US BISHOPS SHARE MORNING WITH POPE FRANCIS: CELIBACY BOOK SAGA CONTINUES

US BISHOPS SHARE MORNING WITH POPE FRANCIS: CELIBACY BOOK SAGA CONTINUES

Pope Francis spent nearly three hours this morning meeting with American bishops from Region IX who are in Rome for their ad limina apostolorum visit. Region IX includes the dioceses of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. In these meetings with bishops, occasionally saying something in English but mostly through a translator, Pope Francis has always let it be known that the bishops can say anything they want and ask anything they want – a “no holds barred” encounter, as he said in one of his earlier meetings.

You will learn more about the U.S. bishops’ ad limina visits this weekend on Vatican Insider when I talk with Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas. He was present at the papal encounter this morning.

Re: the saga of the book on the priesthood and celibacy co-authored by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah: I only want to reiterate the last part of the Register story that I posted yesterday:

“The Register asked both Archbishop Gänswein and Nicolas Diat ** or comment. Archbishop Gänswein has yet to respond, but on Jan. 15 Diat confirmed to the Register Cardinal Sarah’s summary of events, most notably stressing that the cardinal showed Benedict in person a draft copy of the cover during a private audience.

“Cardinal Sarah sent a confidential letter [to Benedict] on Nov. 19 with the full text. The proofs were complete: introduction, the two texts, and the conclusion,” Diat explained. “Then, on Dec. 3, he showed the draft cover during an audience with Benedict XVI.”

Diat also maintains that as recently as last Thursday, Jan. 9, Archbishop Gänswein spoke with Davide Cantagalli who is working on the Italian edition, and that during their conversation Archbishop Gänswein “gave his support for all the work Italian editors were doing.” Cantagalli told the Register that Diat’s comments regarding him were “false” but would not offer further details when asked.

**Nicolas Diat, a French journalist and author who has worked with Cardinal Sarah on his previous three books (God or Nothing, The Power of Silence and The Day Is Now Far Spent) and assisted in editing the current book, “From the Depths of our Hearts.”

The French publisher Fayard, has this photo of the book on their website:

U.S. publisher Ignatius Press offers this cover:

Ignatius said in a January 14 statement: “Ignatius Press published the text as we received it from the French publisher Fayard. Fayard is the publisher with whom we have collaborated on three other Cardinal Sarah titles. The text we received indicates the two authors are Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah. That text also indicates that Benedict XVI co-authored an introduction and a conclusion with Cardinal Sarah, as well as his own chapter on the priesthood, wherein he describes how his exchanges with Cardinal Sarah gave him the strength to complete what would have gone unfinished.”

PUBLISHER STANDS BY CO-AUTHORED BOOK ON PRIESTLY CELIBACY

PUBLISHER STANDS BY CO-AUTHORED BOOK ON PRIESTLY CELIBACY

The Twitter universe exploded today with news about the release of a book entitled, “From the Depths of Our Hearts” by Cardinal Robert Sarah and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI after a tweet in Spanish essentially denied that Benedict XVI had written for or given approval of said book.

Tweets have been circulating all day from Cardinal Sarah (I have posted them and translated when necessary from the original French or Italian), from fans and from detractors. (You can find all of these and more on my Twitter account: https://twitter.com/joansrome)

Just as the cardinal seemed to be clearing up any doubts in his myriad tweets, the Vatican news portal released the following story about Archbishop Georg Gaenswein who is both private secretary to Benedict XVI and head of the Prefecture of the Papal Household for Pope Francis. He had contacted two news agencies, KNA and the Italian ANSA.

The archbishop is quoted as saying, “I can confirm that this morning, at the indication of the Pope emeritus, I asked Cardinal Robert Sarah to contact the publishers of the book requesting them to remove the name of Benedict XVI as co-author of the book itself, and also to remove his name from the introduction and conclusions”.

“The Pope emeritus in fact knew the Cardinal was preparing a book,” Archbishop Gänswein added, “and had sent a short text of his on the priesthood,” authorizing the Cardinal to use it as he wished. But the Pope emeritus “had not approved any project for a co- signed book, nor had he seen and authorized the cover. It was a misunderstanding, without questioning the good faith of Cardinal Sarah.”

And that seemed to contradict what Cardinal Sarah released today as an official “Communique from His Eminence Monsieur Robert Sarah.” Following is my translation:

“Last September 5, after a visit to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery where Benedict XVI lives, I wrote to the pope emeritus to ask him if it was possible for him to compose a text on Catholic priesthood, with particular attention concerning celibacy. I explained to him that I myself had begun to write a reflection in prayer. I added: ‘I imagine that you would think that reflections on your part might not be opportune because of the polemics they could provoke, perhaps in newspapers but I am convinced that the entire church needs this gift which could be published at Christmas or the beginning of the year 2020’.

“On September 20, the pope emeritus thanked me in writing and said that, for his part, even before receiving my letter, he had begun to write a text on this subject but said his strength did not allow him to edit a theological text. In any case, my letter encouraged him to resume this long work. He added that he would transmit it to me when the translation into Italian would be finished.

“On 12 October, during the synod of bishops for the Amazon, the pope emeritus sent me in a very confidential folder a long text, the fruit of his work of preceding months. “Noting the ample nature of this text in its depth as well as its form, I immediately thought it would not be possible to propose this to a newspaper or magazine with respect to its volume and its quality. I therefore immediately proposed to the pope emeritus the publication of a book that would be an immense good for the Church, putting together his text and mine. After several exchanges with regard to the development of the book, I finally sent on November 19 a complete manuscript to the pope emeritus including, as we decided of common accord, the cover, joint (in common) introduction and conclusion, Benedict XVI’s text and my text. On November 25, the pope emeritus expressed his great satisfaction concerning the edited texts and he just added: ‘For my part I am in agreement that the text to be published in the form you have envisioned’.

“On December 3, I went to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery to thank once again the pope emeritus for having granted me such great confidence. I explained to him that our book would be printed during Christmas vacation, that it would appear Wednesday, January 15 and that as a consequence I would come to bring him the work at the beginning of January upon returning from a trip to my native land.

“The polemics that I have seen in the last hours insinuating that Benedict XVI was not informed about the appearance of the book “From the depths of our Hearts,” is profoundly despicable. I have sincerely pardoned all those who have slandered me or who wish to oppose me to Pope Francis. My attachment to Benedict XVI remains intact and my filial obedience to Pope Francis absolute.”

Along with one of his tweets today, Cardinal Sarah included photocopies of 3 of the letters exchanged with Benedict XVI, including the hand-written signature of the Pope emeritus.

The book is due to appear tomorrow in French, published by Fayard, and in February in English, published by Ignatius Press.

Here is a communique from Ignatius Press on this matter:

Statement from Ignatius Press on From the Depths of Our Hearts

The cover of the English text of “From the Depth of Our Hearts” –

SAN FRANCISCO — In light of recent developments with respect to the Ignatius Press title “FROM THE DEPTHS OF OUR HEARTS,” Mark Brumley, President of Ignatius Press, issues the following statement:

“Ignatius Press published the text as we received it from the French publisher Fayard. Fayard is the publisher with whom we have collaborated on three other Cardinal Sarah titles. The text we received indicates the two authors are Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah. That text also indicates that Benedict XVI co-authored an introduction and a conclusion with Cardinal Sarah, as well as his own chapter on the priesthood, wherein he describes how his exchanges with Cardinal Sarah gave him the strength to complete what would have gone unfinished.

Given that, according to Benedict XVI’s correspondence and Cardinal Sarah’s statement, the two men collaborated on this book for several months, that none of the essays have appeared elsewhere, and that a joint work as defined by the Chicago Manual of Style is ‘a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contribution be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole,’ Ignatius Press considers this a coauthored publication.

Cardinal Sarah indicates the content of the book remains unchanged. That content, as noted, includes a coauthored introduction, a chapter by Benedict XVI, and a conclusion coauthored by Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah.”

POPE FRANCIS MEETS U.S. BISHOPS IN ROME FOR THEIR AD LIMINA – POPE FRANCIS AND CELIBACY

An interesting note on the press office’s weekly calendar of notable events in the Vatican, Rome, Italy and throughout the world:

Rome, January 17-26: On the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the first Sunday of the Word of God, which this year falls on the day on of the liturgical memory of Saints Timothy and Titus (January 26, 2020), there will be a pilgrimage of the body of Saint Timothy to the basilicas of Saint Paul and Saint Peter from the cathedral basilica of Termoli. A stone document, found on May 11, 1945 in the crypt of the cathedral, certifies that the body is that of Saint Timothy, hidden by Bishop Stefano in 1239 whose provenance was Constantinople.

Will have to get more info!

POPE FRANCIS MEETS U.S. BISHOPS IN ROME FOR THEIR AD LIMINA

The American bishops of Regions VIII and IX are in Rome, continuing the ad limina visits that U.S. prelates began last fall. The bishops from Region VIII , which includes Minnesota and North and South Dakota, were received in audience this morning by Pope Francis.

All bishops, when they are in Rome for their mandatory ad limina visit, celebrate daily Masses at each of the four papal basilicas: St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. The Latin phrase ad limina apostolorum means “to the threshold of the Apostles,” and refers specifically to Saints Peter and Paul.

The week the bishops spend in Rome is dedicated to visiting offices of the Roman Curia, for which they have prepared extensive reports on their respective dioceses. Reports must be handed in to Rome six months prior to the actual ad limina visit.

Pope Francis instituted a new way of meeting with bishops while in Rome for an ad limina, deciding to meet them all as a group (by region, etc) and to have an off the cuff, “all holds barred” talk session with them instead of delivering a prepared speech. He introduces each session by telling them all topics are in the table, they are free to ask any questions they wish and he also points out where coffee, water are bathrooms are to be found!

POPE FRANCIS AND CELIBACY

Two stories out today on Pope Francis and celibacy. The first is a statement from Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni as he answers questions from several journalists:

The position of the Holy Father on celibacy is known. In the course of his conversation with journalists on his return from Panama, Pope Francis said: “A phrase from Saint Paul VI comes to mind: ‘I prefer to give my life before changing the law of celibacy'”. And he added: “Personally I think celibacy is a gift for the Church. I don’t agree to allow optional celibacy, no. Only a few possibilities would remain in the most remote locations – I think of the Pacific Islands … […] when there is a pastoral need, there, the pastor must think of the faithful “.

Regarding the way in which this topic fits into the more general work of the recent Synod on the Pan-Amazon region and its evangelization, during the final session the Holy Father said: “I was very pleased that we did not fall prisoners of these selective groups who, of the Synod, want to see only what has been decided on this or that other intra-ecclesiastical point, and deny the body of the Synod which are the diagnoses we have made in the four dimensions of pastoral, cultural, social and ecological) .The second is an editorial today in vaticannews.va

A CONTRIBUTION ON PRIESTLY CELIBACY IN FILIAL OBEDIENCE TO THE POPE

A book by the Pope emeritus and the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship** addresses a theme on which Pope Francis has expressed himself several times.
Andrea Tornielli

A book on the priesthood that bears the signatures of Pope emeritus Joseph Ratzinger and of Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, will be released in France on 15 January. The pre-publication material provided by Le Figaro shows that with their contribution, the authors are entering into the debate on celibacy and the possibility of ordaining married men as priests. Ratzinger and Sarah — who describe themselves as two Bishops “in filial obedience to Pope Francis” who “are seeking the truth” in “a spirit of love for the unity of the Church” — defend the discipline of celibacy and put forth the reasons that they feel counsel against changing it. The question of celibacy occupies 175 pages of the volume, with two texts — one from the Pope emeritus and the other from the Cardinal — together with an introduction and a conclusion signed by both.

In his text, Cardinal Sarah recalls that “there is an ontological-sacramental link between priesthood and celibacy. Any weakening of this link would put into question the Magisterium of the [Second Vatican] Council and Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I implore Pope Francis to protect us definitively from such a possibility by vetoing any weakening of the law of priestly celibacy, even if limited to one region another”. Further, Sarah goes so far as to describe the possibility of ordaining married men as “a pastoral catastrophe, an ecclesiological confusion and an obscuring of the understanding of the priesthood”.

In his brief contribution, Benedict XVI, reflecting on the subject, goes back to the Jewish roots of Christianity, affirming that from the beginning of God’s “new covenant” with humanity, which was established by Jesus, priesthood and celibacy are united. He recalls that already “in the ancient Church”, that is, in the first millennium, “married men could receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders only if they committed themselves to sexual abstinence”.

Priestly celibacy is not, and has never been, a dogma. It is an ecclesiastical discipline of the Latin Church that represents a precious gift, as all the recent Pontiffs have affirmed. The Catholic Eastern-Rite Churches allow the possibility of ordaining married men as priests. Exceptions have also been admitted in the Latin Church by Benedict XVI himself in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, dedicated to Anglican priests who seek communion with the Catholic Church, which provides for “the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See”.

It is also worth remembering that Pope Francis has also expressed himself several times on the subject. While yet a Cardinal, in the book conversation with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, he explained that he was in favor of maintaining celibacy: “with all the pros and cons entailed, in ten centuries there have been more positive experiences than there have been errors. Tradition has a weight and validity”.

In dialogue with journalists on the flight back from Panama last January, the Pope recalled that in the Eastern Catholic Churches the option of either celibacy or marriage before the diaconate is possible; but he added, regarding the Latin Church: “I am reminded of that phrase of Saint Paul VI: ‘I would rather give my life than change the law on celibacy. It came to mind and I want to say it, because it is a courageous phrase, in a more difficult moment than this, 1968 / 1970… Personally, I think that celibacy is a gift for the Church. Second, I don’t agree with allowing optional celibacy, no.” In his reply, he also spoke about the discussion among theologians about the possibility of granting exemptions for some remote regions, such as the Pacific islands. He specified, however, “there’s no decision on my part. My decision is: optional celibacy before the diaconate, no. That’s something for me, something personal, I won’t do it, this remains clear. Am I ‘closed’? Maybe. But I don’t want to appear before God with this decision”.

The Synod on the Amazon was held in October 2019, and the topic was debated there. As can be seen from the final document, there were bishops who asked for the possibility of ordaining married permanent deacons as priests. It is striking, however, that on 26 October, in his concluding speech, the Pope, after having followed all the stages of the speeches and discussion in the hall, did not mention in any way the subject of the ordination of married men, not even in passing. Instead, he recalled the four dimensions of the Synod: that of inculturation; the ecological dimension; the social dimension; and finally the pastoral dimension, which “includes them all”. In that same speech, the Pontiff spoke about creativity in new ministries, and the role of women; and referring to the scarcity of clergy in certain mission areas, he recalled that there are many priests from a certain country who have gone to the first world, for example, the United States and Europe, and “there are not enough of them to send them out to the Amazon region of that same country”.

Finally, it is significant that Pope Francis, while thanking the media, also asked a favour of them at the same time: “that in their dissemination of the Final Document, they would focus above all on the diagnosis which is the more significant part, the part in which the Synod truly expressed itself best: cultural diagnosis, social diagnosis, pastoral diagnosis and ecological diagnosis”. The Pope then invited them not to fall into the danger of focusing on “which party won and which one lost” when looking at what was decided concerning disciplinary issues.

** The book referred to is entitled “From the Depths of Our Hearts” and is co-authored by Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah who write on priesthood, celibacy, and crisis, It will be released January 15 and available in English on February 20.

BENEDICT XVI PAYS A SURPRISE VISIT TO CASTELGANDOLFO

It fills my heart with joy to report this story!

BENEDICT XVI PAYS A SURPRISE VISIT TO CASTELGANDOLFO

Local media today reported on the surprise visit last evening of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI to the famed Castelli Romani hills towns, including the papal palace at Castelgandolfo, one of his favorite spots to vacation. Castelgandolfo, in fact, has been a favorite spot for Popes over the centuries, especially in the summer as the Castelli hill towns often have cooler temperatures than Rome.

The citizens were thrilled to learn that the Pope emeritus would once again grace their small, enchanting town overlooking picturesque Lake Albano, site of an extinct volcano.

They loved it when Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI stayed weeks or months in the papal palace. Not only did they cherish the person of the Pope but also the fact that a Pope in residence drew visitors to the town, helping restaurants and other businesses to flourish.

All that changed with the election of Pope Francis who, as is well known, prefers working vacations in the Santa Marta residence to spending time at Castegandolfo. The townspeople not only miss having “their Pope” in residence, they miss the visitors and tourists that a pontifical presence attracts.

Yesterday was the first time in four years that Benedict had gone to Castelgandolfo. He had been invited by Pope Francis to spend some time in the palace in the summer of 2015.

Benedict arrived in a Mercedes Benz sedan with darkened windows, accompanied by his dear friend, personal secretary and prefect of the papal household, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein. Castelgandolfo was the first of three stops yesterday afternoon. Benedict first spent 90 minutes in the papal palace, even briefly visiting the gardens he so loved to walk in and pray the rosary. (file photo – public domain)


Afterwards he visited the shrine of the Madonna del Tufo in Rocca di Papa and then on to Frascati, another beautiful castelli romani hill town. Here he was welcomed by Bishop Raffaello Martinelli for a short private visit and light supper.

Everyone will remember how Benedict XVI travelled by helicopter from Vatican City to Castelgandolfo the evening of February 28, 2013, to spend a few months in the papal summer residence before retiring to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in Vatican City.

Upon his arrival that late February afternoon, he went to the palace balcony overlooking the town’s main square and spoke his last public words as Supreme Pontiff: “Thank you. Thank you all. Dear Friends, I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your kindness, which does me so much good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection. You know that this day is different for me from the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8:00 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still, thank you, I would still—with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength—like to work for the common good and the good of the Church and of humanity. I feel greatly supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing. May Almighty God bless us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!

POPE DELIVERS FINAL CATECHESIS ON THE “OUR FATHER” – POPE FRANCIS SENDS GREETINGS AND A BLESSING TO CHINESE CATHOLICS

POPE DELIVERS FINAL CATECHESIS ON THE “OUR FATHER”

In a (finally) sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience and began by noting, “Today we conclude our catechesis on the ‘Our Father’.”

He said, “Jesus has revealed to us that Christian prayer begins with the audacity to call God ‘Father’. Indeed, each of the expressions that our Lord himself uses in prayer brings to mind the text of the ‘Our Father’.

“Throughout the New Testament,” continued Francis, “it is clear that the first principle of every prayer is the Holy Spirit, who breathes into the hearts of the disciples. Herein lies the mystery of Christian prayer: that by grace we are drawn into the Holy Trinity’s dialogue of love. On the cross Jesus cries out: ‘My God, my God’, and we see here the fulcrum of his relationship with the Father. This also reflects the heart of our own trust and prayer.

The Holy Father said in conclusion, “At the end of this catechesis, let us repeat this prayer of Jesus: ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children’.”

In the multi-lingual greetings that follow the audience catechesis and summaries in seven languages, Francis, through an English-speaking monsignor from the Secretariat of State, greeted the “English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from England, Belgium, Tanzania, New Zealand, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Canada and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!”

In greetings to French pilgrims, Pope Francis spoke of a murdered missionary sister, whose body was found in the Central African Republic on the same day a missionary priest was killed in Mozambique. He called the Spanish missionary “a woman who has given her life for Jesus in the service of the poor.”

Sister Inés Nieves Sancho, 77, was found murdered near her home in the Central African Republic on Monday morning. Her body was found horribly mutilated at her workshop in the village of Nola, which is part of the Diocese of Berberati, according to the Osservatore Romano. At some point during the night between Sunday and Monday, unknown assailants entered Sister Inés’ home and forcibly took her to the workshop where she regularly held sewing lessons for local girls to help improve their lives. There her attackers decapitated her and mutilated her body.

There was a new language in the papal greetings today. Added to French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Polish and Italian, Francis greeted pilgrims in Ukrainian: “I cordially greet the Ukrainian pilgrims, especially the group of soldiers who participated in the annual National Military Pilgrimage in Lourdes. I continually pray to the Risen Lord, so that he fills the hearts of the Ukrainians with love and serenity and gives his peace to the whole country. God bless you all!”

After the general audience was over and Catholic prelates and several others lined up to meet the Pope, the Holy Father greeted Dr. Denis Mukwege, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. (source: vaticannews)

POPE FRANCIS SENDS GREETINGS AND A BLESSING TO CHINESE CATHOLICS

At the end of today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis, in a reference to the upcoming feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, expressed his “special closeness and affection to all the Catholics in China who, among daily labors and trials, continue to believe, to hope, and to love.”

Speaking directly to the faithful in China, the Holy Father said, “May our Mother of Heaven help you all to be witnesses of charity and fraternity, always remaining united in the communion of the universal Church.”

Francis then assured the Chinese faithful of his own prayers and his blessing, before leading the pilgrims at the audience in praying the Hail Mary for Chinese Catholics.

An image of Our Lady, Help of Christians, is found in the Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai, and is an object of special devotion to the faithful in China.

In May of 2007, in his Letter to Chinese Catholics, Benedict XVI asked that the May 24 feast of Mary, Help of Christians be celebrated as a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. The following prayer, published in 2008, was composed by Pope Benedict for the occasion:

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title “Help of Christians”,
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said “yes” in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.

In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!
(source: vaticannews)

CARDINAL SARAH ENDORSES THE “NOTES” OF POPE BENEDICT, “MARTYR FOR THE TRUTH”

More piercingly insightful words from the ever clear and insightful Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, as he cites the clear teaching of Pope emeritus Benedict on the sex abuse crisis:

CARDINAL SARAH ENDORSES THE “NOTES” OF POPE BENEDICT, “MARTYR FOR THE TRUTH”

– Sandro Magister

Cardinal Robert Sarah took everyone by surprise on the evening of May 14 in Rome, in the auditorium of the cultural center of the church of St. Louis of the French, when everyone was expecting him to present his latest book, entitled “Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse,” on the Church’s crisis of faith and the decline of the West.

SARAH

Because instead, the cardinal said right away, “this evening I will not talk about this book at all.” And the reason – he explained – is that “the fundamental ideas that I develop in it were illustrated, presented, and demonstrated brilliantly last April by Pope Benedict XVI in the ‘notes’ that he had composed in view of the summit of the presidents of the episcopal conferences on sexual abuse convened in Rome by Pope Francis from February 21 to 24.”

Cardinal Sarah continued:
“His reflection has revealed itself to be a true source of light in the night of faith that touches the whole Church. It has prompted reactions that at times have bordered on intellectual hysteria. I have felt personally struck by the wretchedness and coarseness of several comments. We must be convinced that once again the theologian Ratzinger, whose stature is that of a true father and doctor of the Church, has seen correctly and has touched the deepest heart of the Church’s crisis.

“I would therefore like us this evening to allow ourselves to be enlightened by this demanding and luminous thought of his. How could we summarize the thesis of Benedict XVI? Allow me to simply cite him: ‘Why has pedophilia reached such proportions? In the final analysis, the reason is the absence of God.’ This is the architectonic principle of the entire reflection of the pope emeritus. This is the conclusion of his long argumentation. This must be the starting point of every investigation of the scandal of sexual abuse committed by priests, in order to propose an effective solution.

“The crisis of pedophilia in the Church, the scandalous and distressing multiplication of abuse has one and only one ultimate cause: the absence of God. Benedict XVI summarizes it in another formula that is also clear. I quote: ‘It is only where faith no longer determines the actions of man that such crimes are possible.’

“The theological genius of Joseph Ratzinger here touches not only upon his experience as pastor of souls and as bishop, as father of his priests, but also upon his personal, spiritual, and mystical experience. He goes back to the fundamental cause, he allows us to understand what the only way can be for getting out of the frightening and humiliating scandal of pedophilia. The crisis of sexual abuse is the symptom of a deeper crisis: the crisis of faith, the crisis of the sense of God.”

TO READ FURTHER: http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2019/05/20/cardinal-sarah-endorses-the-“notes”-of-pope-benedict-“martyr-for-the-truth”/