St. Augustine, in one of his tough sermons to his flock, spoke about the heavy responsibility of teaching a message that was hard for people to hear and accept. He invoked the stern warning in Ezekiel 3 about negligent pastors, and forged ahead. Finally, Augustine began to explain himself, tell his people why he was teaching and being so tough. Here is some of s. 17.2.
I am saying this to you and I am saving my soul. If I will have kept silent, I won’t be in great danger, I’ll be rather in utter ruin. But when I will have spoken, and when I will have fulfilled my duty, pay attention then to your own danger. What, after all, do I want? What do I desire? What do I long for? Why am I talking? Why am I sitting here? Why am I even alive, except for this intention: in order that we may live together with Christ. That’s my desire, that’s my honor, that’s my treasured possession, this is my joy, that’s my glory. But if you will not listen to me and if I haven’t been silent, I will save my soul. But I don’t want to be saved without you (Sed nolo esse salvus sine vobis.)
Sometimes, nay rather, more and more often priests and especially bishops are called on to stand up in the public square as well as their pulpits and teach the truth as the Church and nature instruct us. If they don’t, there are eternal consequences for those priests and bishops, because they have endangered their flocks either by lack of instruction or by false instruction. Priests and bishops who don’t teach the truth are in danger of eternal damnation. They have to preach the truth, whether people listen or not, for their own sake if for no other reason. But charity requires finding the best way. The tough part is finding the right ways to preach the truth. But the truth must be preached, nevertheless.
I’ll be you thought this was supposed to be about Card, Sarah. Well, it is.
His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum“, gave a sermon on 25 July when he was ordaining some deacons, in which he delivered a stern and strong and correct message. The whole sermon is here. There is a summary on LifeSite.
Vatican Cardinal: Divine judgment will fall on priests who do not oppose abortion, homosexuality
by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Robert Sarah is warning that priests who fail in their duty to oppose the breakdown of morality in modern society, particularly pro-abortion and anti-family policies, will receive the condemnation of God.
In a sermon delivered on June 25 to seminarians of the Community of St. Martin, whom he was about to ordain to the priesthood and diaconate, Sarah admonished his listeners, “if we have fear of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, if we are ashamed of denouncing the grave deviations in the area of morality, if we accommodate ourselves to this world of moral laxity and religious and ethical relativism, if we are afraid to energetically denounce the abominable laws regarding the new global ethos, regarding marriage, the family in all of its forms, abortion, laws in total opposition to the laws of nature and of God, and that the western nations and cultures are promoting and imposing thanks to the mass media and their economic power, then the prophetic words of Ezechiel will fall on us as a grave divine reproach.”
Sarah quoted the prophesy of Ezechiel found in chapter 34:2-4: “‘Son of man, prophesy against the pastors of Israel to pastor themselves. Should not the pastors feed the flock? You have been fed with milk, you have dressed yourselves with wool. You have not strengthened the weak lambs, cared for those who were sick, healed those who were injured. You have not restored those who have strayed, searched for those who were lost. But you have governed them with violence and hardness.’ (Ez. 34: 2-4)”
“These reproaches are serious, but more important is the offense that we have committed against God when, having received the responsibility of caring for the spiritual good of all, we mistreat souls by depriving them of the true teaching of the doctrine of regarding God, regarding man, and the fundamental values of human existence,” the cardinal added.
In his June 25 address, Sarah notes that in modern society “we no longer know what is evil and what is good. There are a multitude of points of view. Today, we call white what we once called black, and vice versa. What is serious, and make no mistake about it, is the transformation of error into a rule of life.
“In this context, as priests, pastors and guides of the People of God, you should be continuously focused on being always loyal to the doctrine of Christ. It is necessary for you to constantly strive to acquire the sensitivity of conscience, the faithful respect for dogma and morality, which constitute the deposit of faith and the common patrimony of the Church of Christ.”
Do I hear an “Amen!”?
WDTPRS kudos to Card. Sarah.