In general, appointments in the Roman Curia tend to be ad quinquennium… for a five year period.   In ancient Rome, five-year periods were important for census taking, etc.: a lustrum.*

As it turns out, His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah, was appointed as Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments on 24 November 2014… five years ago.

So, in a couple weeks, Card. Sarah’s quinquennium will be up.

It will be very interesting to see what happens then.

Meanwhile, if you have not read Card. Sarah’s books, don’t delay.

They make good gifts to priests.

His latest…

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

He gave an interview about the book in which he talks about how we are facing unprecedented times.  We now have to battle “liquid atheism”.

That last phrase gives me the shivers, especially having seem the newest Terminator movie.   A good analogy.

And then there’s the penultimate…

The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.


And if you haven’t read it yet… the antepenultimate…


*As it turns out there are two meanings for lustrum, -i, neuter.  There is a lustrum that has to do with the census and the propitiatory sacrifices that went with them, or the term of a lease.  There is a l?strum which, in the plural, l?stra, means “house of ill-repute, of debauchery”.  When someone these days is appointed for a lustral quinquennium in a  curial office, we might wonder which its going to be.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Kmom says:

    I can’t believe I’m actually going to disagree with you, Fr. Z…but I wouldn’t give Sarah’s latest book to anybody, especially a priest. It’s difficult to stomach Sarah’s continual reference to and quotation of Pope Francis, for it’s misleading. Could any two men be more different from each other? If I were to recommend any book to a priest, it would Bishop Schneider’s Christus Vinvit.

  2. Fr_Sotelo says:


    A cardinal’s books should not be recommended because he quotes from the Pope?

    That is called being a Catholic.

    Cardinal Sarah should be commended for placing papal quotes at the service of souls. He has the “soul of the apostolate” and abounds in giving holy examples for the clergy to follow.

  3. Argument Clinician says:

    An interesting use of “lustrum” in the Church’s hymnody comes in the Lauds hymn during Passiontide. The text speaks of Christ having fulfilled the work of His bodily ministry on earth over a span of thirty years, or six lustra: “Lustra sex qui iam peregit / tempus implens corporis…”

  4. Cardinal Sarah has a very few quotes by Pope Francis in his book. Many, many more by Pope Benedict. Also many others from “traditional” clergy. He could not completely ignore Pope Francis — and keep his job?

  5. teomatteo says:

    “It will be very interesting to see what happens then.”
    The Cardinal will be given a most wonderful sendoff.

  6. KatieL56 says:

    Kmom, I’ve read all three books (Father Z, I cannot thank you enough for finally persuading me to get a Kindle), and what Cardinal Sarah posts from Pope Francis actually helps me to see the Church and this papacy especially in a more balanced way. I so thoroughly loved Pope Benedict XVI that Pope Francis and his style first confused and then upset me. And of course, most blogs and news sources today are either nth degree papolatry” Francis does everything right FINALLY correcting the errors of previous Popes” or else “Francis is the antiChrist out to destroy the Church’. It gets wearing to be a plain Catholic ‘walking neither to right or left’ today. So many other sources, whether on the liberal or conservative side (thankfully not here on this blog) one gets everything filtered through their viewpoint/slant etc. Cardinal Sarah doesn’t slant. So instead of you reading the quoted words either from one ‘side’ with the constant, “and of course that means Francis is once again correcting the bad old previous Popes and we need to read these words as new springtime change” or “and of course faithless Francis may ‘seem’ to espouse correct teaching here but we know that his nefarious intent is to dupe faithful Catholics” blah, you get Cardinal Sarah reporting what the Pope said without any of the right OR left baggage. It’s incredibly refreshing.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    I so thoroughly disagree with Cardinal Sarah’s statement that to criticize the pope is to be outside the church, which he made recently, that for me, I can’t read his material, no matter how right he gets other matters. His statement is contradicted by our own Gospel, because according to Cardinal Sarah’s interpretation, St. Paul would be outside the church, because he confronted Peter “to the face because he was to be blamed”. So it is indisputable that his statement is incorrect. And there are other notable examples, Robert Bellarmine as well, I believe, and many saints, who also criticized the pope.
    This is not a minor point. Right now the Church Militant is badly in need of help. Please let me speak as one of the battered and beleaguered soldiers, the worst one in the platoon. We need an earthly captain or thousand, and we have exactly…none. What our “leaders” are doing is not enough. Not. Nearly. Enough.
    But as for you Fr. Z. You are doing enough, and I thank you sincerely for your faithfulness and fidelity. You are bolstering up a great many people. Surely God will reward you in heaven, amen.

  8. Andrew says:

    Virum sanctum, principem clericorum
    vere parum est, unum (solum) fungi lustrum
    addetur ei saltem et alterum:
    cum vicerit rectorem tenebrarum
    qui nos servos vult esse idolorum
    ut deducat nos in regnum caelorum.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    Ille debet loqui.

  10. My guess is that Cardinal Sarah will have plenty of time after November 24 to travel the world doing good– just like Cardinal Burke. That wouldn’t be such a bad outcome.

  11. Fr_Sotelo says:


    St. Robert Bellarmine did not criticize the pope. Not even once. Let’s just clear that up.

    As for Cardinal Sarah, you read one bad quote, and now “I can’t read his material”? That might be one of the reasons you are so “battered and beleaguered.”

    Your heart and mind are in hyper-fearful drive of any idea that might offend. We are the Church Militant–not the Church Snowflake. The Holy Spirit received at Confirmation is more than willing to help us read authors and not turn the perfect, into the enemy of the good. Our Lord said, “By their fruits….” Cardinal Sarah not only teaches the Faith eloquently–the eloquence is also in his life and liturgy.

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    Kathleen10: Well said, please ignore Fr. Sotelo’s ad hominem.

    The quote from Card. Sarah seems to be:

    “Whoever is against the Pope is ipso facto outside the Church.”

    Well, I (and many others) are “against” this pontificate on many things. From a lengthy list here’s one: participating in an occult ritual in the Vatican Gardens. That is being “ipso facto outside the Church.”

    Kmom: Yes, Bp. Schneider’s book is superior to Card. Sarah’s book. There are some great moments in Card. Sarah’s book, but it needed an editor, and one can certainly disagree with his opinions on economics and foreign policy. Still, it’s worth a read.

  13. Son Of Sobieski says:

    When you, and Dom Philip Anderson, Abbot of Our Lady of Clear Creek, both reccomend reading the same book, in the same week, it must be more than a mere coincidence!
    I will definitely heed this advice!

  14. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Semper Gumby,

    So you are so upset at my alleged “ad hominem” that you then launch into an ad hominem against Pope Francis? That’s fine. I’m sure the Pope by now is following your advice and completely ignoring people like you. It’s not much use to try to placate the adherents of Church Snowflake.

  15. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Sotelo wrote:

    “So you are so upset at my alleged “ad hominem” that you then launch into an ad hominem against Pope Francis?”

    Multiple problems here.

    1. You jump to an erroneous conclusion by writing “so upset.” Please explain how you arrived at that.

    2. You’re ad hominem against Kathleen10 is not merely “alleged” it is a fact. In fact Fr. Sotelo, you owe Kathleen10 an apology.

    3. You make an accusation of ad hominem against Pope Francis without providing any evidence.

    “I’m sure the Pope by now is following your advice and completely ignoring people like you.”

    Multiple problems here.

    1. Snide, and completely beneath you Father.

    2. Explain what you mean by “people like you.”

    3. As for Francis ignoring “people like you” (whatever that means), he has insulted and harangued faithful Catholics on many occasions over an extended period of time. That appears to be the opposite of ignoring.

    “It’s not much use to try to placate the adherents of Church Snowflake.”

    Hmm…not sure where you’re going there Father, but this may be an attempt at insulting somebody.

    Fr. Sotelo, you and I are on the same side. We do not disagree on the goal of Eternal Life, Holy Mother Church, or the Sacraments. We have a serious disagreement on what is going on in the vineyards of the Lord and communication methods.

    Three points:

    1. Do not confuse my, or our, exasperation (and at times disgust) towards this pontiff, his assistants, and their secular schemes with anger.

    2. Make distinctions.

    3. Make distinctions.


  16. Fr. Sotelo and Semper Gumby… don’t make me come down there!


  17. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z: No worries Father.

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