Thursday, March 12, 2015


Over at Praytell,  Stanislaus Kosala breaks the wonderful news on very interview I post below! This is what Kosala writes in the comment section: 

Cardinal Sarah just gave another interview which sheds some more light on what he understands his role and what Pope Francis wants of him, it’s worth taking a look if you read French:

He says, among other things, that Pope Francis wants him to manage the Congregation for Divine Worship in a way that at the same time respects absolutely the texts of the council and is in continuity with “the great work accomplished by Benedict XVI.”

He also talks about mistakes in reading Sacrosanctum Concilium, how we should move forward while clearly showing that we do not reject the past (he mentions the mutual enrichment of the EF and OF in relation to this), and the value and limits of the vernacular.

I used a translating app to produce this English translation from the original French. The last part has the questions on the liturgy.  The translation is not bad, but might be clunky in some ways:

In his book God or nothing (Fayard, 2015), the Cardinal Sarah describes a Europe who abandoned the faith.

Appointed, three months ago, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the discipline of the sacraments, the cardinal Robert Sarah has been for several years at the head of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, in charge of the Pope's charity. This Guinea, deemed close to Benedict XVI, encourages the Western back to the faith at the center of society. We met him on the occasion of his visit in France for the publication of a book of interviews with the journalist Nicolas Diat.

Your book is entitled God or nothing. The alternative is for the less radical ¦

Without God, man does not know what it is or where it is going. Of course, it may take its independence. But without God, the man goes to the impasse. Since almost two centuries, the nihilism has developed, the men are far from everything that they cannot check scientifically. To combat this disappearance of God, it must be that those who believe in him shows that it is essential in their existence, that their life is totally soaked.

You have known the dictatorship of president Sekou Toure, particularly when you were quite young archbishop of Conakry, workload to which you have been appointed in 1978, at the age of 34 years. In such circumstances, what is the resistance?
Resist, it is never be discouraged by the difficulties. Faith always involves a suffering. During those years, i was withdrawing sometimes in prayer during two or three days, to draw from the forces. God was my strength. In the persecutions, he must cling to our rock. And the difficulties the more impossible to wear are not those who come from the outside but from the inside.

Even if you mention in your book of the " hidden flowers extraordinary ", you describe a Europe without God. The observation is a little harsh, no?

There are still some christians very committed, a true vitality, but there is an abandonment of the Christian faith. God is absent from most of the concerns. A day will come when we will realize that we must return to our Christian values, which are also the culture of the West. We cannot forget its roots without danger. I would not say I am pessimistic, but Europe is in a situation very disturbing, particularly concerning the family. Women do more of children, the number of divorces exploded. The younger generations have more models. It will be necessary to the West a large dose of humility to receive the other. But it is a necessity. Africans can, for example, learn a lot to Europeans on the respect for life, the family, the elderly ...

It was seen during the recent Synod on the family that some doctrinal requirements and/or pastoral of the Catholic Church could give rise to misunderstanding, for example, with regard to the communion of persons divorced and remarried.

What the Lord asks of us today, he has also asked our predecessors. The Church must get his message with the vocabulary of today but it cannot change the substance of this message. The pedagogy pastoral care must be refined by each of us. The Synod may give general directions, but every bishop, every priest must find how to say in its specific context. Christianity is not a moral issue, it is the encounter with a person, Jesus Christ. Having said that, it must not give illusions to people. God is good, certainly. But the father of a family is good with his children and does not let them so much as to make anything.

The Synod on the family seems, however, to have generated some confusion among the faithful ...

the fault of this confusion we will return, we, cardinals. Having published a text, which was a working document, and which does not reflect the discussions of the synod fathers, it is truly a serious misconduct. We have published a thing inconceivable and abandoned the theme of the family for the benefit of marginal issues.

You have been appointed to the head of the dicastery in charge of the liturgy. What will your mission?

The Pope wants that I help the Church to lead the congregation in a balanced way and in the absolute respect of the texts of the Council, in the continuity of the tremendous work accomplished by Benedict XVI in this sense. There is still a lot to do. Many have interpreted Sacrosanctum Concilium, the constitution on the liturgy, as a recipe book or each could draw to invent its own liturgy. But this was certainly not the intent. The liturgy wants to bring us to God, we do celebrate the relation between God and man. It is this that has wanted Benedict XVI, and that is what wants today Francois: to ensure that this report is true. At the same time, we must show that what was experienced before and not to reject it. Paul VI has given us a new rite and we must take advantage of it, but by ensuring that the two rites can be mutually enriching.

What is your reflection on the liturgical reform, 50 years after its introduction?

The liturgical reform was necessary. When a person hears everything that is said, it is without doubt better prepared to enter into the mystery. But this is not necessarily because it includes everything that we live the things more deeply. My parents have never studied Latin, are always went to the Latin mass, and they were good Christians. The new rite allows you to fit more in the celebration, but this is not because I understand that i automatically introduced into the mystery, we see well today. It is not a question of language, but of entering the mystery.


Православный физик said...

This is a bombshell, and a good one at that....

Fr Martin Fox said...

And, oh! That clique at PrayTell is not happy! Not happy at all!

Now, if we can just get his eminence to don some "antique vestments"...

MR said...

Thank you Cardinal Sarah. I also like what he said about communion for the remarried (and German Cardinal Cordes just dropped a good bombshell on communion as well). Happy day indeed.

Tony V said...

For the life of me I can't figure out why Paul VI didn't simply introduce a set of alternatives to the various parts of the 1962, making prayers at the foot of the altar optional, the option of one Confiteor rahter than 2, full-lenght or truncated, etc. A set of alternatives would have allowed a spectrum of celebration that ranged from the traditional Latin mass on one end to--well, to the clown mass on the other. Options that failed would, in due course, be passed over. And we wouldn't have the rancour we have today.

Marie said...

God bless Cardinal Sarah!

Then again, as Pope Francis said to the FFI parents, "We'll see...we'll see."

Fr Martin Fox said...

Tony V:

There is a story that I believe is true, although I wasn't there.

Pope Paul VI came to offer Mass on the Monday after Pentecost, and green vestments were laid out for him. He asked why there were no red vestments for the Octave; the sacristan said, there is no more Octave of Pentecost. He asked, who did this?

The sacristan replied, "you did, your holiness."

Anonymous said...

"The new rite allows you to fit more in the celebration"

Actually, while I try to enter into the mystery at an OF Mass just as I naturally and easily do at an EF Mass, but the constant clamor distracts and makes it more difficult. How many can listen to the drone of the priest's voice in reciting the Canon without being tempted to drift off into couch-potato mode? The best way I've found to ward off this temptation is to follow the Latin in my Latin-English OF hand missal (just as at an EF Mass), but how many OF worshipers even have one?