Card. Sarah in a new, wide-ranging interview

There is an extract from a wide-ranging interview at L’homme nouveau in French with His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.  He is rapidly rising on my list of favorite Cardinals.

The interview is long and wide-ranging.  I’m on the road right now, so I can’t hammer out the full translation for this, but here is a sample that touches on a point I have been harping at for a long time:

Abbé C.B. : La manière dont s’est faite la réforme liturgique et du coup l’esprit liturgique dans lequel se réalise la formation des prêtres n’éloignent-ils pas du modèle sacerdotal que vous prônez ?

Card. R. S. : Nous constatons de plus en plus que l’homme cherche à prendre la place de Dieu, que la liturgie devient un simple jeu humain. Si les célébrations eucharistiques se transforment en des lieux d’application de nos idéologies pastorales et d’options politiques partisanes qui n’ont rien à voir avec le culte spirituel à célébrer de la façon voulue par Dieu, le péril est immense. Il me semble urgent de mettre plus de soin et de ferveur dans la formation liturgique des futurs prêtres. Leur vie intérieure et la fécondité de leur ministère sacerdotal dépendront de la qualité de leur relation avec Dieu, dans ce face-à-face quotidien que la liturgie nous donne d’expérimenter.

That last part….

It seems to me urgent to put more care and fervor into the liturgical formation of future priests. Their inner life and fruitfulness of their priestly ministry depend on the quality of their relationship with God, in the daily face-to-face meeting that the liturgy gives us to experience.

Young priests – all priests of the Latin Church – need to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  It teaches them something about who they are at the altar, who they are as priests, in a way that the Novus Ordo simply does not do.  In turn, this has a knock-on effect with those to whom the priest has been given.

Reason #4 for Summorum Pontificum.

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20 Responses to Card. Sarah in a new, wide-ranging interview

  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I like the part where he says Mass isn’t a theater where everybody gets a part.

    “What is “take part in the liturgy?” This means, to enter fully into the prayer of Christ. So it is nothing to do with the noise, bustle and the fact that everyone has a role in a theater. It is entering the prayer of Jesus to immolate himself with Him, to be somehow transubstantiated and become ourselves, living hosts, holy, acceptable to God… [Good quote from St. Greg Nazianzen] It is not we distribute roles or functions. Gradually, we are called to enter into the mystery of the Eucharist….”

  2. ChrisRawlings says:

    The interview is wonderful. Cardinal Sarah simply speaks the truth in an authoritative, confident manner that reveals a deep faith on our Lord.

  3. WmHesch says:

    It’s a stretch to say there’s a direct correlation between a reverent Novus Ordo and knowing the Extraordinary Form.

    Lest we forget much of the 1970s-1990s liturgical silliness was perpetrated by priests who had first learned the pre-Conciliar form!!!

  4. Giuseppe says:

    He is certainly papabile — maybe Pope Gelasius III (I think Gelasius I was the last African pope)
    Or maybe Pope Augustine?

  5. SKAY says:

    Card. Sarah has been in my prayers for a while.

  6. WmHesch said:

    It’s a stretch to say there’s a direct correlation between a reverent Novus Ordo and knowing the Extraordinary Form.

    Lest we forget much of the 1970s-1990s liturgical silliness was perpetrated by priests who had first learned the pre-Conciliar form!

    Replace “know” with “love” or “have a deep and abiding devotion for” and such and such. Fixed!

  7. truthfinder says:

    This is the second good interview in French with a cardinal lately (also the interview with Card. Muller). It’s definitely calming to some of my internal freak-outs.

  8. mburn16 says:

    There has to be a middle ground between the problematic dancing-on-the-altar and the sit-quietly-in-the-pew-and-pray-your-rosary mentality of which the pre-conciliar liturgy might reasonably be accused.

    But I say again, if the Church provided more opportunities for praise and worship outside of the sacrifice of the mass, where things like liturgical dance and guitar and lay preaching could rightfully take place, you would not see these things trying to barge into that one hour on Sunday.

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    What scope and variety might Cardinal Sarah mean, in terms of Rites and Uses, in his observation on liturgical formation.? (St. Gregory Nazianzen was presumably thinking of the ‘Byzantine’ Liturgy as he knew it, for example.)

    And do you have any observations in this area, Fr. Z, about what other Uses, such as the Ambrosian, or even the Sarum (in which some have, I believe, received permission to celebrate), or Rites (becoming Byzantinely biritual, for example), can teach Latin priests?

  10. McCall1981 says:

    Card Sarah has some pretty amazing things to say in his new book Dieu ou rien:
    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it…/1351022?eng=y
    A NEW FORM OF HERESY
    On the contrary, this is an obsession of certain Western Churches that want to impose solutions that are called “theologically responsible and pastorally appropriate,” which radically contradict the teachings of Jesus and the magisterium of the Church. […]

    In this sense it is not possible to imagine any sort of rupture between magisterium and pastoral care. The idea that would consist in putting the magisterium in a pretty box, separating it from pastoral practice, which could evolve according to circumstances, fashions, and passions, is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology.

    I therefore solemnly affirm that the Church of Africa will firmly oppose any rebellion against the teaching of Jesus and of the magisterium. […]

    How could a synod review the constant, unanimous, and extensive teaching of Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II, and Benedict XVI? I place my trust in the fidelity of Francis.

    THE TRUE SCANDAL, IN THE AGE OF MARTYRS
    [But] while Christians are dying for their faith and for their fidelity to Jesus, in the West there are churchmen who are seeking to reduce the demands of the Gospel to a minimum.

    We even go so far as to utilize the mercy of God, stifling justice and truth, to “welcome” – in the words of the ‘Relatio post disceptationem’ of the October 2014 synod on the family – “the gifts and qualities that homosexual persons have to offer to the Christian community.” This document went on to say that “the question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension.” In reality, the true scandal is not the existence of sinners, since mercy and forgiveness always exist for them, but rather the confusion between good and evil that is made by Catholic pastors. If men consecrated to God are no longer capable of understanding the radical nature of the Gospel, seeking to anesthetize it, we will lose our way. Because then comes the true absence of mercy.

    While hundreds of thousands of Christians live every day in bodily fear, some want to prevent suffering for the divorced and remarried, who are said to feel discriminated against in being excluded from sacramental communion. In spite of a state of permanent adultery, in spite of a state of life that bears witness to a refusal to adhere to the Word that elevates those who are sacramentally married to being the sign revelatory of the paschal mystery of Christ, certain theologians want to give access to Eucharistic communion to the divorced and remarried. The suppression of this ban on sacramental communion for the divorced and remarried, who have authorized themselves to go beyond the Word of Christ – “Let man not divide what God has joined” – would clearly signify the negation of the indissolubility of sacramental marriage. […]

    There exists today an opposition and a rebellion against God, an organized battle against Christ and his Church. How can it be understood that Catholic pastors should submit to a vote the doctrine, the law of God and the teaching of the Church on homosexuality, on divorce and remarriage, as if the Word of God and the magisterium must now be endorsed, approved by the vote of the majority?

    The men who build and structure strategies for killing God, demolishing the age-old doctrine and teaching of the Church, will themselves be swallowed up, plunged by their victory into the eternal Gehenna.

  11. sarto2010 says:

    “There has to be a middle ground between the problematic dancing-on-the-altar and the sit-quietly-in-the-pew-and-pray-your-rosary mentality of which the pre-conciliar liturgy might reasonably be accused.”

    No one who has attended Mass at the great SSPX church of St-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet in Paris could ever describe Mass-goers there as being of the latter mentality.

  12. jacobi says:

    The formation of priests is critical, both to hold what is left of the dissolving, diminishing Catholic laity and to attract new candidates to the priesthood. Liturgy is the key, particularly that of the Mass. This must be returned to the ancient, masculine, sacred, form, the Mass of Catholic Ages.

    The chaotic post-Pauline Mass, while being valid in its now many confusing forms, lets be clear about that, has totally failed to hold the attention of young men let alone interest them in devoting their lives to the Church.

    I see now a small (very small ) number of young priests moving back to sacrality, to the ancient spirit of Catholicism. More Latin in the Mass, the re-introduction of chant, more pointed sermons. But time is running out.

    Unless our bishops wake up and accept that the whole post-Vat II move to “Modernise” the liturgy is the unmitigated disaster it has turned out to be, we can forget it – at least outside of Africa!

  13. JonPatrick says:

    ,burn 16, when you say “There has to be a middle ground between the problematic dancing-on-the-altar and the sit-quietly-in-the-pew-and-pray-your-rosary mentality of which the pre-conciliar liturgy might reasonably be accused.” you are presenting a false choice.

    In the TLM one has the option to participate in the Mass following it on one’s hand missal and praying it along with the priest, or sit quietly and pray the rosary, whatever manner one wishes. In the Ordinary Form particularly in the example you gave there is no such choice.

  14. Grumpy Beggar says:

    @ McCall1981 : Thanks for the excerpts and the link .
    “Amazing” is right. Pure truth is so refreshing – even when it demands personal reflection.

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    In the interview, Cardinal Sarah attends to Benedict XVI on the hermeneutic of continuity rather than one of rupture and notes that Sacrosanctum Concilium, the conciliar text concerning the holy liturgy, makes no attempt to set aside the past. “For example, it never asked for the suppression of Latin or of the Mass of St. Pius V.”

    To borrow and adapt mburn16’s words, this respect for history and continuity was the “mentality” of the document, and also (whatever just criticisms may be made) of the post-conciliar liturgy as a reverent ordinarily Latin liturgy. But another “mentality” or palet of mentalities as to the post-conciliar liturgy came rapidly and widely – and successfully (and, variously, destructively) – into play. One might analogously reasonably speak of more than one “mentality of [that is, respecting…] the pre-conciliar liturgy”. Some might unjustly neglect the good of helping the laity learn what the Latin prayers really mean. But, as JonPatrick suggests, the “pre-conciliar liturgy” is not susceptible to the intrusiveness and uniformitarian-participation pressures too often characteristic of (freely-adapted) vernacular N.O. celebrations.

    While “more opportunities for praise and worship outside of the sacrifice of the mass” might indeed present opportunities to diminish intrusive pressures, they need not (for any who think, ‘if here, why not there, too?’), and their ethos would not automatically be what it might be and would benefit from “care and fervor into the liturgical formation” in a broad sense, of all concerned.

  16. otsowalo says:

    Sandro Magister’s piece on Cardinal Sarah (linked by McCall1981) had a bothersome swipe at Cardinal Tagle. An uninformed swipe if i might add. Sorry for the off-tangent comment.

  17. mburn16 says:

    “they need not (for any who think, ‘if here, why not there, too?’)”

    It is far easier to argue that there is a time and a place for something (just not this time, this place) than to argue that there is NO time and NO place.

    For example…liturgical dance. It is wholly unsuited to the solemn worship that takes place during Holy Mass, because calvary was neither the time nor the place to dance. But there is no reason to think that dance is an inherently unsuitable activity for praise. David danced before the ark to celebrate its return, and the Hewbrews danced after God defeated Pharoah. It can certainly have a place, just not during mass.

  18. Ann Malley says:

    “…In the TLM one has the option to participate in the Mass following it on one’s hand missal and praying it along with the priest, or sit quietly and pray the rosary, whatever manner one wishes. In the Ordinary Form particularly in the example you gave there is no such choice.”

    Well said, JonPatrick.

    Too often an outdated stereotype of the TLM is what is believed and more’s the pity. (A stereotype I believe was initially used to foment disdain, fueling the demand for change and more “active” involvement that, while physically engaging, too often falls short of that intimate, spiritual union that really feeds the soul.)

    I have found an incredible wealth at the TLM by being afforded the precise liberties you describe. Some days I use my missal, some days not. Some days a devotional, other days more direct contemplation of the mystery of what is actually occurring. Sometimes praying my rosary at mass in union with the Sacrifice is the order of the day. But always union.

    Thanks for posting.

  19. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    mburn16,

    There are no doubt some things for which there is no time and no place, and other things where there are both appropriate and inappropriate times and places – and the fact that someone might unconvincingly extrapolate from a certain time and place being permitted to deeming other times and places equally appropriate need not mean that the permitted ones would be better suppressed as a precaution.

    I would agree that ‘sacred dance’ (so to call it) can have a place. I also think it needs to be well done (whatever that ends up meaning, exactly) in its place – there can be bad (however well-intended) sacred dance, and it should be (politely but firmly) avoided, resisted, etc.

    Something which is not dance, exactly, but does not seem inappropriate processionally, is peformed at Echternach – it might interest you to browse through this documentary:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzrdqT0MMH8