Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Clarity of Cardinal Sarah’s Words — Part V

August 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This post is the final and fifth installment in the series from Cardinal Sarah’s book: “God or Nothing.”  Many of his points could be expanded, and would make excellent homilies / sermons.  

Priestly Pedophilia

“Pedophilia is one of the most abominable moral deviations.”

“I am quite aware of the fact that respect for the office of the priest may also have played a role in establishing a culture of silence…. The bishops who transferred pedophile priests from parish to parish to conceal their attacks behaved despicably.”

“A pedophile priest who says Mass commits a sacrilege … the priestly bond that attaches him to Christ is gone… Christ gave him all the means to carry out his priesthood, but he preferred to make a pact with the forces of darkness.”

After Vatican II

“…it was thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would dawn for the history of the Church.  What dawned instead was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties…. There has been an intervention of an adverse power.”

“Faith gives us certitude, assurance , when it is based on the Word of God … and … in conformity without reason and our human soul.”

“… yesterday’s sins have become virtues. The devil is finally celebrating because he is making substantial gains.  We must not have any doubt, however, because the definitive victory will be for God alone.”

“Unfortunately, the number of those who do not know Christ and do not belong to the Church is growing continually. It has almost doubled since the end of the Council.”

Does hell exist? (interviewer question). Purgatory?

“… hell exists through an unshakable will to cut oneself off from God.”

“… in the West, we have insolently dismissed the question of hell. But in Africa, we believe in the harmfulness of the forces of evil.”

Quoting Leon Bloy: “Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.”

Quoting Catherine of Siena: “If miserable men had any idea of what purgatory and hell are, they would prefer to die ten times than to endure such tortures for a single day.”

“Augustine … emphasizes that this trial that necessarily leads to paradise must not be imagined as an easy salvation, because it is very formidable.”

Evangelization, Christian Joy

“…whenever the joy of evangelization is not the heart of Christian life, we can only deplore a worrisome symptom of spiritual dryness.”

“Christian doubt is not a moment of despair but another declaration of love.”

“The only authentic Christian flourishing lies in the offering and gift of self for the cause of the Gospel.”

“If we do not clearly establish the basis for the missionary mandate in the Trinity, there is a risk of reducing the missions to multiple activities of  social nature … one fatal error would be to emphasize social, economic, or, worse, political work to the detriment of evangelization.”

“Evangelization takes place in obedience to the missionary mandate of Jesus….”

“Man is not born to manage his bank account; he is born to find God and to love his neighbor.”

“Acedia [sloth, apathy] is a sickness of the soul that is expressed in boredom, distaste for prayer, slackening or abandoning one’s penitential practices, neglecting the heart, and indifference toward the sacraments…. Acedia can also lead to genuine spiritual torpor. In moral theology, acedia is one of the seven capital sins.”

“A priest who is stingy with the time he spends on his flock is going through a real spiritual storm…. Fear, feverish activity, and vanity remain the fierce enemies of men who have given their lives to God.”

“When the Church becomes less worldly, her missionary witness shines more brightly.”

“The witness of the people is beautiful because it … expresses outwardly an intense interior life. Popular piety publicly manifests what Christ accomplishes in the secret depths of their hearts…. Popular piety is central to an authentic process of evangelization.”

“The first thing to do when laborers are lacking is not to apply our intelligence to restructuring a diocese, to reorganize the parishes by consolidating them…. Instead, it is necessary to pray that God will raise up many holy vocations to the priestly ministry and the consecrated life.”

“The suffering that can sometimes accompany missionary work is transformed into victory by intercessory prayer.”


“God is truth; through his Son, he intends to draw us toward this truth. Attachment to and love of the truth are the most authentic, the most righteous, and the noblest attitude that a man could ever want on this earth. Conversely , the absence of truth is man’s real poverty, for the rejection of the truth paralyzes and falsifies his activity.  Thus the man who is not in the truth of God finds himself a prisoner of his own ego….”

“Reverence for the truth is the true spiritual worship that we must render to God…. By building his life on the truth,… becomes a rock, because God is love and truth. He never disappoints.”

“… no one, not even the pope, can destroy or change Christ’s teaching. No one, not even the pope , can set pastoral ministry in opposition to doctrine. That would be to rebel against Jesus Christ and his teaching.”

“…people are increasingly becoming immersed in a virtual dimension because of the audio-visual messages that accompany their life from morning to night. [They] seem to want to fill every empty moment with music and images, out of fear of feeling its very emptiness…. it has reached a level such as to give rise to talk about anthropological mutation. Some people are no longer ale to remain for long periods in silence and solitude.”

The Synod Issue

Cardinal Sarah sets forth his refutation of the 2014-15 Synod discussion regarding the effort by some bishops to change Church teaching in order to allow the divorce/remarried (without annulment) to receive Communion, and he makes clear:

“It is not possible to recognize a new union as valid if the first marriage was [valid]”

“It is … an action that deliberately draws others into sin.”

“The grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of the Cross of Christ.”

“We observe more and more that man seeks to take the place of God…. If Eucharistic celebrations turn into human celebrations of ourselves and places where we apply our pastoral ideologies and partisan political preferences, which have nothing to do with spiritual worship that is to be celebrated as God wills, the danger is immense. For then God disappears.”

“…the question of “Catholics who are divorced or divorced and civilly remarried is not an urgent challenge for the Church of Africa or Asia. On the contrary, this is an obsession of some Western Churches that want to impose so-called “theologically responsible and pastorally appropriate [ref: Reinhard Cardinal Marx, president of the German Bishops’ Conference] solutions that radically contradict the teaching of Jesus and of the Church’s Magisterium…. Christ’s disciples must assert the demands of faith in Christ without reticence and without compromise, in theory and in practice, because they are the demands and precepts of God.”

“…it is not possible to imagine any conflict or tension whatsoever between magisterial teaching and pastoral practice. The idea of putting magisterial teaching in a beautiful display case while separating it from pastoral practice, which then could evolve along with circumstances, fashions, and passions, is a sort of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology.”

“I therefore solemnly state that the Church in Africa is staunchly opposed to any rebellion against the teaching of Jesus and of the Magisterium.”

“The martyrs are the sign that God is alive and always present among us.”…”While Christians are dying for their faith and their fidelity to Jesus, in the West, men of the Church are trying to reduce the requirements of the Gospel to a minimum.”… “While hundreds of thousands of Christians are living each day filled with fear, some are trying to keep the divorced and remarried from suffering: they would feel discriminated against if they were excluded from sacramental communion.”

“Despite their ongoing state of adultery, despite their state of life that testifies to a refusal to abide by the Word that raises up those who are sacramentally married to be the revelatory sign of Christ’s Paschal Mystery, some theologians want to grant admission to Eucharistic Communion to the divorced and remarried [who] took it upon themselves to transgress Christ’s command….”

“For a baptized person to say that a de facto union, concubinage, or merely civil marriage can objectively be positive elements leading toward sacramental fullness is to try to rewrite the history of salvation backward!”(quoting Aline Lizotte, theologian, director of Karol Wojtyla Institute).

“How is it comprehensible that Catholic pastors should put doctrine to a vote: the law of God and the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, on divorce and remarriage, as though from now on the Word of God and the Magisterium had to be sanctioned and approved by majority vote?”  Men who devise and elaborate strategies to kill God, to destroy the centuries-old doctrine and teaching of the Church, will themselves be swallowed up, carried off by their own earthly victory into the eternal fires of Gehenna.”

“…the real scandal is … the confusion between good and evil caused by Catholic shepherds. If men who are consecrated to God are no longer capable of understanding the radical nature of the Gospel message and seek to anesthetize it, we will be going the wrong way. For that is the real failure of mercy.”

“I think that we should stop discussing this question like disrespectful intellectuals, giving the impression of disputing the teaching of Jesus and the Church.  Some Western governments, with great disdain for God and nature, are passing insane laws about marriage, family, and human life. For her part, the Church cannot behave frivolously in God’s sight.”

Africa Part II

“The soul of Africa always opens toward God … this continent has a fundamentally theocentric vision. Material concerns are always secondary… the African knows that he is only a sojourner.”

“If my land continues to suffer, it is because its springtime is continuing according to the divine plan.”

“…God often sends beautiful messages to those who truly love him.”

“The West urgently needs to set its sights on God and the Crucified Lord, to look on Him whom they have pierced”, to rediscover their trust in and their fidelity to the Gospel, to overcome its weariness, and to stop refusing to hear “what the Spirit says t the Churches”, even if they are African….”

In conclusion, let us end with a beautiful observation/prayer from Cardinal Sarah:

“In observing the poor, I too have learned to say, in poverty: ‘My God, I am glad about all the trials I have experienced, and I thank you in advance for all the ones yet to come. I hope they will help to bandage the wounds of the world.'”


“Holiness consists of living exactly as God wants us to live….”


One Response to “The Clarity of Cardinal Sarah’s Words — Part V”

  1. Diane Harris says:

    If anyone found Cardinal Sarah’s words in this 5 part series to be helpful, courageous, instructive, pastoral etc. you might want to write and tell him so. Here is his address:

    Robert Cardinal Sarah


    Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments

    Piazza Pio XII, 10

    00193, Vatican City

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