In an exclusive interview with National Catholic Register‘s Edward Pentin, Cardinal Robert Sarah addresses a number of controversies while discussing From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church, written with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and due out soon in English from Ignatius Press.
A few excerpts:
• On reason for writing the book: “Because the Christian priesthood is in mortal danger! It’s going through a major crisis.”
• On Benedict XVI: “Just like today, attempts have been made to silence him. And like today, diversionary maneuvers were mounted to divert attention from his prophetic message. Yet I am convinced that he has told us the essential — what no one wants to hear. He has shown that at the root of the abuses committed by clerics, there is a deep flaw in their formation.”
• On criticisms of Benedict XVI: “I know that he takes on everything that is written in this book with determination, and I know that he is delighted with its publication. He wanted to write and publicly express this joy, but they would like to prevent him from expressing it. But to recount in detail, hour by hour, these maneuvers is useless. I prefer not to dwell on these sordid machinations, for which those responsible will one day give an account before God.”
• On criticism of the book: “So they try to delegitimize the book itself. Having nothing to oppose in the text, they attack the cover. What a pity! They make the pope emeritus out to be an old man. But have you read what he writes? Do you think one can write pages of such depth without having all one’s faculties? Some people want to pass us off as naïve. They try to make us believe that our publishers have manipulated us and have taken advantage of a misunderstanding to mount I don’t know what kind of communication stunt. This is totally false! There is no misunderstanding.”
• On the effects of poor priestly formation: “Some [priests] have fallen into the diabolical logic of abuse of authority and sexual crimes. If a priest doesn’t daily experience he is only an instrument in God’s hands, if he doesn’t stand constantly before God to serve him with all his heart, then he risks becoming intoxicated with a sense of power. If a priest’s life is not a consecrated life, then he is in great danger of illusion and diversion.”
• On the scandal of celibacy: “Celibacy for God is an absurdity in the eyes of the secularized and atheistic world. Celibacy is a scandal for the contemporary mind. It shows that God is a reality. If the life of priests does not concretely show that God is enough to make us happy and to give meaning to our existence, then who will proclaim him? More than ever our societies need celibacy because they need God.”
Read the entire interview on the National Catholic Register site.
An excerpt from Benedict XVI’s chapter in From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church can be read here at CWR: “The Catholic Priesthood”.
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