It really isn't that hard to be clear about what the Church teaches and expects. Anyone and I mean anyone, even the least educated among us, can find out what the Church teaches. It is out in the open. No pope, bishop, priest, deacon, religious, theologian or lay person has hidden information known only to them alone and from private sources. It they do, they are the true Gnostics.
Thank you Cardinal Sarah for you strong teachings. You are a prophet for the Church at this time!
This is from a four jam-packed pages of the dossier that the French Catholic magazine “L'Homme Nouveau” is publishing:
Four objections, four responses, and one conclusion
by Robert Sarah
1. DOCTRINE, LET’S VOTE ON IT BY MAJORITY
According to one of my critics, the Catholic Church “is not only the
hierarchy of bishops, including that of Rome, but the baptized as a
whole. In order to say what is the ‘position of the Church,’ it would
therefore be legitimate to assume the judgment of this majority.”
The first statement is correct. But the thought of the faithful does
not represent the “position of the Church” if it is not itself in accord
with the body of bishops.
Vatican Council II, dogmatic
constitution “Dei Verbum,” no. 10: “The task of authentically
interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been
entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose
authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Moreover, this is not a matter of majority, but of unanimity. Vatican Council II, dogmatic constitution “Lumen Gentium,” no. 12:
entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One,
cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by
means of the whole peoples' supernatural discernment in matters of faith
when, from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful,
they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That
discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit
of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience
to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of
men but truly the word of God. Through it, the people of God adheres
unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints,
penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully
in its life.”
Finally, this unanimity is a sufficient condition
for declaring that an assertion is in the deposit revealed by God (as in
the case of the Assumption of Mary), but it is not a necessary
condition: it can happen that the magisterium may solemnly define a
doctrine of faith before unanimity has been reached (as for papal
infallibility, at Vatican Council I).
2. COMMUNION FOR ALL, WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION
According to one critic whose fidelity to the priesthood I admire,
thousands of priests do not hesitate to give communion to all.
In the first place we note the absence of doctrinal authority in this
myriad of sacred ministers, who in other ways are certainly respectable.
Moreover, no matter how authentic this “statistic” may be, this
position mixes up, among persons living in a notorious and habitual
state of sin (for example, adultery and permanent infidelity to one’s
spouse, frequent and grave fraud in business):
a) a believer who
finally repents with the firm intention to avoid falling in the future,
receives holy absolution and as a result may receive the holy Eucharist,
b) the believer who does not want to stop committing acts of
grave objective guilt in the future, contradicting the Word of God and
the covenant signified precisely by the Eucharist.
case excludes the “firm intention” defined by the Council of Trent as
necessary to be forgiven by God. We should specify that this firm
intention does not consist in knowing that one will not sin again, but
in making the deliberate decision to employ the means suitable for
avoiding the sin. Without a firm intention (and apart from a total and
non-culpable ignorance), such a Christian would remain in a state of
mortal sin and would commit a grave sin by receiving communion.
the hypothesis that his state is publicly known, the ministers of the
Church for their part have no right to give him communion. If they do
so, their sin will be more grave before the Lord. It would be
unequivocally a premeditated complicity and profanation of the Most Holy
Body and Blood of Jesus.
3. REMARRIED AND ACTIVE IN THE PARISH. WHY NO COMMUNION?
A person who writes to me and whose age inspires the greatest respect
evokes the case of a Catholic woman, divorced following domestic
violence, who lives as “remarried” but participates intensely in the
life of her parish. Should this not incite us to give holy communion to
A: I acknowledge the generosity of heart underlying the objection. But this mixes up or forgets various aspects. Here they are.
1. If one undergoes domestic violence, one has the right to leave one’s spouse (Code of Canon Law, canon 1153).
The Church allows one to ask, with divorce, for the civil effects of
legitimate separation (John Paul II, January 21, 2002, address to the
Roman Rota). Simple divorce does not exclude one from the sacraments.
A spouse who abandons himself in a habitual way to domestic violence is
probably suffering from a psychological illness, which may be grounds
for the nullity of the marriage in question from the very beginning
(Code of Canon Law, canon 1095 § 3).
4. If the Church declares
the first marriage null, the victim could contract another, granted that
the other conditions of this sacrament are present.
5. It can
happen that a divorced person, for important reasons such as raising the
children, may not be able to leave the second spouse. In this case, in
order to be absolved and receive holy communion, the person must resolve
no longer to commit with this second spouse the acts that, according to
divine law, are reserved for true spouses (“Familiaris Consortio,” no.
84). Now, the experience of numerous couples shows that this is often
very difficult, but it is nonetheless possible with the help of God’s
grace, spiritual direction, and the frequent practice of the sacrament
of reconciliation. In effect this latter permits one, if one falls, to
start again more firmly on the right way, gradually progressing toward
6. The participation in parish life on the part of a
divorced and remarried person not yet ready to promise chastity disposes
him precisely to open his heart to the grace of making this necessary
promise (“Familiaris Consortio,” no. 84).
4. THE AFRICAN FAMILY IS NOT WHAT YOU TELL US IT IS
According to another priest who bases himself on his experience as a
“Fidei donum” missionary in Africa, the African family does not
correspond to the description I have given.
A: I don’t know what
African country and diocese this priest is talking about. But in Western
Africa, in spite of the massive presence of Islam, in the pure
tradition of our ancestors marriage is monogamous and indissoluble. I
have spoken of this in my book “God or Nothing.” I have therefore
affirmed that “still today, the family in Africa remains stable, solid,
I did not intend in any way to say that the
non-Christian African family would be a model, since it evidently
suffers from the imprint of sin and also knows its difficulties. I
simply intended to say that in African culture in general:
1. the family is still founded on a heterosexual union;
2. marriage is seen as being without divorce, in spite of the paradigm of simultaneous polygamy;
3. it is open to procreation;
4. family bonds are seen as sacred.
this precisely what my missionary correspondent wanted to emphasize? (I
emphasize here the generosity of the “Fidei donum,” meaning those
Western diocesan priests who become voluntary evangelizers in mission
However, the question that he raises is another one:
it is that of the possible gradual progression of the pastoral
evangelization of non-Christian families, still imbued with deviations
provoked by sin, but some traditions of which can be evangelized and
serve as a point of departure for the proclamation of Christ.
any case, if my correspondent seems implicitly to accuse me of having
reduced “the African family” to that which lives the Christian ideal,
neither can it be reduced in the other direction to the polygamist
typology, whether “traditional” or Muslim.
CONCLUSION. THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH, THIS UNKNOWN TERRAIN
conclude, I feel wounded in my heart as a bishop in witnessing such
incomprehension of the Church’s definitive teaching on the part of my
I cannot allow myself to imagine as the cause of
such confusion anything but the insufficiency of the formation of my
confreres. And insofar as I am responsible for the discipline of the
sacraments in the whole Latin Church, I am bound in conscience to recall
that Christ has reestablished the Creator’s original plan of a
monogamous, indissoluble marriage ordered to the good of the spouses, as
also to the generation and education of children. He has also elevated
marriage between baptized persons to the rank of a sacrament, signifying
God’s covenant with his people, just like the Eucharist.
spite of this, there also exists a marriage that the Church calls
“legitimate.” The sacred dimension of this “natural” dimension makes it
an element awaiting the sacrament, on the condition that it respect
heterosexuality and the parity of the two spouses when it comes to their
specific rights and duties, and that the consent not exclude monogamy,
indissolubility, permanence, and openness to life.
the Church stigmatizes the deformations introduced into human love:
homosexuality, polygamy, chauvinism, free love, divorce, contraception,
etc. In any case, it never condemns persons. But it does not leave them
in their sin. Like its Master, it has the courage and the charity to say
to them: go and from now on sin no more.
The Church does not
only welcome with mercy, respect, and delicacy. It firmly invites to
conversion. As its follower, I promote mercy for sinners - which all of
us are - but also firmness toward sins incompatible with the love for
God that is professed with sacramental communion. What is this if not
the imitation of the attitude of the Son of God who addresses the
adulterous woman: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and from now on sin no
more” (Jn 8:11)?