Cardinal Sarah: “The Church Does Not Change; It Is We Who Must Change”

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Cardinal Sarah was able to explain and develop his thoughts on various current issues, as well as speak about the crisis in the Church.

Newsroom (Thursday 25/09/2021 09:00, )Gaudium Press In an interview granted to Cath.ch, the former Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship, Cardinal Sarah, spoke briefly about various issues currently in the news as well as the crisis in the Church and the world.

“The Catholic Religion is demanding”

When asked if he agrees with the adjective “intransigent” that is often applied to him, Cardinal Sarah said, “God is demanding, because love is demanding. If intransigent is understood in that sense, I agree...the Christian religion is demanding. It is not easy.” The Cardinal then explained that one cannot live one’s faith with frivolity.

Despite having left the Congregation for Divine Worship at the beginning of the year, the Cardinal explained that his current mission is to confirm the faithful in the Faith, so that the object of faith does not change. “The Gospel is still valid, as it was for the Apostles, for the Fathers of the Church, and for the Saints throughout history. As we sing every Holy Saturday: ‘Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever‘.”

The Current Crisis and the Tradition of the Church

About Benedict XVI’s recent publication, Cardinal Sarah said he shares the same view as Benedict XVI: the current crisis is anthropological. “The human being believes he is capable of inventing himself, of creating himself by himself. He does not want to depend on God”.

Regarding the Church’s Tradition, the Cardinal explained that the West has forgotten the heritage (of tradition) and, “a tree without roots dies”, that it is necessary to make progress while taking both history and tradition into consideration, at the risk of falling into bad governance.

Alleged rivalry against Francis

On Pope Francis’ recent statements about not being afraid of freedom or novelty, he said, “One must open up, but remain the same. If I open myself to someone, I must not disappear. I must remain who I am. A Christian, I remain Christian.”

On his perceived rivalry against Francis, the Cardinal stated “It’s a label they stick on me. But no one will find a single word or phrase that I have said or written against him.”

“The Church does not change, it is we who must change”

A subject addressed at length during the interview was whether or not the Church is changeable. Several times, the Cardinal expressed his views, stating that no, the Catholic Church does not change. Below are some excerpts:

“No, the Church does not change. It was born from the pierced side of Christ on the Cross. It is we who must change.”

“Vatican II does not say that the Church must change. She grows in number and holiness, but She does not change what She is, which is an extension of Christ.”

“No matter what my culture, my place of birth, or my continent, my faith in Jesus Christ does not change.”

When the reporter tells him that traditionalists see him as a “standard-bearer,” Cardinal Sarah retorted, “No, I am not a standard-bearer. I affirm what the Catholic Church has always believed and affirmed. I affirm the doctrine and moral teaching of the Church.”

The liturgy is for God

Another topic addressed was the liturgy, silence, and use of the Latin language. This is how the former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship expressed himself:

“When a Muslim prepares for his prayers he makes his ablutions and stands in a corner in silence, and when he is finished he goes to pray. What do priests do? They prepare in the sacristy by talking and they continue talking during the entrance procession.”

It is an evil to have done away with Latin“. “The language of the Church, of the liturgy, is Latin. When we are together among Africans or with people from other continents, Latin unites us and allows us to celebrate together.”

On the Mass, he explained: “Often [during Mass] we just talk. The Father speaks, speaks, without space for silence. In Africa we have a lot of dancing, applause, but can we dance before a dead person? (…) The Liturgy is not for man, it is for God.” (FM)

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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