Card. Sarah on the eternal consequences for priests afraid to uphold the Church’s teaching

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 ( – 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.

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  1. priests wife says:

    May God grant Cardinal Sarah MANY YEARS!

  2. Andy Milam says:

    Fr. Z!!!!!

    We have an ineffable statement!!

    Card. Sarah says in paragraph #3, “By the imposition of my hands and by a new and ineffable outpouring of the Holy Spirit, you are going to receive an indelible character in your souls that configures you to Christ, renders you completely identical to the Christ-Priest, in associating you with the plenitude of Christ, to act in the name of Jesus Christ, head of the Mystical Body (cf. Cyrill of Jerusalem, Catecheses, 22:3).”

    I’m sure that the liberals are all wailing and gnashing their teeth after that concise statement of the fullness of the ministerial power!!!

    Card. Sarah, AD MULTOS ANNOS!!!!

  3. Sandy says:

    Yes, you hear AMEN a thousand times! May the Lord multiply many times over this type of clear teaching and courage in our Church!

  4. Brian2 says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard of Cardinal Sarah. What is his story — where is he from, and so on? He certainly seems like the boss hoss based on this sermon.

  5. wmeyer says:

    Per Wikipedia, the good Cardinal is from Guinea.

    We must ask ourselves why we find our comfort and support coming so often from people from cultures much of America, and probably Europe, would disdain. Card. Sarah from Guinea, Card. Arinze from Nigeria, one of the better priests in my own parish from the Philippines, and so on.

    Thanks be to God that these men speak truth in public with confidence, when so many retreat from any sort of potentially contentious position.

  6. ray from mn says:

    Now that Cardinal Arinze is getting up there in years (he’ll be 79 in November), it looks like it should be smart to keep one’s eye on Cardinal Sarah (age 65).

    Of course Pope Benedict was selected when he was 78 (6 years ago) and it looks like he’ll be there for some time yet, God willing.

  7. trad catholic mom says:

    May God grant him many many years of service to Mother Church.

  8. Will there not be eternal consequences for past popes who have neglected to act decisively against unfaithful bishops and priests? These are the clergy men whose false teachings have led astray millions of Catholics, to the point that in some countries Catholicism is on life-support and even mass-going Catholics believe the worst heresies.

    At times I wonder if the Lefebvrists are right. Sorry for being cynical.

  9. Random Friar says:

    Great. I guess this means I won’t get to use my “This Gospel is about sharing” homily this Sunday. Back to the drawing board…

  10. Charles E Flynn says:

    I have seen few photographic portraits that capture the subject’s seriousness of purpose as well as this one does.

  11. JKnott says:

    This is a gift of consolation from the Lord through this fine Bishop who is steadfast in the courage of his convictions and a faithful Catholic heart. It is a joy to pray for him and those other bishops who are growing some spine lately.

  12. RichR says:

    And may Bishops stand by their Priests for leading souls to Heaven by telling them the truth about these sinful lifestyles.

  13. Glen M says:

    Like others here, this is the first time I’ve seen this cardinal and have the same impression: wow. Please Lord, send us many more holy priests, bishops, and especially faithful cardinals. The next pope is going to be critical in the restoration project.

  14. sea the stars says:

    I am very happy to see the emergence of another great man of God. He sounds like a man right after the Holy Father’s own heart.

  15. Stephen D says:

    These comments by the Cardinal are notable because this sort of honest appraisal of the situation is so rare from members of the hierarchy. I have heard it said that there is a reluctance to face up to the liberal sections of hierarchy who are the majority in so many countries for fear of schism. The schism has already happened, it is just that it hasn’t been admitted. Let’s get on with making this civil war an open one and fighting it out to stop the terrible rot in a large part of the Church of God.

  16. irishgirl says:

    Bravo to the good Cardinal from Ghana! Wish more of our Bishops would be this courageous and ‘tell it like it is’ on moral issues such as homosexuality!
    MEGA-KUDOS indeed!

  17. Prof. Basto says:

    Cardinal Robert Sarah, from Guinea, was ordained a Priest in 1969.

    His initial studies for the priesthood began in 1957, in Ivory Coast. In 1958 Ghana became independent, and as a result the Guinean seminarians studying in Ivory Coast were transferred to Guinea in 1960, where he continued his formation. After the graduation in philosophy, he was sent to France in 1964, but because of poor relations between his country and France, he left Nancy and returned to Africa, finishing his theological formation in Senegal. After priestly ordination, he continued his education with graduate studies in Rome and Jerusalem (at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, respectively). In 1974 he returned to Guinea.

    A priest of the archdiocese of Conakry (the capital of Guinea), Robert Sarah was directly raised to the dignity of Metropolitan Archbishop of that city by Pope John Paul II in 1979, receiving episcopal consecration from Cardinal Giovanni Benelli, Archbishop of Florence.

    In 2001, Sarah left the Metropolitan See of Conakry, having been appointed Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples by bl. John Paul II. In october 2010 Pope Benedict XVI promoted Sarah to the post of President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, the dicastery of the Roman Curia that oversees the Church’s and charitable efforts and its charities worldwide. Sarah replaced the retiring Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes as head of that Pontifical Council.

    Cardinal Sarah was raised to the Cardinalate in the recent consistory of November 20, 2010.

  18. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    My favorite quote from his homily:

    “?The duty and the mission of being a shepherd, of witnessing to Christ, is understood as nothing more than the love of Christ, than the love of the Crucified One. And the cross is the greatest school where we learn to love. When we do not love, we have terrible fear in the face of the powers of this world, and we seek to compromise. When, to the contrary, we love, there is no power that can close our mouths, and the lashes of the whip, the threats, the calumnies, or even stonings do nothing more than purify us of fear and fill our hearts “with joy for having being judged worthy of suffering outrages for the name of Jesus” (Acts 5:41).”

    I hope the good Archbishop is regarded as “papabile,” not that I wish to lose our current Holy Father any time soon. Just from this homily alone my soul cries out “Axios!” In this age we need hierarchs – popes, patriarchs and bishops – who have the wisdom of apostles and the courage of martyrs. This man seems to be very gifted on both counts.

  19. Fr. Frank says:

    I agree with Stephen D. I agree because I see and live the reality of it daily. The schism has already occurred. That the schism is de facto rather than de jure doesn’t make it any less real, and in some ways makes it even more pernicious. I often find myself asking the Lord if it’s too late — if the only way to repair it all is through a Chastisement that will lance the boil and drain the poison from the Body of Christ. Mary, Help of Christians & Mother of Priests, pray for us.

  20. Dr. Eric says:

    There are many countries in Africa that are 50, 60, 90% Catholic. It would appear that very soon, the non-Arab African countries will be as Catholic as the Southern American countries.

    I’m proud that this man is a Cardinal of our Church.

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