. The opposed poles of Being and of not-being are manifest and clear.2

To refuse God the possibility of entering into all the aspects of human life results in man condemning himself to solitude. He becomes nothing but an isolated individual, without origin or destiny. He is doomed to wander the world like a nomadic barbarian, without knowing that he is the son and heir of a Father who created him in love and calls him to share eternal happiness with him.

Behold modern man: alone, wandering about in a field of ruins. This is what I found yesterday when I visited Notre-Dame in ruins.

The spiritual crisis I describe involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. Rejection of God was conceived in Western minds. The current spiritual disaster thus has distinctively Western features. In particular, I would like to emphasize the rejection of fatherhood. Our contemporaries are convinced that, in order to be free, one must not depend on anybody. There is a tragic error in this. Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices.

This understanding of dependence and transmission was deeply etched into the hearts of those who built Notre-Dame. They worked for decades and centuries, for their descendants, in many cases without seeing the end of their work for themselves. They knew they were heirs and wanted to transmit their heritage.

Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalization in which individual interests confront one another without any law to govern them besides profit at any price.

In this book, however, I want to suggest to Western people that the real cause of this refusal to claim their inheritance and this refusal of fatherhood is the rejection of God. I see, in the depths of Western hearts, a profound refusal of the creative paternity of God. But we receive our nature as man and woman from God. “God created man in his image, in the image of God he created them, man and woman he created them” (Gen 1:27). This is intolerable to modern minds. Gender ideology is the refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some in the West revolt, rebel and fight against God. Opposing their Father and Creator head on, they pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman. They materialize in a radical way their rebellious opposition and revolt against God. Modern philosophy and the modern spirit violently reject and attack the natural law; recall what St. John said: “Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 Jn 3:4). The negation of natural law is the ultimate extreme of the rejection of God, the proclamation of liberty without limits as the absolute value and justification for sin. Gender ideology is a perfect example of this.

The West refuses to receive, and will accept only what it constructs for itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Because it is a gift from God, human nature itself becomes unbearable for Western man. This revolt is spiritual at root. It is the revolt of Satan against the gift of grace.

Fundamentally, I believe that Western man refuses to be saved by God’s mercy. He refuses to receive salvation, wanting to build it for himself. The “fundamental values” promoted by the UN are based on a rejection of God that I compare with the rich young man in the Gospel. God has looked upon the West and has loved it because it has done wonderful things. He invited it to go further, but the West turned back. It preferred the kind of riches that it owed only to itself.

The great cathedrals of the West could have been built only by men of great faith and great humility who were profoundly happy to know that they were sons of God. They are like a song of joy, a hymn to God’s glory sculpted in stone and painted in glass. They are the work of sons who love and adore their heavenly Father! All were glad to carve into stone an expression of their faith and love for God, and not for the glory of their own name. Their art works were meant to glory and praise God alone. Modern Western man is too sad to achieve such works of art.

He has chosen to be a solitary orphan: how can he chant the glory of the eternal Father from whom he has received all? Well then, what shall he do? Before the ruins of Notre-Dame, some have been tempted to say: See, this building has served its purpose. Let us build something new, more modern. Let us build something after our own image! A building that speaks, not of God’s glory, but the glory of man, of the power of science and modernity.

In the same way, some people look at the Catholic Church and say: this Church has served its purpose, let us change it, let us make a new Church after our own image. They think: the Church is no longer credible, we no longer hear her voice in the media. She is too marred by the scandals of pedophilia and homosexuality amidst the clergy. Too many of her clergy are wicked. It is necessary to change her, reinvent her.

Priestly celibacy is too difficult for our times: Make it optional! The Gospel’s moral teaching is too demanding: Make it easier! Dilute it with relativism and laxity. In the future, worry more about social questions.

Catholic doctrine doesn’t suit the media? Change it! Adapt it to the mentalities and moral perversities of our time. Let us adopt the new globalist ethic promoted by the UN and gender ideology!

Let us make the Church a human and horizontal society, let her speak a media-friendly language, make her popular! My friends, such a Church interests no one. My dear friends, the world has no use for a Church that offers nothing more than a reflection of its own image!

The Church is only of interest because she allows us to encounter Jesus. She is only legitimate because she passes on Revelation to us. When the Church becomes overburdened with human structures, it obstructs the light of God shining out in her and through her.The Church should be like a cathedral. Everything in Her should sing to the glory of God. She must unceasingly direct our gaze toward him, like the spire of Notre-Dame pointed toward heaven.

My dear friends, we must rebuild the cathedral. We must rebuild it exactly as it was before. We do not need to invent a new Church. We have to let ourselves be converted so that the Church can shine once more, so that the Church can be once more a cathedral that sings God’s glory and leads men to him. So, what is the first thing to do?

(1) The Vaults: Adoration

I tell you without hesitation: You want to rebuild the Church? Then we must get on our knees!

You want to rebuild this beautiful cathedral that is the Catholic Church? Get on your knees! A cathedral is first of all a place where men can kneel, a cathedral is where God is present in the Most Holy Sacrament. The most urgent task is to recover a sense of adoration! The loss of a sense of adoration of God is the source of all the fires and crises that are rocking the world and the Church.

We need adorers! The world is dying because it lacks adorers! The Church is parched for lack of adorers to quench her thirst! We lack people who fall to their knees like Jesus when he addresses his Father and our Father: “Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed…My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet not what I want but what you want” (see Lk 22:41; Mt 26:39; Mk 14:35).

We will not rediscover an understanding of the dignity of the human person unless we recognize the transcendence of God. Man is only great and most noble when he falls on his knees before God. The great man is humble and the humble man is on his knees!

My friends, if we sometimes despair in the face of the powers of this world, if we sometimes lay down our arms before the powers of this world, remember that no one has the power to take away your freedom to kneel! If impious priests abuse their authority and brutalize you to prevent you from kneeling to receive Holy Communion, do not lose your calm and serenity before the Eucharistic Lord. Do not resist them, but rather pray for these priests whose behavior blasphemes and profanes him whom they hold in their hands. Try to imitate the humility of God and let your heart, your will, your intelligence, your self-love and your whole interior being kneel. It is God’s exclusive domain. A man on his knees is more powerful than the world! He is an unshakable rampart against the atheism and folly of men. A man on his knees makes Satan tremble in all his pride!

All of you who, to the eyes of men, are without power and influence, but who know how to kneel before God, have no fear of those who want to intimidate you! Your mission is great. It is to “prevent the world from destroying itself”!3

I speak especially to you who are sick, weak of body or mind, you who suffer a handicap, whom society finds useless and wants to suppress: when you pray, when you adore, you are great! You have a particular dignity because you uniquely resemble Christ crucified! If you allow me the expression: the whole Church kneels before you because you bear Christ’s image, his presence! We wish to serve you, love you, console you, please you. We wish also to learn from you. You preach us the Gospel of adoration in your suffering. You are a treasure!

A cathedral no longer makes sense if no one goes there to adore, to prostrate themselves before God’s face! A cathedral no longer makes sense if the liturgy we celebrate there is not entirely meant to orient us toward God, toward the cross. Therefore, our cathedral needs priests who will celebrate the liturgy of the Mass and the liturgy of the Hours in it.

If the people of God are to adore, then priests and bishops must be the first adorers. They are called to hold themselves constantly before God’s gaze. Their existence is meant to be an unending prayer, a permanent liturgy. They are our leaders.

Very often it is bishops and priests who neglect adoration. Thus, they are centered on themselves and their activities, preoccupied with the human results of their ministry. They do not find time for God, because they have lost the sense of God. God has no more place in their life.

My dear friends, I am convinced that at the heart of the crisis of the Church is a crisis of the priesthood, a crisis of priests. If the cathedral is collapsing, it is because priestly identity has collapsed first. We have taken priests’ identity away from them. We have made them think they must be businessmen, efficient workers, active and present everywhere at every minute.

But the priest is fundamentally a continuation among us of the presence of Christ. He is essentially an adorer, a man who holds himself constantly under God’s gaze. He must not be defined by what he does but by what he is. He is ipse Christus, Christ himself.

The discovery of many cases of sexual abuse against minors reveals a profound spiritual crisis, a grave, deep, and tragic rupture between the priest and Christ. Of course, there are social factors: the crisis of the ‘60s and the sexualization of society, which rebound on the Church. But we must have the courage to go further. As Benedict XVI said recently, the roots of this crisis are spiritual. The ultimate reason for abuse or for a moral life incompatible with priestly celibacy is the concrete absence of God in the life of priests. We have witnessed for a long time now the spread of a priestly life that is no longer determined by the faith. Now if there is any life that must be entirely and absolutely determined by the faith, it is the priestly life. In the final analysis, the reason for abuse is the absence of God. Only where faith no longer determines the actions of man are such offenses possible. As Benedict XVI has reminded us:

The center of our life must really be the daily celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Central here are the words of consecration: “This is my Body, this is my Blood”, which means that we speak “in persona Christi”. Christ allows us to use his “I”, we speak in the “I” of Christ. Christ is “drawing us into himself” and allows us to be united. He unites us to his “I”. So, through this action, the fact that he “draws” us to himself so that our “I” becomes united to his, he realizes the permanence, the uniqueness of his Priesthood…It is this union with his “I” which is realized in the words of the consecration… Therefore, celibacy is an anticipation, a foretaste, made possible by the grace of the Lord, who draws us to himself, towards the world of the resurrection.4

I have dedicated this book to the priests of the whole world because I know that they are suffering. Many of them feel abandoned. We, the bishops, bear a large share of responsibility for the crisis of the priesthood. Have we been fathers to them? Have we listened to them, understood and guided them? Have we given them an example? Too often dioceses are transformed into administrative structures. There are so many meetings. The bishop should be the model for the priesthood. But we ourselves are far from being the ones most ready to pray in silence, or to chant the Office in our cathedrals. I fear that we lose ourselves in secondary, profane responsibilities.

The priest’s place is on the Cross. When he celebrates Mass, he is at the source of his whole life, which is the Cross. Celibacy is one of the concrete ways that allows us to live this mystery of the Cross in our lives. Celibacy inscribes the Cross on our flesh. That is why celibacy is intolerable for the modern world. Priestly celibacy is a scandal for moderns, because the Cross is a scandal.

In this book, I wish to encourage priests. I want to tell them: love your priesthood! Be proud to be crucified with Christ! Do not fear the world’s hatred! I wish to show my affection as a father and brother for the priests of the whole world! I want to express, before you and with you, my profound affection for all faithful priests in the world! I want before you and wish you to render them homage!

Dear friends, love your priests! Do not thank them for what they do but for what they are! Dear friends, do not be troubled by the tendentious investigations that portray the disastrous situation of irresponsible clergy, whose interior lives are diseased, who are even at the very centre of government of the Church. Stay serene and confidant like the Virgin and St. John at the foot of the Cross. Immoral priests, bishops, and cardinals cannot tarnish the bright testimony of more than four-hundred thousand priests across the world who serve the Lord every day with faith, holiness, joy, and humility!

We must be realistic and concrete. Yes, there are sinners. Yes, there are unfaithful priests, bishops, and even cardinals who fail to observe chastity. But also, and this is also very grave, they fail to hold fast to true doctrine! Sin should not surprise us. On the other hand, we must have the courage to call it by name. We must not be afraid to rediscover the methods of spiritual combat: prayer, penance, and fasting. We must have the clear-sightedness to punish unfaithfulness. We must find the concrete means to prevent it. I believe that without a common prayer life, without a minimum of common fraternal life between priests, fidelity is an illusion. We must look to the model of the Acts of the Apostles.

I want to repeat to you priests and religious who are hidden and forgotten, you whom society often despises, you who are faithful to the promises of your ordination, you make the powers of this world tremble! You remind them that nothing can resist the force present in the gift of your life for the truth. You remind them of the vital and indispensable presence of God for the future of humanity. Your presence is intolerable to the prince of lies. Without you, dear brother priests and consecrated people, humanity would be less great, less radiant, and less beautiful! Without you our cathedrals would be useless buildings without life!

You are the living rampart of the truth because you have resolved to love even to the point of the Cross. Dear brother priests, dear religious brothers and sisters, the experience of the Cross is the experience of the truth of our life! The man or cleric who proclaims the truth of God inevitably climbs upon the Cross. He will experience the passion, crucifixion, and death of the Cross. All Christians, and priests in particular, are constantly on the Cross so that through their witness the truth may shien forth and lies be destroyed. In an extraordinary way, we carry around always and everywhere on our bodies the sufferings and death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies (see 2 Cor 4:10).

I often hear it said that priestly celibacy is only a question of historical discipline. I firmly believe that this is false. As we said above, celibacy reveals the very essence of Christian priesthood, namely the perfect configuration and total identification of the priest with Christ, High Priest of the New Covenant and of the good things to come (Heb 9:11). In this sense, the priest is not only an alter Christus, another Christ, he is truly ipse Christus, Christ himself. By the Eucharistic consecration, he is totally configured to Christ, he is so to speak “transubstantiated,” transformed, changed into Christ. And because Christ and the Apostles lived in perfect chastity and celibacy as a sign of their total and absolute gift to the Father, it is thus fundamental today as well to see celibacy as a vital necessity for the Church. To speak of it as a secondary reality is hurtful to all the priests of the world!

I am deeply persuaded that the relativization of the law of priestly celibacy will reduce the priesthood to a simple function. But priesthood is not a function but a state. To be a priest is not first and foremost to do something, but to be something. It is to be Christ; it is to be the extension of the presence of Christ among men. Christ is truly the Church’s spouse. He loved the Church and gave himself up for her “in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish” (Ep 5:25-27). The priest for his part gives himself as Christ was given for the whole Church. Celibacy manifests this gift, and is its concrete and vital sign. Celibacy is the seal of the Cross on our priestly life! It is the cry of the priestly soul proclaiming its love for the Father and its total gift of self to the Church!

The desire to relativize celibacy leads to scorning this radical gift that so many faithful priests have lived since the day of their ordination. I want to shout with so many of my fellow priests my profound suffering in the face of this scorn for priestly celibacy! Of course, there can be weakness in this domain. But he who falls rises immediately and pursues his way following Christ with more fidelity and determination.

(2) The Pillars: Catholic Doctrine

And then, dear friends, what else does our cathedral need? It needs solid pillars to support the vaults. What are these pillars? What foundation is needed to support the graceful slenderness of the Gothic rib-vaults? The Catholic doctrine we have received from the apostles is the only solid foundation we can find.

If everyone defends his own opinion, theological hypotheses, novelties, or a pastoral approach that contradicts the demands of the Gospel and the perennial Magisterium of the Church, then division will spread everywhere.

I am wounded when I see so many pastors selling off Catholic doctrine and sowing division among the faithful. We owe the Christian people a clear teaching, firm and stable. How can we allow bishops and episcopal conferences to contradict one another? Where confusion reigns, God cannot dwell! For God is Light and Truth.

Unity of faith assumes the unity of the magisterium across space and time. When we are confronted with a new teaching, it must always be interpreted in continuity with the teaching that preceded. If we introduce ruptures and revolutions, we destroy the unity that governs the holy Church across the ages. This does not mean that we are condemned to a theological fixism. But all evolution must lead to a better understanding and deepening of the past. The hermeneutic of reform in continuity that Benedict XVI so clearly taught is a condition sine qua non of unity. Those who loudly proclaim change and rupture are false prophets! They are not seeking the good of the flock. They are mercenaries let in by deceit into the sheepfold!

Our unity is forged around the truth of Catholic doctrine and the moral teaching of the Church. There are no other means. To try to win media approval at the price of the truth is to do Judas’ work! Do not fear! What greater gift is there for humanity than the truth of the Gospel? What more precious treasure than the light of the Gospel and the Wisdom of God, who is Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:24)?

Some Christians seem to want to deprive themselves of this light and wisdom. They limit themselves to looking at the world with secular eyes. Why? Is it the wish to be accepted by the world? The wish to be like the world?

I wonder whether, deep down, this attitude masks a fearful refusal to listen to what Jesus himself told us: “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world.” What an honor, but also what a responsibility! What a duty! To renounce being the salt of the earth is to condemn the world to remain bland and tasteless. To renounce being the light of the world is to condemn it to darkness and abandon it to the shadows of its rebellion against God! We must not let this happen!

Indeed let us turn toward the world: in order to bring it the only light that does not deceive. When the Church turns toward the world, this cannot entail that she hides the scandal of the Cross, but only that she makes it accessible once again in its naked reality. Dear friends, I was deeply moved spiritually by a photograph published the day after the fire at Notre-Dame of Paris. In the photo, the interior of the church is visible, heaped with debris and still smoking. But above these heaps of shattered stones, the luminous cross installed by Cardinal Lustiger is still standing! “Stat Crux, dum volvitur orbis – the Cross stands while the world turns.” The world is turning and falling, only the Cross remains stable and shows us the way to salvation. Only the truth of the Cross remains, the truth of Catholic doctrine.

If turning toward the world means turning from the Cross, that will not lead to a renewal but to death!

Among many Christians there is a fear and repugnance of witnessing to the faith or carrying the light of the Gospel to the world. Our faith has become lukewarm, like a slowly fading memory. It is becoming like a cold fog. We no longer dare to claim that it is the only light of the world. We have to give witness not to ourselves, but to God who has come to meet us and revealed himself in Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.

It is therefore urgent to insist on the teaching of catechism to adults and children. We have a wonderful tool for that purpose: the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium.

The failure of catechetics leads many Christians to hold only a vague idea of the faith or even a kind of religious syncretism. Some chose to believe one article of the Creed and reject another. We have even started taking surveys regarding Catholics’ acceptance of various truths of the faith…Faith is not a merchant’s booth where we choose the fruit and vegetables we like! When we receive it, it is God that we receive, whole and entire! I solemnly call upon Christans to love the dogmas and articles of faith, to cherish them. Love our catechism! If we accept it with our hearts and not only with our lips, then the formulas of faith let us enter into true communion with God. It is time to rescue Christians from the ambiguous and confused speech of certain prelates and from the current relativism that anaesthetizes hearts and banishes love! Remember the clear and firm testimony of Peter: “there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved, than by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” (Acts 4:10-12). Let us think of all the Christians of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East who are butchered for the name of Jesus!

It is time that the faith became for Christians their most intimate and most valuable treasure. We can measure the lukewarmness that has spread in our ranks by our apathy in the face of doctrinal deviations. We often see grave errors taught in Catholic universities or officially Christian publications. No one reacts! And we, the bishops, we are content with cautious and fearful corrections. Beware! One day the faithful will demand an account of us. They will accuse us before God for leaving them to the wolves, and deserting our posts as pastors when we should have defended the sheepfold.

Understand well: My cry is a cry of love! Our faith informs our love for God. To defend the faith is to defend the weakest and simplest, and permit them to love God in truth. Dear friends, we must burn with love for our faith. We must not dilute it with worldly compromises. We must not falsify it or corrupt it. It is a matter of the salvation of souls, ours and those of our brothers! The day we no longer burn with love for our faith, the world will be cold, deprived of its most precious good. It is our task to defend and announce the faith!

Who shall rise to proclaim the faith in the cities of the West? Who shall rise to announce the true faith to Muslims? They seek it unconsciously. They turn to Islamism because, in the way of religion, all the West has to offer them is the consumer society.

Which of you will be the missionaries the world needs? Where are the missionaries who will teach the whole faith to so many Catholics who are ignorant of what they believe? Do not place the light of faith under a basket any longer, do not hide this treasure given freely to us! Dare to proclaim, to witness, to catechize! We can no longer call ourselves believers and live in practice like atheists!

The faith enlightens our family, professional and cultural life, not only our spiritual life. In the West, some call for tolerance or secularity, and impose a form of schizophrenia between private and public life. Faith has its place in public debate! We must speak of God, not to impose him but to reveal and propose him. God is an indispensible light to mankind.

(3) The Stained Glass: Fellowship with the Saints

My dear friends, to finish our cathedral, we still need the stained glass. They let in the luminous presence, joyful and multi-colored, of the saints in heaven.

We need saints who dare to look at all things with the eyes of faith, who dare to be enlightened by the light of God. My friends, will we be these saints the world awaits? You, Christians of today, will you be the saints and martyrs the nations groan for, will you lead a new evangelization? Your homelands are thirsting for Christ! Do not disappoint them! The Church entrusts this mission to you!

I think we are at a turning point in the history of the Church. The Church needs a profound, radical reform that must begin by a reform of the life of her priests. But all these means are at the service of sanctity. The Church is holy in herself. Our sins and our worldly concerns prevent her holiness from diffusing itself. It is time to put aside all these burdens and allow the Church finally appear as God made Her.

Some believe that the history of the Church is marked by structural reforms. I am sure that it is the saints who change history. The structures follow afterwards, and do nothing other than perpetuate the what the saints brought about. When God calls, he demands something radical! He goes all the way, down to the root. Dear friends, we are not called to be mediocre Christians! No, God is calling our whole being, asking for a total gift even to the martyrdom of our body and soul! He is calling us to sanctity: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev 19:2).

In the conclusion of my book, I speak about a poison from which are all suffering: a virulent atheism. It permeates everything, even our ecclesiastical discourse. It consists in allowing radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking or living to coexist side by side with faith. And we are quite content with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become diluted and inconsistent! The first reform we need is in our hearts. We must no longer compromise with lies. The Faith is both the treasure we have to defend and the power that will permit us to defend it.

Today from the bottom of my heart as a pastor, I wish to invite all Christians to conversion. We do not need to create parties within the Church. We cannot proclaim ourselves the saviors of this or that institution. All of this will aid the enemy in his game. But each of us can take this resolution: I will not accept the lie of atheism. I do not want to renounce the light of faith, I do not want light to live side by side with darkness in my soul, through laziness, convenience, or conformism! It is a very simple decision, both interior and concrete. It will change our life in its smallest details. It is not about going off to war. It is not about denouncing enemies. It is not about attacking or criticizing. It is about staying firmly faithful to Jesus Christ, to his Gospel and to the mystery of the Church. Though we cannot change the world, we can be changed ourselves. If each person would take this resolution humbly, then the system of lies would crumble of its own accord, because its only strength is the place we give to it in ourselves!

My dear friends, the West has built awesome cathedrals. Today they are in danger of becoming museums without a soul. But the day when the cathedrals will have become mere carcasses of stone will be a sad day, and the world will lose all sense and purpose.

Let me conclude by citing Benedict XVI once more:

Man needs an appeal, addressed to his soul, that can carry and sustain him. He needs a place for his soul. That is what a cathedral symbolizes. But a building only becomes a cathedral thanks to men who construct this space for the soul, men who transform the stones into a cathedral and thus open for everyone a way to the infinite, an appeal without which man suffocates. Humanity needs “cathedral builders” whose pure and disinterested life makes God credible.

My dear friends, I invite you, for my part, to be these cathedral builders.

We must find places where the virtues can flourish. It is time to rediscover the courage of non-conformism. Christians must create places where the air is breathable, or simply where the Christian life is possible. I call upon Christians to bravely open oases of freedom in the midst of the desert created by rampant profiteering. Indeed you must not be alone in the desert of a society without God. A Christian who stays alone is a Christian in danger! He will end up being devoured by the sharks of the market society. Christians must regroup in communities around their cathedrals: the houses of God. Our communities must put God in the center. At the center of our lives, our thoughts, our actions, our liturgies, and our cathedrals.

Amidst the avalanche of lies, we must be able to find places where truth is not only explained but experienced. In a word, we must live the Gospel: not merely thinking about it as a utopia, but living it in a concrete way. The Faith is like a fire, but it has to be burning in order to be transmitted to others. Watch over this sacred fire! Let it be your warmth in the heart of this winter of the West.

When a fire glows in the night, men slowly gather around it. This is our hope. This is our cathedral.

(Translated by Zachary Thomas)


1 Evangelium Vitae, 25 March 1995, n. 21.

2 Nicolas Berdyaev, Un nouveau Moyen Age, Paris, 1927.

3 Albert Camus, Nobel Prize speech, 10 December 1957.

4 Dialogue of the Holy Father Benedict XVI with Priests, St. Peter’s Square, 10 June 2010.

Robert Cardinal Sarah (center) visiting the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris on May 25, 2019. (Image: Cardinal Sarah)

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About Cardinal Robert Sarah 4 Articles
Cardinal Robert Sarah is prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He is the author, with Nicolas Diat, of God or Nothing, The Power of Silence and the forthcoming The Day Is Now Far Spent.


      • You’d think our diversity craved world would heed such genuine wisdom coming from a true prophet of Africa who has personally dealt with persecution from post colonial bloody tyrants, is a true scholar and has little to do with our current deconstructionist pornographic gender confused ideology. It is so much easier for so many confused Juda inspired clerics to tolerate the adepts of the official cult of Moloch demanding the right to kill babies, to conceive adulterine parent less genetically enhanced and selected test tube children and who clothe their cowardness with secular utopian egalitarianism

        • I thank God for Cardinal Sarah’s words of wisdom and alarm call to consider seriously and in prayer our individual place in and as Church. He has indeed written in truth and with integrity of the very serious condition of the whole Western Church in a prophetic manner.
          I take to heart what our Cardinal is alerting us to and calling us to move out of our inertia. To take a good look at ourselves and what is in reality going on in our world.
          I have felt for some time now felt that we are so caught up by the distractions of the clamorous false voices of this time. People don’t have time, but are always busy trying to save time. There is very little time to pray and be silent. Always something needs to be done, people to see, emails to do and so on and on………
          Our beautiful world and people are broken, tired and stressed by the pollution of falseness and lack of trust.
          It is as though we are sleep walking into a black hole and a rude awakening is what we need from the God who never ceases to love us. We are all culpable and need to turn back to God our Father and Mary our Mother who will draw us back to her Dear Son. Ad Jesum per Mariam. Sr.Maria

      • loving socialism or capitalism is like not loving God. because neither system works without believing that the law of divine love is the standard for all human actions. how can american catholics criticise the Pope, when american foreign policy is the most evil on the planet. most americans are in love with capitalism…. Pope Francis knows this. that is why he is so hated.

  1. This speech is a definitive call to arms for the faithful. I have said it before, but will say it again, I pray that Cardinal Sarah will become our next Pope.

      • I thought this powerful article very thought provoking despite his not knowing/forgetting that St. Peter had a mother-in-law therefore ipso facto married and so it must be assummed, for lack of further evidence -that I can find, not to be celibate….

        • Maybe the “further evidence” is actually the lack of further evidence, as in silence in the gospels or the Acts of the Letters of Peter on whether Peter’s wife might have followed him to Antioch, OR not, or to Rome, OR not.

          Likely that she did not share his mission? Or, perhaps Peter still had a mother-in-law but was already a widower? Why do Mark, Luke and Matthew report that it was the mother-in-law (and curiously not the wife) who then waited on them? Evidence, perhaps, that the wife was no longer around?

          Or, perhaps simply an abrupt transition from being married to now being celibate, perhaps, yet not nearly so abrupt as when the Virgin Mary became a mother.

          So, Peter’s mother-in-law thing is not evidence against the calling of some to be alter Christus.

          • Peter, you have made the case for ‘alter Christus’ exceedingly well for Stephanie to ponder. There are of course many more reasons for ‘Alter Christus’ as well that Stephanie has most likely never come across or researched.

        • St Peter had a wife and a mother-in-law. In following Jesus, he was unable to fish enough to support his family so they became dependent upon relatives. That was the source of conflict with his mother-in-law. When God is first in our lives the family comes second and that can be hard on families. For priests, it’s better they not marry.

    • I like the Cardinal’s call to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I think its important to study the Gospels as well, so we know exactly what Our Lord said.. Its time to proclaim the entire truth… every single bit !

  2. Excellent commentary! May we all heed Cardinal Sarah’s advice and become the cathedral builders the world so needs!

  3. “He must not be defined by what he does but by what he is. He is ipse Christus, Christ himself”

    A holy Church is a humble Church and by definition a Holy Priesthood is a humble Priesthood.
    Image lies at the root of many problems within the Church today, as It could be said that ‘Image’ reigns supreme on the ‘Worldly’ plain, as it creates the power to award both honour and shame. Clericalism the vehicle that carried our Christian endeavours throughout the ages, has manged, assisted by a ‘Worldly Faithful,’ to maintain an ‘Image’ of Holiness/goodness, before mankind. This Image of Goodness (Only God is good) has now been shattered. So now how can the leadership and all of us, embrace this shattered Image?

    The precursor to understanding Jesus’s mission, is to know, that a humble heart is the one and only state from where the ongoing transforming action of The Holy Spirit can take place, as it marks/creates a necessary separation of the Church/Faithful from ‘The World’

    But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. All had witnessed many miracles, while Peter James, & John had also witnessed The Transfiguration, while hearing the voice of God. It appears “all seemed to have missed out on radicle conversion” And for this reason Jesus taught us ‘all’ to pray not to be led/put to the Test, rather “but deliver us from evil”

    “For the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”

    True sincerity of heart before God, transforms our failings, no matter how tragic, into humility, and this can be clearly seen in Peters chosen means of martyrdom.
    We can only walk His Way in humility

    “Learn from me I am meek and lowly of heart” and you shall find rest to your souls

    Or put another way, learn from His vulnerability, while in humble ‘simplicity’, we are been emptied (Set free) of the selfhood; we then find (the lost coin, a dew drop, a mustard seed, pearl) joy/peace, the spiritual ‘treasure’ of humility, dwelling/adorned within our own heart/soul.

    When information was given to the laity in 1998, in regards to the Divine Mercy Image/message, given to the then Blessed Sister M Faustina Kowalska I wrote this from the heart, and it bears witness to The Truth

    Mother church, I am angry it is true I have many bones to pick with you
    I read about a Nun, the mirror of her heart shone in the dark
    She held the lord in the most perfect way, tender heart, water, and gentle ray
    Paint me in such away, that they will know what I want to say, taste the water feel the gentle ray
    The result was stark like a tree without bark
    She might as well have painted in the dark
    An earthly hand said this will never do, paint it a new
    She drew and drew but in her heart she knew that for the hand of authority, it would never do
    We will have another do it anew we don’t want them to laugh at you
    We will make it in our image perfect in every way
    Your reflection is failure, take it away
    I knew a child I knew him well he tried to draw a picture for you as well
    No child was more honest and this is true on first communion day you tore his heart in two.
    You cannot read you cannot pray, this is a sin this is not the perfect way, go away
    Guilt was the price to pay I did not know the correct words to say
    Benediction came can I ring the bell? No! you will not do it well
    “But I do all you ask”, why are you like an Asp
    Puberty came, now this really was sin, I could not win
    I tried but all you did was chide
    In trust I gave you the picture of my heart, you tore it apart
    I took you at your word you see, you said.
    “Be perfect”, just like me.
    You knew that my heart fell at the apple tree you did not tell, that you fell as well
    Now we have a picture on display, perfect in every way.
    Whose reflection is shown?
    Why does hers, not hold the higher place, was not she the one with the grace.
    But for you Mother it will not do, it must be perfect to reflect you
    Will love find a way to show the truth, form the way and mould a heart so that it may pray?
    Let the children come and play, taste the water and feel the gentle ray
    So that they might live in day
    Venerate the picture of Broken Man we reflect the Lords heart the best we can.
    “Father” we only have to turn to you and always you give the morning dew.
    Your heart is nailed to a tree, so that we dance free when we bend our knee

    “Jesus I put my trust in thee”

    Been uneducated, at the time of writing the above I did not fully understand in my intellect the full implication of what I had written, although I knew in my heart that the picture/image that the Church had presented to the laity for veneration was sinfully. It was not until much later that I realized that the said picture/image was blasphemous, as it incorporates the on-going breaking of the Second Commandment, by the arrogance of the elite within the Church, who continue to project a mirrored self-serving, ‘Worldly’ image “of ipse Christus, Christ himself”

    Destroy the Worldly Image and restore credibility, while walking His Way of humility, before the given, True Divine Mercy Image, an Image of Broken Man.

    Please consider continuing via the link which gives conclusive information on the breaking of the Second Commandment by the elite of the Church.

    “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

      • “An imbecile habit has risen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma was credible in the 12th century, but is not credible in the 20th. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays.” — G.K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”, 1908.

      • Truth, is by definition a reflection of the unchanging eternal mind of God. Truth never chages, only human vanity and forms of selfishness change.
        And the Church does not have “rules,” as rebelious adolescent minds like to trivialize its presetation of morality. Truths about morality are a part of our created being, and our God given nature never changes.

    • When talking about the desertion of Christ by the Apostles, you need to keep in mind that of all the Apostles, only St. John the Evangelist was at the foot of the Cross with Jesus and Mary. He was the one entrusted with the care of the Virgin Mary. He was the only Apostle who died of old age.

  4. Following his controversial dismissal from the Congregation for the Liturgy and booted ‘upstairs’ to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments the Cardinal continues to speak in defense of orthodoxy as the Vatican moves in the opposite direction. Cardinal Sarah desists from rebuking the Pontiff, at least not directly. An uneasy accommodation in this Byzantine atmosphere in one sense works in the interests of the Pontiff. Cardinal Sarah likely assessing the danger of radical change inherent in the Amazonian Instrumentum Laboris bravely calls changing the Church the work of the Devil constantly issuing strong statements of evil within the Church yet naming no one. However a cryptic dual message agenda that leans heavily on premises drawn from Amoris Laetitia advocating a new Skinnerian Situation Ethics based on mitigation and conscience inevitably prevails over orthodoxy. Untie the hawsers and the ship will drift away. At least for many seeking solution to their moral dilemma. Other than faithful return to the sacraments. It may not seem fitting for some of us, although an expected benefit due to the confused faithful if the Cardinal were to address this crux issue respectfully and directly with the Pontiff. And if required openly.

    • The Pontiff fills his mouth with words like dialogue and parresia but if anyone tries to take seriously what he says, that person gets the boot. I don’t think that challenging the Pontiff publicly would do much good.
      On reading the article, I recalled a Spanish expression that runs ” “He is stating truths by the fistfull”.

      • Thomas I actually agree the Pontiff will likely not as in the past respond to an open request for clarification. Although if Cardinal Sarah and other prelates make such a public appeal, a sound doctrinal query outlining the distinction between what is formally Magisterial and binding and what is not – the latter in respect to dissemination of error by suggestion, offhand remarks it should benefit laity and clergy who are confused. As things stand making such an inquiry directly to Pope Francis is the only viable means of determining the truth for the Church at large since the issue can only be settled in respect to the man who holds the Chair of Peter. If he continues to refuse response to a significant number of bishops/cardinals who possess Apostolic commission to defend the faith it will force in effect a definitive judgment whether by his response or by his silence. As an ordinary priest I’m not in the position to make such an inquiry. Nonetheless this is what I have been advocating to our Hierarchy. The Open Letter to our bishops was designed for the very purpose I recommend here. The failure has been on the part of Hierarchy. Needless to say those of us who perceive the dilemma must not desist from expressing our legitimate concerns with Hierarchy.

    • “Untie the hawsers and the ship will drift away”
      I have never seen a more succinct explanation of Pope Francis’s overall strategy.

  5. “Cathedral builders” did not write books, give lectures, sit for interviews, deliver sermons, or exhort and encourage others. They acted. They actually did something. I am so exceedingly weary of reading these carefully crafted addresses by Cardinals Sarah, Mueller, and Burke that obliquely and with plausible deniability avoid dealing openly and directly with this hideous pope’s demolition of the Church. As bishops and cardinals they have what no layman has: spiritual power and authority of governance. To Cardinal Sarah and the rest of traveling troupe I say: “Your words are meaningless without action. If you continue to refuse to act, take off your crimson robes meant to testify that you would shed blood for the Faith, end the charade, and go away.”

    • Suger, the Abbot and founder of the first great Gothic Church, St. Denis outside of Paris, now a Muslim stronghold, did write a book about what he meant to achieve. I don’t think that openly rebelling against the present Pope would achieve much. Archbishop Viganó did it, and he is now in hiding fearing for his life. All of the many who have written filial corrections and a host of other documents have achieved nothing, some of them getting the boot from their position at Catholic institutions.

    • What do you want them to do instead of speaking? Do you want him to stage a coup? Run into the Vatican with guns drawn? Put a banana under Francis’s feet? Put poison into this mate’?

      The Cathedral builders built Cathedrals, they did not unseat popes. Should Sarah build a cathedral? Then you would be happy I guess, but we would still have Pope Francis. And a new cathedral.

    • I understand what you are saying, Paul. . and agree with you. They have tried the ‘gentle’ way for so long. Our Lord wasn’t gentle with evil people… especially in the Temple. This pope is destroying God’s Temple…. Holy Mother Church, and is getting away with it. More destruction day by day. Heaps of people are leaving the Church, or staying in it and living sinful lives because of what they hear the pope saying. He doesn’t believe in the moral teachings of the Church, therefore he is not a Catholic. Quite simple.

      • While there is a cabal of destroyers at the top of the vvatican starting with Pf only divine intervention through prayer will work Start praying like never before

  6. This is powerful. Thank God Cardinal Sarah has the courage and conviction to speak the truth, far from the “make a mess” and “who am I to judge” statements we have heard. Cardinal Sarah’s are are uplifting because they are true. Long may he be with us, to witness to the Incarnate Lord in so clear a way.

  7. My suggestion: print this out, mail it to your Pastor, Bishop or Auxiliary Bishop — someone who will actually take the time to read it and mark it: REQUIRED READING. Cardinal Sarah is giving us what we have been begging for: an accurate and heartbreakingly honest assessment of where we are and the danger we are in along with the strong but not new medicine required. We need holy priests and holy and courageous laity on their [our] knees. We need to pray NOW. Sacrifice NOW. Adore NOW. Speak lovingly of our Faith to any and all who will listen. We, too, will be called to account, along with our Shepherds, for our refusal to be the Missionaries of the great gift of our faith, if we fail to act on this warning, these words.

  8. As an Evangelical Protestant, I believe that Cardinal Sarah is 100% accurate as to both the problem & the cure. The same problem is rampant in Protestant Christianity as well, & the cure is the same: we are to be a light to the world, & we are to be faithful to what scripture says, not what we (or the world) thinks it should mean.

  9. Cardinal Sarah is “uplifting” but not all that courageous for me really.

    I consider Aidan Nichols, OP and John Rist, et al (among my heroes) courageous. And yes, Vigano.

    Cardinal Sarah may be ad orientem in worship but not really ad Bergoglium in his critiques. It’s tiresome…especially when he references “my latest book.”

    • “It’s tiresome…especially when he references ‘my latest book.'”

      When Cardinal Sarah says, “I have come to present my latest book: ‘The Day is Far Spent’,” he is referring to the fact that the address was given at a presentation of his book. So, of course, he’s going to mention it!

      • Yes, of course, but for me the book release context exacerbates the “tiresome” part Paul in his reply refers to and summarizes well: “I am so exceedingly weary of reading these carefully crafted addresses by Cardinals Sarah, Mueller, and Burke that obliquely and with plausible deniability avoid dealing openly and directly with this hideous pope’s demolition of the Church. As bishops and cardinals they have what no layman has: spiritual power and authority of governance.”

        “Who shall rise to proclaim the faith in the cities of the West? Who shall rise to announce the true faith to Muslims? They seek it unconsciously. They turn to Islamism because, in the way of religion, all the West has to offer them is the consumer society.”(Cardinal Sarah)

        In his mind, is that all, even the fallen atheistic West has to offer? Is the West in a state of “utter depravity” or simply “utter consumerism?” What does non-Western society have to offer as we survey behaviors on various continents? How are people treated in non-Western societies? And why should Muslims convert to Catholicism considering signed accords with our brothers in Abraham and a photo of a now Catholic Saint kissing the Koran? Does one defend Cardinal Sarah of Guinea, “If anyone has right to talk about Islam…he does?” How many Muslims are truly free to convert minus the threat of being killed? Do Western converts to Islam prefer to be on the seemingly winning side? After all, even the we can say Western Cardinal has a dim dim view of the West…and let’s consider the real Islamization of Europe…yes, John Paul II had a dim view of “shallow” America vs. profound Poland?…Bergoglio has an Argentinian “love” for America…yes…only the collection baskets of developed Western societies are not “sinful.”

        There are so many attempts in this presentation to “connect” it seems with Bergoglio’s “good stuff” while refusing to critique the signature elements of Bergoglio’s papacy that are at the heart of the current doctrinal crisis with the attachment of the name “Pope Francis.” The objection that this did not start with Bergoglio is NOT the issue and such an objection is disingenuous. And it becomes “tiresome” to also hear someone ask, “Do you expect him to take on the Pope?” At this time, as he is a Cardinal…yes. You might object to the phrase “take on” but…find a more canonical substitute phrase.

        “Today from the bottom of my heart as a pastor, I wish to invite all Christians to conversion. We do not need to create parties within the Church. We cannot proclaim ourselves the saviors of this or that institution. All of this will aid the enemy in his game. But each of us can take this resolution: I will not accept the lie of atheism. I do not want to renounce the light of faith, I do not want light to live side by side with darkness in my soul, through laziness, convenience, or conformism! It is a very simple decision, both interior and concrete. It will change our life in its smallest details. It is not about going off to war. It is not about denouncing enemies. It is not about attacking or criticizing. It is about staying firmly faithful to Jesus Christ, to his Gospel and to the mystery of the Church. Though we cannot change the world, we can be changed ourselves. If each person would take this resolution humbly, then the system of lies would crumble of its own accord, because its only strength is the place we give to it in ourselves!”

        How has the Pope spoken about atheists and atheism? Does the “system of lies” include doctrinal confusion in the Church and criminality? Will criminality in the Church “crumble of its own accord?”

        The irony of this presentation for me is that it also manifests an essential component of the West’s crisis: an “optimistic” non-focus/denial/attenuation? of “fallen Man” along with the effects of original sin and personal sin and the need for grace (even within the Church and dare I say especially in the Church!)…the belief in an almost Kantian free will that just needs to wake up? and make with a sense of urgent duty a “simple decision.” There’s little of the “fallen Adam” here really but an easy to beat up “fallen West.” Though the need for Grace is NOT denied in this presentation…why is grace only referenced directly as “grace” with regard to Satan’s refusal of grace? Does the solution begin with “a simple decision” against atheism? In short, the Cardinal is seeking a Western “optimistic” (non-Augustinian?) solution of “will” while descrying “the West.

        Fr. Morello states it well: “As things stand making such an inquiry directly to Pope Francis is the only viable means of determining the truth for the Church at large since the issue can only be settled in respect to the man who holds the Chair of Peter. If he continues to refuse response to a significant number of bishops/cardinals who possess Apostolic commission to defend the faith it will force in effect a definitive judgment whether by his response or by his silence. ”

        The failure to directly name Bergoglio and request clarification is itself IMO a “cowardly refusal” and yes, at this date in 2019… “tiresome.”

        For some reason, it seems like praying for the conversion of Russia…but not really by name…

  10. When you hear it proclaimed like this, authentic Christianity has a clarity, beauty and force that simply obliterates the empty jargon coming from the Vatican these days.

  11. ” …. the flames of barbarism threaten you.”

    Because this NWO Pope is allowing it to!!!

    It’s time for a reincarnation of Urban II ….

  12. “I am wounded when I see so many pastors selling off Catholic doctrine and sowing division among the faithful. We owe the Christian people a clear teaching, firm and stable. How can we allow bishops and episcopal conferences to contradict one another? Where confusion reigns, God cannot dwell! For God is Light and Truth.”

    Is it “How can WE allow?” or somebody else? “How can WE allow???!”

    “Where confusion reigns, God cannot dwell! ”

    “Make a mess.” (Bergoglio)

    Perhaps a more fruitful alternative to “the West” will be discovered in the Amazonas?

    It was not just “atheism” (and the Evil One) that paved the way to this place for “the West” (and yes, within the Church) but a deluded overly optimistic baptized sense of free will (taken into the Church’s “various theologies”) followed by self-hatred? for the West and yes towards the Church itself)…that and a “Seamless Garment” insufficient to cloak decades of perversity, cover ups and criminality…homosexual Machiavellianism…that and the Legionnaires of Christ are still in operation.

    The last time “we?” checked the Devil is not an atheist (though some Satanists are indeed atheists). But really, our crisis in the Church begins with our increasingly globalist, ecumenically expedient promotion of the “Fatherhood of God” /Brotherhood of Man”(vs a bold proclamation of the Holy Trinity) and our deliberately blurred sense of the Last Four Things.

    Ultimately it is a lack of LOVE for God’s Will. The mystery of evil like in the mystery of evil in the Church, the fallen angels KNEW God and His Will…but HATED that Will. Of course, there is no easy or one real explanation. How does one even explain “a senseless crime?” The malice of evil in the Church especially in the hierarchy may be less of the “disbelief” variety than we think…the “disbelief” in some ways we would prefer as an explanation.

  13. It’s only when we look back to the teachings and priorities in Scripture, can we see how much we have drifted in the present. We should all be doing this. We need to go back to when cathedrals had not been built.

  14. The diagnosis is clear and accurate. Now it needs to be applied. And in order to come out this CRISIS, the answer was given by St Josemaria: “These world crises are crises of saints!” The good news is that each of us can make an effort to be a saint and, in that way, help Our Mother the Church to come out of this crisis.

  15. What is more important to study: the Cathecism or the Bible, the Word of God? I totally support Pope Francis. God bless him and give strength to stay strong even if he’s going to be sold by his “family” to strangers. One day everything will be opened and reveald.

  16. The issue crying out for “clarification”—-is this less a matter of defined faith than whether the Incarnation can be fully affirmed in perennial doctrine, on the one hand, while on the other, removed from day-to-day personal morality? Is it less about “clarity” than about pretended separability and even contradiction in action or inaction?

    It’s not only about Cardinal Sarah’s siren warning about the rotting bones of Western Consumerism (true enough), or even Pope Francis’ discovery that Christendom is long dead (equally true, but also a straw man?). Is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church now on the auction block of history? Given the inroads achieved by secularism, why not simply cut our losses by amputating faith from morals? Reaffirm matters of faith, but sever the morals. Get in front of the parade. No need to even mention “consequentialism” or “proportionalism,” so clearly refuted in the pre-2013 Veritatis Splendor. Deny nothing; simply suspend and set aside.

    The new orthodoxy: don’t be “bigots” or “rigid.” An infiltrated homosexual subculture (concealed by the cover-story “pedophilia”); a pagan and effeminate synod (Pachamama); an androgynous leadership-from-behind (Germania).

    Is the underlying issue more of a cultural one, the lacking prerequisite—-maturity? The theological call to universal holiness is radically true, but one must be a man before one can be a holy man. And a woman before a holy woman. Yes? So, maturity. Why is an adolescent (chameleon?) Church of open-ended synodality the only game in town?

    Since the Magisterium deepens and matures through time—-and therefore is a fullness and “space” always greater than time—-then isn’t the universal Church most free in the truth when it follows but also discerns ever more faithfully and precisely the slogan that “time is [always?] greater than space” (Evangelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia)? Such maturity is not ipso facto (Latin!) an escape into the past.

    That is, with the doctrinal faith (more than an idea) well-grounded in Christ—and with equally concrete morality not contradicting this faith—-St. Paul already offers the implored “clarification”: “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4:13).

    “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8).

  17. Cardinal Sarah is a faithful priest. We require a great warrior of the faith as noted historically by Roberto De Mattei [see his article posted in The Remnant]. Pope Saint Gregory the great was one such priest. De Mattei’s historical acumen reveals that God chooses great men to lead the Christian people and preserve the faith of revelation. That treasure if protected yields Epiphany. French writer Paul Claudel young agnostic wandering aimlessly like many today entered Notre Dame as the Magnificat was sung. “Suddenly I had the piercing feeling of innocence, of the eternal childhood of God: an ineffable revelation!” (Paul Claudel in De Mattei). Claudel’s revert conversion is indicative of the preservation of this faith in the Child Jesus our eternal treasure and gateway to eternal happiness. Or eternal regret. Great men do not replace the truth with paradigmatic invention. We need a true Leader.

  18. Cardinal Sarah in this speech did immensely better than 97% (or more) of prelates that either don’t speak or speak in watered-down, politically “correct”, complicit terms with the Culture of Death of the Satanic Trinity: Marxism, Homosexuality and Islam; and for which P. Francis has shown so much sensual passion, so much delight and so much favor, while attacking or insulting those that are for True Catholicism. Did Cardinal Sarah, cover everything meticulously in his speech and was he perfectly accurate on everything? No Saint is ever perfect, only God is, and Saints become Saints by increasingly recognizing and submitting to God’s Absolute Divine Perfection, not by claiming it as their very own thing and sole property, as P. Francis so narcissistically does.

    Did Cardinal Sarah confront P. Francis by name, more directly and forcefully, as in a rooster fight, pit dog fight, WWF match or MMA match? No, he didn’t and he didn’t need to. P. Francis already looks down angrily on him as his “personal enemy” and has tried again and again to humiliate him. It certainly would be easier, more convenient and more appealing FOR US to have Cardinal Sarah rock the boat so hard as to get P. Francis thrown overboard in one single confrontation/speech/etc. but that’s not how the True Catholic Church works.

    P. Francis would deliriously LOVE that kind of confrontation as it would make him a glorified, instant, false martyr/victim/scapegoat-of-“obsolete rigidity”! Cardinal Sarah did give some monumental, ultra-powerful and absolutely truthful things on this speech and those are the ones we need to FOCUS ON. We are being demanded cross-like sacrifice and striving for holiness and we have to take that cross, instead of asking for the easy, traitorous, false holiness of the Pope who is just surrendering to evil, pontificating and demanding total blind obedience and then calling it “loving holiness”. Cardinal Sarah is doing his job and we must do ours. If we DO strive for daily holiness, his words will indeed ignite a worldwide firestorm of the Holy Spirit! Per crucem ad lucem! Through the Cross to the Light!!

  19. A tour de force. Christian truth of the first order. Now our job is to live the truth, our prayer must be “living prayer “. In these days, it is a miracle of grace that a man of the stature of Cardinal Sarah exists.

  20. Addendum to my post above: Kevin Walters June 22, 2019 at 4:30 am

    To take on the mantle Celibacy, is to confront human nature head on, that is why Jesus says “he who can” as it has the potential to open one to the sin of Pride (Image). It is defiantly not obligatory for a Shepherd, to say so would be a manifestation of arrogance, as it contradicts the Divine Word (Will)

    I think we all would agree, that those who have truly committed themselves to celibacy for the ‘Kingdom of God’, should be applauded while giving thanks for their commitment, provided that they have been given the grace (Gift) to do so. But sadly the ‘Image’ of the Priesthood (all male celibates), has been found lacking, as the downward spiral of the institutional Church continues.

    This often-self-proclaimed statement/idea that an all-male celibate priesthood is somehow a higher state, than the lay state, is to project an Image that deviates from this teaching

    “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”

    ‘Jesus appears to be conveying that His disciples do to take honor (Image) to themselves, which did not belong to them; nor even choose to be called by such names, as would lead people to entertain too high an opinion of them, and take off of their dependence on God the Father, and Himself, as these titles the Scribes and Pharisees loved to be called by, rather look to the mandate given at the last super, to those who would lead in His name’.

    Hope’s springs eternal or so the saying goes’
    Doe’s the Church present a weed?
    When she should present a rose,
    A light set upon a hill,
    All mankind shall see and know God’s Holy Will.
    No word need be spoken, as all mankind shall see,
    God’s lovers as they bend their knee.
    Justice and Love reflected from above.
    Then missionary shall call, we would have this for one and all
    A crystal (Rome) sat on a hill,
    Manifesting our Fathers Holy Will.

    To create this ‘Hope’ should be our priority, as presently where can mankind look to see the Truth within the Gospels, actually working.

    To Peter “feed my flock” we will always need central direction (Leadership).
    If it cannot be seen in Rome/Peter (Pope Francis), where?
    If the leaders of our Church cannot do this what HOPE is there for mankind?

    It is said you cannot be what you do not see/envisage, so we need to see our Shepherds holding the bright lamp of Truth high above their own vulnerabilities, teachings us by example, in humility, how we are also to be made ‘Holy’ (Sanctified) as in

    “Sanctify them in the Truth; thy Word is Truth as thou didst send me into the World so I have sent them into the World and for their sake I consecrate myself that they also may be consecrated in truth”

    So, in our present shameful situation, is God preparing the birth (Building up) of a Church that will be truthful with herself. A Church that proceeds and leads in humility, ‘openly’ acknowledging her failings before God and all of her children.
    As a humble heart (Church) will never cover its tracks or hide its short comings, and in doing so confers authenticity, as it walks in its own vulnerability weakness/brokenness in trust/faith before God and mankind. It is a heart (Church) to be trusted, as it ‘dispels’ darkness within its own ego/self, in serving God (Truth) first, before any other.

    “But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him”

    We need to see true discipleship, and working disciples, see my post, via the link

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Humility is not grovelling under pressure if the values upheld are divinely inspired and not the inherent fault contrary to human nature as you contend. An “arrogant clericalism” that holds itself superior to laity. We the faithful clergy who have lived the faith in accord with Apostolic Tradition, the doctrinal affirmation by John Paul II and Benedict XVI of the celibacy practiced by the Apostles have been demeaned with the accusation of clericalism. Understood as arrogance. Humility is not the flaccid idea you describe that lacks fortitude and moral courage. Humility yes cowardice no. We clergy have been subject to calumny from without the Church and within since 2013. There is nothing in your comments that speaks of moral courage, the kind that calls out the staggering moral tragedy of abortion, of deviate sexual behavior. Nothing at all except to constantly belabor priests with the charge of prideful clericalism. Nothing at all in respect to the moral courage of the Apostle Paul, St Athanasius, or present day Apostles Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Cardinal Willem Eijk, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Cardinal Burke. Or of laity Josef Siefert, Roberto de Mattei who strongly urge resistance to cowardly submission to error in the guise of humility.

      • Excellent and so well said!! Thank you, Father Morello!! Mr. Kevin wrote such a long comment and even added an addendum and you, with God’s Truth, defeated that which much greater brevity. “For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man?” (Ecclesiastes 6:11). “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Glory be to God!!

      • Thank you for your comment Peter (Fr. Peter F Morello)

        I have conversed with you about moral courage and cowardice before Peter, Yours! But sadly, I am still awaiting a response to our running commentary, as seen via the link.
        My final comment to you given via the link
        Thank you, Peter, (Peter F Morello) for your comment
        Yes, Peter the Truth will set us free. “You make judgment without knowledge in my instance”
        No I do not, we had a discussion two years ago on another site
        To reacquaint yourself, click Oldest first:
        Your comments directed at me have been deleted and my responses directed at you have been amended and now read
        Kevin Walters Guest • 2 years ago • edited. Where previously they read, from my copies Kevin Walters Fr. Peter Morello (3 months ago)

        Either you or someone else has removed all trace of your evolvement in the discussion, with myself and others. They can only be one reason, you defended the indefensible (As anyone reading my posts under the article will clearly see) and in doing so your credibility was at stake, so a coverup was stage.
        “True humility requires that admission.
        Yes! absolutely Peter, this is your moment, as you now have the opportunity to build on mere words (Your words)

        “There are saintly men better than myself that I recognize and seek to emulate”

        May God grant you the grace to do so, now, in the present moment.

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        You say above “Humility is not grovelling under pressure if the values upheld are divinely inspired”
        Yes, that is true Peter, as authority comes with Truth, and ‘those who serve It’.

        So perhaps you would now respond to my post, and teach us how to serve the Truth in humility, or will you again ‘run away’, (Hide) with so many of those other countless Hirelings, that I have sadly encountered over the last thirty-five years within the Church/Clericalism, while the flock was/is been devoured.

        Well, Peter, have you the moral courage to hold the bright Sanctifying lamp of Truth high above your own vulnerability, (in regards to this matter) teaching us (The flock) by your example, in how we are also to be made holy (Sanctified) as in

        “Sanctify them in the Truth; thy Word is Truth as thou didst send me into the world so I have sent them into the world and for their sake I consecrate myself that they also may be consecrated in truth”

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        • Kevin anyone who calls veneration of Saint Faustina’s supervised and approved divine mercy painting at Vilnius “blasphemy” discouraging the very veneration we believe proposed by Christ, and also alleging veneration of the Shroud of Turin is false and thereby idolatrous veneration because of your jerky contention that the face cloth would have prevented Christ from intending to leave us his facial image as well as his corpus on the Shroud is more than preposterous [yet you haven’t to my knowledged criticized the Pachamama veneration at the Vatican and inside St Peter’s Basilica]. Your words convict.

          • No Peter (Fr Peter Morello) I have not criticized the “Pachamama veneration at the Vatican and inside St Peter’s Basilica” nor for that matter the Shroud of Turin, that is until a few days ago when in a post directed at me you likened the face on the Shroud, to one of the Divine Mercy Images. But yes, I have made many comments on the Divine Mercy Image over many years. Which has driven my understand of True message/Image that is one of man’s Brokenness before Him.
            You will be aware by now that I am uneducated, many of the articles on this site and others, are way beyond my competence. So, I make no attempt to respond to many of them.
            kevin your brother
            In Christ

        • “So perhaps you would now respond to my post, and teach us how to serve the Truth in humility, or will you again ‘run away’”


          Not responding to your posts, which tend to be both unending and unclear, doesn’t constitute “running away.”

          Father Morello,

          The constant insults aimed at priests distresses me. Perhaps instead of casting accusations of “clericalism,” the complainers should spend that time praying that God give His priests the grace they need to serve Him according to His will, that He give bad priests the grace to repent and convert their lives, and that He call more priests to His service.

          But carping and criticizing and arrogantly making accusations of arrogance is a lot easier, of course.

          • Leslie thank you for your comment “Not responding to your posts, which tend to be both unending and unclear, doesn’t constitute “running away.”

            My present Post is not unclear and Father Morello knows it, as he covered his tracks to protect himself. If ‘he’ thinks it is unclear, he should say so himself. Rather than hiding his face (Image) behind you skirt. Your cleverly crafted insinuating comment to Father Morello gave him the means to avoid/dismiss/besmirch my valid request of him, to own his own actions, which to date he has avoided to do so.

            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • “My present Post is not unclear”

            The one to which I was replying most certainly was.

            I had no idea what Father Morello thought of your post; I was judging for myself. It seemed, and seems, to me that your petulant demands that someone continue a conversation with you because otherwise he is “running away” is the sort of thing one hears from a six-year-old. Your “valid request” isn’t a valid one; he’s under no obligation to reply to you, and I quite see why he wouldn’t want to.

            “Your cleverly crafted insinuating comment”

            Well, thank you, but it wasn’t cleverly crafted; I did no more than dash off a quick post. And I didn’t “insinuate” anything; I think I was fairly blunt.

          • Kevin, I’ve never met Father Morello. I know nothing about him except what he posts here.

            If I “helped” him it was because your posts seem utterly bizarre and make very little sense; and what I get from them is the impression of weird stalker-type behavior, following people from post to post and, it appears, from site to site, insisting that they must discuss your favorite hobbyhorses and keeping some sort of tally sheet of who has offended you. I figured he’d probably appreciate a little rationality by way of a refreshing change.

  21. Kevin insofar as your apparent bad experience with priests for 35 years I can’t speak to that. It’s possible though gauging it from my experience there should have been some decent honest clergy available. My sense is a deep seated cause for anguish that colored your subsequent vision. You clearly have talent and are well read on the faith. Speaking to you from afar my counsel is forgive whoever and whatever caused you anguish [you once alluded to that sense of anguish regarding a family funeral and a priest’s unseemly remark regarding the coffin]. Accept that there are good among the bad as a start.

    • Thank you Peter (Fr Peter Morello, PhD ) for your comment “there should have been some decent honest clergy available” as I have said before Peter “Many within the clergy have ‘good intent (“The Good men among the bad”) but all are immersed in institutional hypocrisy” at least from my own given experience. As there is a malignant force within the Church which protects itself (Clericalism) by Stone Walling, (refusing to speak the Truth) it appears to be used by all priests black or white. This shameful wall encircles the Church and betrays Christ and all those who profess to love Him, and cannot be justified by any teaching given by Jesus Christ.

      See my two posts via the link

      Apart from my own sinfulness the main cause of my anguish, originally stems from my naivety (With so many others) in thinking that the Church leadership was fundamentally honest, but sadly this is not the case. The serving of the Truth is secondary to them, as they project and protect a self-made worldly Image of goodness, by any means available, but this image has nothing to do with goodness, rather it emanates from pride. As they will not show their vulnerability.

      I assume that in your own eyes you see yourself as one of the “decent honest clergy available” Sadly I do not see it that way Peter, as you have once again avoided (Stonewalled) my questions, presently within my post on JANUARY 1, 2020 AT 6:16 AM. Of which an honesty answer would require you to show your own vulnerability, in humility.

      Your original actions of deception, now compounded, as in not to own them, are the very actions (Stonewalling that I and others in frustration have encountered over many years) which has placed the Church in its present predicament, as in it been self-serving, unaccountable etc. Sadly, I see no new dawn for the Church, emanating from priests like yourself, as nothing appears to have changed (Been learnt) over the last twenty years.

      Extract from the above Article

      “Amidst the avalanche of lies, we must be able to find places where truth is not only explained but experienced. In a word, we must live the Gospel:”

      So, once again Peter, I ask you, will you now respond to my post, and teach us and your fellow Priests, how we are to serve the Truth (Live the Gospel) in humility. Or will you remain enslaved to your own ego (Image) with so many others within the clergy.

      kevin your brother In Christ

      • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your mind with all your soul with all your strength. The second is like the first that you love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Give some of your bread to the hungry clothe the naked. Visit those in prison, the sick, the outcast. Love those who hate you pray for those who persecute you. We must love each other as Christ has loved us. As He lay down His life for us so we must lay down our lives for our brother. Do not judge others and you will not be judged. With the same measure that you judge others so will you be judged. Beg Christ for forgiveness and do penance for your sins and the sins of others. Turn hatred and despair into good by taking Christ’s yoke upon your shoulders because His yoke is easy and His burden light. And you will find refreshment for your soul.

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