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.
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.