AMAZING INTERVIEW with @Card_R_Sarah “I believe that we are at a turning point in the history of the Church.”

Cri de coeur is the Word of the Day, it seems.

At the National Catholic Register, there is an interview with Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

His newest book The Day Is Now Far Spent is available in English. HERE

In the interview the great Cardinal offered points that have been much on my mind of late.

Let’s see some quotes:


This book is the cry from my heart as a priest and a pastor.

I suffer so much from seeing the Church torn apart and in great confusion. I suffer so much from seeing the Gospel and Catholic doctrine disregarded, the Eucharist ignored or profaned. I suffer so much from seeing the priests abandoned, discouraged, and [witnessing those] whose faith has become tepid.

The decline of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus the Eucharist is at the heart of the current crisis of the Church and its decline, especially in the West.


The profound crisis that the Church is experiencing in the world and especially in the West is the fruit of the forgetting of God. If our first concern is not God, then everything else collapses. At the root of all crises, anthropological, political, social, cultural, geopolitical, there is the forgetting of the primacy of God.


In the conclusion of my book, I speak of this poison of which we are all victims: liquid atheism. It infiltrates everything, even our speeches as clergymen. It consists in admitting, alongside faith, radically pagan and worldly ways of thinking or living. And we satisfy ourselves with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become liquid and inconsistent! The first reform to be made is in our hearts. It consists in no longer making a pact with lies. Faith is both the treasure we want to defend and the strength that allows us to defend it.


I believe that we are at a turning point in the history of the Church. Yes, the Church needs a profound and radical reform that must begin with a reform of the way of being and the way of life of priests. The Church is holy in herself. But we prevent this holiness from shining through our sins and worldly concerns.


[B]enedict XVI’s teaching is luminous. He dared to write just recently that the crisis of the liturgy is at the heart of the crisis of the Church. If in the liturgy we no longer put God at the center, then neither do we put him at the center of the Church. In celebrating the liturgy, the Church goes back to its source. All its raison d’être is to turn to God, to direct all eyes towards the cross. If it does not, it puts itself at the center; it becomes useless. I believe that the loss of orientation, of this gaze directed towards the cross, is symbolic of the root of the Church’s crisis. Yet the Council had taught that “the liturgy is mainly and above all the worship of the divine majesty.” We have made it a flatly human and self-centered celebration, a friendly assembly that is self-aggrandizing.

It is therefore not the Council that must be challenged, but the ideology that invaded the dioceses, parishes, pastors and seminaries in the years that followed.

We thought the sacred was an outdated value. Yet it is an absolute necessity in our journey towards God. I would like to quote Romano Guardini: “Trust in God; nearness to him and security in him remain thin and feeble when personal knowledge of God’s exclusive majesty and awful sanctity do not counterbalance them” (Meditations Before Mass, 1936).

In this sense, the trivialization of the altar, of the sacred space that surrounds it, have been spiritual disasters. If the altar is no longer the sacred threshold beyond which God resides, how would we find the joy of approaching it? A world that ignores the sacred is a uniform, flat and sad world. By ransacking our liturgy we have disenchanted the world and reduced souls to a dull sadness.


We had to get out of a certain rubricism. Unfortunately, it has been replaced by a bad creativity that transforms a divine work into a human reality. The contemporary technical mentality would like to reduce the liturgy to an effective work of pedagogy. To this end, we seek to make the ceremonies convivial, attractive and friendly. But the liturgy has no pedagogical value except to the extent that it is entirely ordained to the glorification of God and to the divine worship and sanctification of men.

Active participation implies in this perspective to find in us that sacred stupor, that joyful fear that silences us before the divine majesty. We must refuse the temptation to remain in the human to enter the divine.

In this sense, it is regrettable that the sanctuary of our churches are not a place reserved for divine worship, that we enter them in secular clothing, that the passage from human to divine is not signified by an architectural boundary.


Q: Why do you think more and more young people are attracted to traditional liturgy / the extraordinary form?

I do not think so. I see it; I am a witness to it. And young people have entrusted me with their absolute preference for the extraordinary form, more educative and more insistent on the primacy and centrality of God, silence and on the meaning of the sacred and divine transcendence. But, above all, how can we understand, how can we not be surprised and deeply shocked that what was the rule yesterday is prohibited today? Is it not true that prohibiting or suspecting the extraordinary form can only be inspired by the demon who desires our suffocation and spiritual death?



He goes on to talk about Africa and the Amazon Synod.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. acardnal says:

    Just got my copy this afternoon. His Eminence’s writing is right on target! I notice quotations from the book are all over the “Twitterverse” this afternoon. And his opponents are not happy.

  2. Philmont237 says:

    Bumper sticker: Sarah for Pope ASAP!

  3. Hidden One says:

    It is true.

    But my favourite paragraph from the full interview is the penultimate one.

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    Cardinal Burke in the ICKSP post and now Cardinal Sarah holding the line. A clear trumpet. That’s how it’s done.

    “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Make thee two trumpets of beaten silver, wherewith thou mayest call together the multitude…And when thou shalt sound the trumpets, all the multitude shall gather unto thee to the door of the tabernacle of the covenant…But when the people is to be gathered together, the sound of the trumpets shall be plain, and they shall not make a broken sound. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall sound the trumpets: and this shall be an ordinance for ever in your generations. If you go forth to war out of your land against the enemies that fight against you, you shall sound aloud with the trumpets, and there shall be a remembrance of you before the Lord your God, that you may be delivered out of the hands of your enemies.”

    -Numbers 10

    acardnal: Sir, again you have bested me, the day is yours. (Er, I should have my copy in a couple of days.)

  5. JamesA says:

    Please, please, please, God : We need this holy man on the throne of Peter.

  6. acardnal says:

    Semper, better late than never. Your posts are always appreciated.

  7. FN says:

    “Liquid atheism” is destined to stand alongside “the dictatorship of relativism” as a phrase that sums up our era.

    THIS is what true pastoral compassion looks like!

  8. SanSan says:

    This holy Cardinal gives “hope” to a world in desperate need of hope. May his cries for the Good, The True and The Beautiful enter the souls of God’s children and return them to right worship.

  9. Sandy says:

    This holy cardinal is a true prophet. This entire excerpt is brilliant, but I especially love the paragraph where he quotes Pope Benedict about the crisis of the liturgy being at the heart of the crisis of the Church. That should be a bumper sticker or on a T shirt!

  10. jaykay says:

    Sandy: Fr. Z does actually have “Save the Liturgy, Save the World” bumper stickers in his store. That’s basically what BXVI is saying, in compact form. Makes, or should make, people think.

  11. G1j says:

    Ordered a copy of his book today. A plan forward, but maddening that it will never be implemented. The secular world has gained far too much traction in corrupting the lay faithful and even clergy. As I sit here and think how the Cardinal’s message would resonate in my Parish alone…Most would not welcome it. I certainly would.

  12. jaykay says:

    G1j: yes, I know, and it’s basically the same in my own, which is in the middle ground – no liturgical craziness (we have versus populum “Benedictine” Altar-arrangement, 6 candles, beautiful Crucifix, and all of the “big six” lit on the old High Altar behind it which, thank God, survived) but no real spirit either. One Altar server, whose mother is in the choir with me (and God bless them both, he’s 8!). It just feels like a “last hurrah”, given the average age of the congregation is about 50, and only about 25-30% of the numbers we would have had 30-40 years ago. “Managed decline” is what I think it’s called. Our two best Priests are Polish and Nigerian, neither of them here for the long term. I am, it’s my ancestors’ parish, my people built it and I’ll damn well go on doing my best. But I have had it up to here with the Pollyanna pabulum we get from our hand-wringing Hierarchy, all of whom probably think Cdl. Sarah is a “nice man, but a little… y’know…”

    This is where we are, lo these almost 50 years since the liturgical fruit of the new springtime was sprung upon us in late 1969. Dominus vobiscum. Et kumbaya.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    G1j wrote:

    “A plan forward, but maddening that it will never be implemented.”

    Maddening, yes. Never, perhaps. An opportunity to put out into the deep for the greater glory of God, yes.

    Victory, no matter how far over the horizon it may be, is certain. Meanwhile, plans will encounter obstacles, so we endure, while remembering that God’s ways are not our ways.

    “The secular world has gained far too much traction in corrupting the lay faithful and even clergy.”

    The secular world has gained traction. So have we recently. There is an increase in: TLMs; reverent NOs; traditional monks, nuns, and vocations; and increased interest in Marian processions, pilgrimages, and prayers in Latin such as the Pater Noster.

    An illustration. Several years ago Army Capt. Randy Shed began attending Mass at West Point because his wife, also an Army officer, and their children went to Mass. Then he attended a Low Mass, he was impressed. He then discovered there was something called a Solemn High Mass…

    Early this year a Solemn High Mass was celebrated at West Point for the first time in decades:

    “As I sit here and think how the Cardinal’s message would resonate in my Parish alone…Most would not welcome it. I certainly would.”

    Excellent, so we begin. Strengthen your bretheren, one bretheren at a time.

Comments are closed.