Thursday, October 13, 2016


Cardinal Sarah is not a throwback to the 1950's. He doesn't want to return the Church prior to the Council but want the Second Vatican Council to be interpreted properly. I would suspect too, that His Eminence understands too, that Vatican II is a bit of a time capsule and that its pastoral theology is a bit dated. He understands too that pastoral theology is not doctrine and certainly not dogma, although many in the Church speak of the pastoral theology of Vatican II (which is in the same category as the theology on Limbo, neither right or wrong, but just not doctrine) as though it is dogma. They have replaced Jesus Christ, Scripture and Tradition with Vatican II says this, that and the other.

When it comes to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Cardinal Sarah wants Vatican II implemented from the highest levels of the Church. It hasn't been, only a particular ideology has been and this ideology came from the "liturgical experts" of the Church who are the kinds of academics Pope Francis has such disdain. It did not come from the faith of grandmothers in other words.

Cardinal Sarah hits the nail on the head in diagnosing the dark hole the liturgy has descended in so many parishes throughout the world. But liturgists, those experts in the field, (and liturgists are not known for humility) insist that the "renewal" that has taken place is renewal. Delusional to say the least.

When it comes to mega Masses at St. Peter's Square and the truly million mega Masses elsewhere, Cardinal Sarah makes very valid points and he needs to rock that boat and rock it hard! I concelebrated Mass at St. Peter's Square last Sunday with Pope Francis. I held a ciboria. But I consecrated it to be sure along with the Holy Father. Others distributed Holy Communion from Hosts consecrated at other Masses.

I would agree that only one section of these mega Masses should include Holy Communion to the congregation. I would recommend that no more than 2000 hosts ever be consecrated at any single Mass. Or maybe 5000 to keep the Biblical imagery of the multiplication of the loaves.

Yes at the Vatican Masses in St. Peter's and certainly in the Square, many non Catholics, non Christians and non Believers are receiving Holy Communion and many are taking the Host home as a  relic of their time in Rome as tourists.

Here is a portion of Cardinal Sarah's, truly a doctor of liturgy, making the right diagnosis of the cancer that has been eating the liturgy of the Church since about 1966:

The Reform of the Reform “Will Happen.” The Pope Wants It, Too

This is what Francis has said in private to Cardinal Sarah, only to deny the whole thing afterward in a statement. But the prefect of the liturgy is promising it once again, in a book of his that goes on sale today, entitled “The Power of Silence”

by Sandro Magister

ROME, October 6, 2016 – With Cardinal Robert Sarah Pope Francis cultivates a relationship with two distinct profiles. Benevolent up front, hostile at a distance.

Sarah is presumed to be one of those churchmen with a “heart of stone” against whom the pope often lashes out without naming names, for example in the address at the end of the synod last October 24:

> "The closed hearts which hide behind the Church’s teachings…"

And it was Sarah, this time with first and last name, in his capacity as prefect of the congregation for divine worship, who was the target of an unprecedented, humiliating statement from the press office of the Holy See this summer, against his aims for a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy:

> Jesus Will Return From the East. But at the Vatican They Have Lost the Compass (14.7.2016)

“But who can touch him? He is African, and he enjoys great popularity,” they murmur in the court of Pope Francis.

In effect Cardinal Sarah, 71, an African from Guinea, is a figure of the first rank in today’s Church, who has risen to extraordinary notoriety and universal admiration thanks to a book he published last year that is both autobiography and spiritual mediation, in the style of the “Confessions,” entitled “Dieu ou rien,” God or nothing: 335,000 copies sold in thirteen languages:

> A Pope from Black Africa (10.4.2015)

And now Sarah is returning to the field with a major new book: “La force du silence,” the power of silence. It is edited, like the one before it, by Nicolas Diat and concludes with a poignant conversation between the cardinal and the abbot of the Grande Chartreuse in the French Alps, dom Dysmas de Lassus.

The book goes on sale today, the feast of Saint Bruno, founder of Carthusian monasticism, for now only in a French edition by Fayard, but it will be released soon in Italian, English, and Spanish, published respectively by Cantagalli, Ignatius Press, and Palabra.

“Contre la dictature du bruit,” against the dictatorship of noise, the subtitle says. And in effect the deafening noise of modern society, with has even penetrated into the Church, is the soundtrack of that “nothing” which is forgetfulness of God, the focus of the previous book.

While vice versa it is only silence that allows one to “hear the music of God.

“The reform of the reform will happen, the future of the Church is at stake”

by Robert Sarah

From “"La force du silence", Fayard, 2016


Some priests today treat the Eucharist with perfect disdain. They see the Mass as a chatty banquet where the Christians who are faithful to Jesus’ teaching, the divorced and remarried, men and women in a situation of adultery, unbaptized tourists participating in the Eucharistic celebrations of great anonymous crowds can have access to the body and blood of Christ, without distinction.

The Church must urgently examine the ecclesial and pastoral appropriateness of these immense Eucharistic celebrations made up of thousands and thousands of participants. There is a great danger here of turning the Eucharist, “the great mystery of Faith,” into a vulgar revel and of profaning the body and the precious blood of Christ. The priests who distribute the sacred species without knowing anyone, and give the Body of Jesus to all, without discernment between Christians and non-Christians, participate in the profanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Those who exercise authority in the Church become guilty, through a form of voluntary complicity, of allowing sacrilege and the profanation of the body of Christ to take place in these gigantic and ridiculous self-celebrations, where one can hardly perceive that “you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

Priests unfaithful to the “memory” of Jesus insist rather on the festive aspect and the fraternal dimension of the Mass than on the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The importance of the interior dispositions and the need to reconcile ourselves with God in allowing ourselves to be purified by the sacrament of confession are no longer fashionable nowadays. More and more, we obscure the warning of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill” (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-30).


At the beginning of our Eucharistic celebrations, how is it possible to eliminate Christ carrying his cross and walking painfully beneath the weight of our sins toward the place of sacrifice? There are many priests who enter triumphantly and go up to the altar, waving left and right in order to appear friendly. Observe the sad spectacle of certain Eucharistic celebrations. . . Why so much frivolity and worldliness at the moment of the Holy Sacrifice? Why so much profanation and superficiality before the extraordinary priestly grace that makes us capable of bringing forth the body and blood of Christ in substance by the invocation of the Spirit? Why do some believe themselves obliged to improvise or invent Eucharistic prayers that disperse the divine phrases in a bath of petty human fervor? Are the words of Christ so insufficient that a profusion of purely human words is needed? In a sacrifice so unique and essential, is there a need for this subjective imagination and creativity? “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words,” Jesus has cautioned us (Mt 6:7).


We have lost the deepest meaning of the offertory. Yet it is that moment in which, as its name indicates, the whole Christian people offers itself, not alongside of Christ, but in him, through his sacrifice that will be realized at the consecration. Vatican Council II admirably highlighted this aspect in insisting on the baptismal priesthood of the laity that essentially consists in offering ourselves together with Christ in sacrifice to the Father. [. . .]

If the offertory is seen as nothing other than a preparation of the gifts, as a practical and prosaic action, then there will be a great temptation to add and invent ceremonies in order to fill up what is perceived as a void. I deplore the offertory processions in some African countries, long and noisy, accompanied with interminable dances. The faithful bring all sorts of products and objects that have nothing to do with the Eucharistic sacrifice. These processions give the impression of folkloric exhibitions that disfigure the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and distance us from the Eucharistic mystery; but this must be celebrated in sobriety and recollection, since we are immersed, we too, in his death and his offering to the Father. The bishops of my continent should take measures to keep the celebration of the Mass from becoming a cultural self-celebration. The death of God out of love for us is beyond all culture. 

“FACING EAST” (par. 254)

It is not enough simply to prescribe more silence. In order for everyone to understand that the liturgy turns us interiorly toward the Lord, it would be helpful during the celebration for us all together, priests and faithful, to face the east, symbolized by the apse.

This practice remains absolutely legitimate. It is in keeping with the letter and the spirit of the Council. There is no lack of testimonies from the first centuries of the Church. “When we stand up to pray, we face the east,” says Saint Augustine, echoing a tradition that dates back, according to Saint Basil, to the Apostles themselves. Churches having been designed for the prayer of the first Christian communities, the apostolic constitutions of the 4th century recommended that they be turned to the east. And when the altar is facing  west, as at Saint Peter’s in Rome, the celebrant must turn toward the orient and face the people. 

This bodily orientation of prayer is nothing other than the sign of an interior orientation. [. . .] Does the priest not invite the people of God to follow him at the beginning of the great Eucharistic prayer when he says” “Let us lift up our heart,” to which the people respond: “We turn it toward the Lord”?

As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, I am intent upon recalling once again that celebration “versus orientem” is authorized by the rubrics of the Missal because it is of apostolic tradition. There is no need for particular authorization to celebrate in this way, people and priest, facing the Lord. If it is physically not possible to celebrate “ad orientem,” a cross must necessarily be placed on the altar, in plain sight, as a point of reference for all. Christ on the cross is the Christian East.


I refuse to waste time in opposing one liturgy to another, or the rite of Saint Pius V to that of Blessed Paul VI. What is needed is to enter into the great silence of the liturgy; one must allow oneself to be enriched by all the Latin or Eastern liturgical forms that favor silence. Without this contemplative silence, the liturgy will remain an occasion of hateful divisions and ideological confrontations instead of being the place of our unity and our communion in the Lord. It is high time to enter into this liturgical silence, facing the Lord, that the Council wanted to restore.

What I am about to say now does not enter into contradiction with my submission and obedience to the supreme authority of the Church. I desire profoundly and humbly to serve God, the Church, and the Holy Father, with devotion, sincerity, and filial attachment. But this is my hope: if God wills, when he may will and how he may will, in the liturgy, the reform of the reform will take place. In spite of the gnashing of teeth, it will take place, because the future of the Church is at stake.

Damaging the liturgy means damaging our relationship with God and the concrete expression of our Christian faith. The Word of God and the doctrinal teaching of the Church are still listened to, but the souls that want to turn to God, to offer him the true sacrifice of praise and worship him, are no longer captivated by liturgies that are too horizontal, anthropocentric, and festive, often resembling noisy and vulgar cultural events. The media have completely invaded and turned into a spectacle the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the memorial of the death of Jesus on the cross for the salvation of our souls. The sense of mystery disappears through changes, through permanent adaptations, decided in autonomous and individual fashion in order to seduce our modern profaning mentalities, marked by sin, secularism, relativism, and the rejection of God.

In many western countries, we see the poor leaving the Catholic Church because it is under siege by ill-intentioned persons who style themselves intellectuals and despise the lowly and the poor. This is what the Holy Father must denounce loud and clear. Because a Church without the poor is no longer the Church, but a mere “club.” Today, in the West, how many temples are empty, closed, destroyed, or turned into profane structures in disdain of their sacredness and their original purpose. So I know how many priests and faithful there are who live their faith with extraordinary zeal and fight every day to preserve and enrich the dwellings of God.


The book:

Robert Sarah avec Nicolas Diat, "La force du silence. Contre la dictature du bruit", Fayard, Paris, 2016.


English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.



John Nolan said...


At what point in the papal Mass did you receive the Precious Blood and thereby validate your concelebration?

John Nolan said...

Cardinal Sarah also has a swipe at that post-Conciliar shibboleth 'inculturation' when he deplores the lengthy and noisy Offertory processions, accompanied by dancing, which are common in Africa. His reference to 'folkloric exhibitions' is marvellously apt. Being African himself, he can get away with it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The concelebrants who distributed Holy Communion communed ourselves after we distributed with hosts and Precious Blood consecrated on the papal altar but placed on tables in the Badilica where we returned our Hosts. This I suspect was illicit but valid for us to complete the Sacrifice.

Gene said...

The decline and secularization of the Church and the loss of faith will continue apace despite the good intentions and wisdom of men like Cardinal Sarah. The socio-cultural fix is in and nothing can be done about it.

TJM said...

It is amusing how white liberals, without batting an eye, will tell Africans, what is suitable to the Liturgy in Africa (and the US for that matter). One of the strongest proponents and celebrants of the EF is Chicago's Bishop Perry, an African-American. Some liberal needs to inform him that he is mistaken.

rcg said...

I look forward to reading this. It will be interesting if really does reject the Offeratory processional chicken dance. That is a hige favourite among the clergy in our diocese.

John Nolan said...


Thank you for the clarification. You have actually articulated the paradigm for the entire Novus Ordo Missae; it is valid but illicit. Valid in that it accomplishes, ceteris paribus, what the Church intends; illicit in that Paul VI did not have the authority to replace the Roman Rite with a new composition.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

See if a liberal pope imposes a liturgy composed by committee which overturns over 1500 years old of tradition that is just dandy, but if a conservative (sane) pope reinstated the EF as the norm, and set aside the failed 50 year old committee job, that would a crime against nature. That's how it works in libtardom

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD said, "Yes at the Vatican Masses in St. Peter's and certainly in the Square, ... many are taking the Host home as a relic of their time in Rome as tourists."

It sickens me to think of the outrages Our Lord continues to suffer on a grand scale because of the behavior and disbelief of mankind. I can't avoid the image of Our Lord being captured by someone and taken to their home and put in a scrapbook and left there for untold years, before the person's family, when cleaning out their home after they die, throws Him in the common garbage, where He remains, I imagine, until the physical substance of the host disintegrates.

As a child during the pre-Vatican II days I remember one classmate discovered a small fragment of a host on her jacket after communion, and our religious sister cautioned us all not to touch it, and summoned the priest to come to take it for disposal, which he did.

I am only a common layperson, and so I don't know the fine points of whether Our Lord remains if a person takes a consecrated host home and puts it with other souvenirs, but I only hope He does not. I also don't know what happens if a person takes a consecrated host for nefarious reasons, such as for a black Mass, if Our Lord remains.

I guess what I do know is what I will spend my next holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament making reparation for....

God bless, Fr. McD. Safe travels. Bee

rcg said...

I don't inow, either, Bee. But He remained on the Cross so I suspect He toughs these desicrations out, too. A shame, either way.