Ex Africa semper aliquid … antiqui!

What you failed to read at the National Sodomotic Reporter is that the presidents of Africa’s conferences of bishops met in Accra.  Card. Sarah, one of my favorites, was there.   They met in the open, by the way… not in a secret cabal.

Pliny the Elder wrote, “Semper aliquid novi Africam adferre”, which is usually boiled down to “Ex Africa semper aliquid novi…. there’s always something new coming out of Africa.”

Remember that, in the terms of the Church’s historical view, innovation goes hand in hand with heresy.   Perhaps we should say “Ex Germania semper aliquid novi“!

Africa is defending the Faith against the Germans.  Again.

For a report see Sandro Magister’s piece.  HERE.

Synod. Africa’s Hour

The presidents of the continent’s episcopal conferences have met in Accra. With Robert Sarah and four other cardinals. Unanimous in opposing “the strategy of the Enemy of the human race” on divorce and homosexual unions.

What’s really interesting, is the language used by the African bishops.  “The Enemy”…  Watch what they say about the Germans!

ROME, June 15, 2015 – They were five cardinals and forty-five bishops from as many African countries who met in Accra, the capital of Ghana, from June 8-11. All in the clear light of day, not almost in secret like some of their colleagues from Germany, France, and Switzerland, who had gathered a few days before at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

But while at the Gregorian the objective was changing the Church’s stance on divorce and homosexuality, in Accra the push was in the other direction.

The marching route was indicated from the very first remarks by Guinean cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the congregation for divine worship:

– “not to be afraid of reiterating the teaching of Christ on marriage”;
– “to speak at the synod with clarity and with just one voice, in filial love of the Church.”
– “to protect the family from all the ideologies that want to destroy it, and therefore also from the national and international policies that impede the promotion of positive values.”

On this marching route there has been complete consensus. [!] The only bishop of black Africa who has spoken out in recent months in favor of “openness” to divorce, Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, although designated months ago as a delegate to the synod did not take part in this meeting because it was among presidents of episcopal conferences, and in Ghana the president is not he but the bishop of Konongo-Mampong, Joseph Osei-Bonsu.


[…]To respond to the question in the title, on the first day the participants held a discussion on the basis of four thematic introductions, splitting up afterward into working groups, and on the following day on the basis of five more outlines of discussion.

One of these, entitled “The expectations of the synod,” was read to those present by the theologian and anthropologist Edouard Ade, secretary general of the Catholic University of Western Africa, with campuses in Cotonou, Benin and Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

And he did not fail to criticize the influence that the Church of Germany has had and continues to have in the unfolding of the synod, on a worldwide level.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?  I love this.  Fishwrap will support the Germans, but they are in a dilemma in that Africa is the “periphery”.  So, Fishwrap will pirouette. Using euphemisms for how backward Africa is about homosexuals and women, they will say that Africa has a long way to go.  We’ve seen this movie before: Anglicans.  Then they will seek out the two people – probably a Jesuit and lay woman LGBT theologian – in Africa who support homosexual rights.  Show division in the ranks of the “faithful”, not among the male-dominated patriarchal hierarchy.  They’ll point to the lay faithful who already think the way Fishwrap thinks.  “Change will come from the faithful!”]

After making reference to the unprecedented evaporation of the Christian faith that has taken place in Germany in recent decades, Professor Ade’s talk focused on what he called “the strategy of the Enemy of the human race.”  [Amen!]

Given that the maximum objectives of the blessing of second marriages and of homosexual couples appear to be out of reach, this “strategy” would consist of opening loopholes that could be expanded later, naturally while affirming in words that there is no intention to change anything about doctrine. [Creeping incrementalism.]

These loopholes would be, for example, the “particular cases” illustrated by the innovators, knowing very well that they would by no means remain isolated cases.

Another clever stratagem would be that of presenting the changes as a solution “of balance” between the impatience, on one side, of those who would like divorce and homosexual marriage right away, and on the other the rigorism devoid of mercy of the discipline of the Catholic Church on marriage.  [Which is, of course, a canard.  The Church’s present process is not devoid of mercy.  But… note what is going on here.  What we will see is that the circle around Kasper, Marx and the Germans, will begin to approach their opponents (defenders of marriage and natural sex) with offers of “compromise”.  “Can’t we work together?  Can’t we find a way through this impasse?”  You are allowed to imagine the voice of the late Christopher Lee as Saruman.]

Yet another loophole would be that, already in use in many places, of giving communion to the divorced and remarried and to all couples outside of marriage, without even waiting for any decision on this matter on the part of the synod and the pope.  [This is a serious problem.  The expectations have been raised, especially by the MSM and catholic media.  Expectations were raised before Humanae vitae. Liberals revolted when they didn’t get their way.  That’ll happen again, because bishops don’t have any fight in them these days.]

Moreover, Professor Ade [This guy is smart!] warned against the “Trojan horses” adopted by the innovators, like that of always attributing a positive value to all relationships of life in common outside of marriage, or that of considering indissolubility as an “ideal” that cannot always be attained by everyone, or yet again of the use of new language that ends up changing the reality.  [Brilliant.  This is something I harped about for years while I was writing my “What Does The Prayer Really Say?” column for The Wanderer.  Lex orandi – Lex credendi.  If you change the way we pray, you change what we believe.  Change the words of the prayers of Mass, and you change what people believe.  Never forget that the Latin prayers were changed, not just the translation.]

Ade’s talk was highly appreciated by the bishops and cardinals present. So much so that there are traces of it in the final statement, where it says that “we must begin from the faith, reaffirm it and live it for the sake of evangelizing cultures in depth,” taking care not to adopt or legitimize “the language of the movements that are fighting for the destruction of the family.

In a major six-page interview released during these same days in France in the magazine “Famille Chrétienne,” Cardinal Sarah said among other things:

“At the synod next October we will address, I hope, the question of marriage in an entirely positive manner, seeking to promote the family and the values that it bears. The African bishops will act to support that which God asks of man concerning the family, and to receive that which the Church has always taught.”

And again:

“Why should we think that only the Western vision of man, of the world, of society is good, just, universal? The Church must fight to say no to this new colonization.[Fantastic.  Watch the nithings at Fishwrap blow an artery.  Card. Sarah is suggesting that we should be – GASP! – culture warriors!]

The title of the interview as it appears on the newsstand states:

> Le cardinal Sarah: “Qu’on nous écoute ou pas, nous parlerons”

“Whether we are listened to or not, we will speak.”

The meeting in Accra is proof that the coalition of African bishops will be a real player at the synod. As never before.


The final statement of the meeting in Accra, in French:

> Communiqué final

And the relation of Edouard Ade:

> Les attendus du Synode sur la Famille


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    This is fantastic. God bless Cardinal Sarah and the African bishops. Last October the Kasperites controlled the agenda and prevented a positive presentation of Catholic marriage and discussion of how to support and defend it. In that way they won even though their proposals were not approved.

    Now at least the Africans are coming prepared to take a stand, whether anyone listens or not. They are going to claim their right to speak. It won’t be possible to pretend the discussions are about something else. I won’t be surprised if they hold their own press conferences.

  2. I think our next pope maybe one of these men.

  3. Frank H says:

    Fr. Fox, from your lips to God’s ears!

  4. FL_Catholic says:

    If Cardinal Sarah became Pope, you can bet he would make sure the dedication of Russia would be done, properly, before the night of his election was over. What a great man, if only our bishops here in the US were 1/10th as devoted as he is.

  5. Sandy says:

    Praise God for these holy men, there is hope! When I read the word “loopholes”, all I could think of was a book about Vatican II. It pointed out the loopholes in many documents of the council where the word “may” was used, among other things, allowing innovations to take place, etc. As I recall from my reading over the years, it was the Rhine bishops who manipulated the documents. What’s in the water over there?!

    Also implied is the process we’ve seen over the years, of doing what isn’t allowed and then it will later be approved – Communion in the hand, “altar girls”, and on and on it goes.

    God bless you, Father Z, for words of truth!

  6. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    A few years ago I had a serious talk with an African priest who was temporarily assigned to a suburban parish during a year-long visit to the Boston area. He had been shocked during his stay by the way the priests at nearby parishes behaved (including same-sex couples in the congregation, allowing animals on the altar). He said when he went home he would do everything he could to get his brother priests to come to visit. Why? Because his country in Africa had been a mission for priests from Boston. He had read the records of those early days: One after another, Boston priests would arrive — and quickly die of malaria or some other fever. But they kept coming. Over two generations they had converted many people. Because of this, he said, he had to come back, and urge other priests to come back and make Boston Catholic again. He owed this to those missionaries, he said.

  7. Joseph-Mary says:

    I truly hope the Africans will prevail. And I am so happy that somewhere in the world there is a large group of faithful bishops with spines.

  8. drohan says:

    Praise be to God these men are standing up. We need to write to our own bishops in order to steel their backbones. It is sad that not one American Cardinal (outside Card. Burke) is willing to make such strident defenses of the faith. We need to hammer them again and again. The laity are what will save the church, and I don’t mean the Jesuit and the Lesbian theologians, I mean the Hard Identity Catholics. Maybe the men of God are awakening from their long slumber?

  9. djc says:

    I really don’t understand why the dissenting German Cardinals don’t have the gumption to simply become Anglicans. They are Anglican in fact if not in name.

    I really hope Francis will put an end to all of this.

  10. gracie says:


    “I really don’t understand why the dissenting German Cardinals don’t have the gumption to simply become Anglicans.”

    Because the Catholic Church is the big enchilada. It’s the last barrier against the Marxist agenda that these clerics are promoting. They aren’t interested in worship, except for the worship of themselves.

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    Our American bishops just met, did they not, at the USCCB conference?
    They may not realize it, but many are patiently waiting for them to defend the faith. They have just been given a good example to follow.

  12. NBW says:

    The African Bishops are not afraid of speaking and defending the Truth. I wish the USCCB would jump on board as well.

  13. rodin says:

    drohan: ” We need to write to our own bishops in order to steel their backbones.”

    You are SO right. We had a great opportunity to do exactly that in support of Archbishop Cordileone by writing to Archbishop Kurtz (President of USCCB) and also to Cardinal Vigano, the Vatican representative in this country. I did that and I hope you did also along with many others.

    Thank you Fr. Z for more information about Cardinal Sarah who is plainly a man of greatness spirit.

  14. TomG says:

    Massachusetts Catholic: that was beautiful. thank you so much for sharing it.

  15. albizzi says:

    Interesting to notice where orthodoxy and heretical heterodoxy respectively are stemming.
    The first one comes from the shrinking old european churches.
    The second one comes from the expanding new african churches.

    It is useless to wonder which ones will be the end winners.

  16. KAS says:

    “Lex orandi – Lex credendi.”

    I wish it were more generally understood that this applies to hymns sung at Mass too. This is especially true of children–they will internalize the theology in the songs faster than any other portion of the Mass. Like the prayers in the liturgy, if the music teaches a theology that is heterodox, the children will internalize these concepts– and the first lessons will often stick better, even if WRONG, than corrections after a wrong teaching is learned.

    As an educator, I am well aware that the first time a concept is presented to a child MUST be correctly done. If the concept is taught (or caught) incorrectly, they may struggle for years or their whole lives with fixing that mistaken understanding.

    As an educator I am keenly aware of the power of music to teach a concept so that it is deeply internalized. So when I see music that is heterodox, I am terribly upset. Every child, every poorly catechized adult, is internalizing what that song says. “sing a new church into being” anyone?

    I had so many bad experiences with the heterodoxy (or pure ignorance) of catechists who are much too smart about the faith to be bothered with studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or digging through the encyclicals to be sure they know the material before they teach it.

    So now once more are BISHOPS going about screwing with the faith again. I don’t know about others, but I pray my Rosary for them with the request that their asses be kicked and kicked until they convert to Catholicism. They keep sounding like a bunch of Unitarians– yap yap yap about letting people in objectively mortal sin pretend to be in a state of grace. Whose side are they on? JESUS wouldn’t allow anyone in mortal sin to go around thinking they were in a state of grace! Just read the gospels. Jesus cared! He wanted everyone to convert and be saved– he never once bent the hard truth to let a sinner slide in, nope, he taught truth, they repented and he told them to go and “sin no more”– not, “OH OK, you are in mortal sin and don’t plan to change, so I will make an exception for you so you can continue to head down the slope to Hell, even more, I shall give you a little push.”

    {reining in the rant} sorry, I am trying to raise Catholics, and give answers about Catholicism when the Bishops keep slinging hog dung (grew up around hogs, and know of what I speak!) around and teaching as though it were Catholicism.

    Then there is the fear for the souls of those Bishops. When the young people, bereft of clear and unambiguous teaching, adrift in the culture of relativism, desperate for something clear and solid to grab hold of, hear the clearly spoken imams making clear demands for their form of holiness and abandon Catholicism because of the ignorance perpetuated by the Bishops, what will become of those Bishops?

  17. David says:

    I begin to think that Cardinals committed to resisting “the strategy of the Enemy of the human race” and remaining in the truth of Christ, remembering the success of “Team Bergoglio” in the last Conclave, should quietly and prayerfully be forming “Team Sarah” for the next Conclave. That seems worth praying for.

  18. KAS says:

    Oh, and I praise God for those orthodox Bishops in Africa. Someday it will be said that they saved Christendom with the many missionaries they sent out.

  19. Cradle Catholic says:

    I was quite frankly, dreading the up-coming Synod in October, especially after paying close attention to the last one- and seeing what happened. But now I am hopeful. Very hopeful. The African and Polish Bishops are preparing for this Synod- they have a good idea of the full scale assault on the teachings of the Church by Cardinals and bishops within the Church, and they are gearing up for battle.

    I will be praying for the African and Polish bishops, and for Pope Francis, that he, as pope, truly takes up his role in safeguarding the Truths of the Catholic Church. May the Holy Spirit guide them, and may St. Michael the Archangel protect them.

  20. William Tighe says:

    “I really don’t understand why the dissenting German Cardinals don’t have the gumption to simply become Anglicans.”

    Actually, in Germany and Austria there are “Old Catholic” churches which originated in the 1870s among clergy and laity who rejected Vatican I. After a brief small-scale efflorescence, they shrank steadily, despite entering into communion with the Anglicans in the 1930s. Until the 1980s they were “respectable” in a bourgeois worldly sort of way, but the influx (a small influx, but given their small size, about 10,000 nominal members in Austria and 25,000 in Germany, one with a significant effect) of disgruntled Catholic priests of the “John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger have betrayed the ‘Spirit of Vatican II'” sort resulted in their radicalization in the 90s: women’s pretended ordination, the blessing of sodomitic pseudogamy, and all that stuff (they already were pretty liberal on remarriage after divorce). These Old Catholics would seem to be the perfect realization of the dreams of the Marxes and Kaspers of this world, and it is strange to see these Teutons devoting so much effort to reinventing the wheel, when the wheel (albeit a tiny one, and not one that ever attracted many “adherents”) has been available already for well over a century.

    For those who are interested, I wrote these articles on the Old Catholics over 15 years ago:


  21. William Tighe says:

    Sorry; I posted too soon. Here is my other article on the Old Catholics from 1999, followed by a sequel by the late Dr. Laurence Orzell from 2004:



  22. robtbrown says:

    djc says:

    I really don’t understand why the dissenting German Cardinals don’t have the gumption to simply become Anglicans. They are Anglican in fact if not in name.

    Anglicans confused the Church (esp the hierarchy) with the British government. German Cardinals confused the faith with their own ideas.

  23. Malinda says:

    Here we see the Holy Spirit at work in the midst of the African bishops and I am greatly encouraged!

  24. Martlet says:

    A sad comment on the state of things in Germany. I was admitted to hospital here on Friday with heart problems and, quite naturally, my husband asked the nurse if they would call a priest. She refused on the grounds that “he is old” – and this in a Catholic-run hospital. I feel sure that this “old” priest does not know that the nurses are refusing to call for spiritual care – especially since he belongs to a religious order with several younger men, one of whom is very devout. My 90-year-old roommate was also refused a priest and was in tears. When I am stronger (God willing) I will take this up with the monastery and let them know what is going on.

  25. Pingback: Synod 2015: A Growing German Schism – Big Pulpit

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