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Cardinal Sarah Also Admits Disaster.
But again: Now What?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 5, 2017

Yesterday’s column addressed Cardinal Burke’s explosive admission that Amoris Laetitia (AL), as interpreted by the liberal collaborators of Pope Bergoglio, who obviously have his blessing, means in practice “the end of the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage…” Truly a disaster. Yet the Cardinal, as of this writing, does not seem disposed to confront this disaster publicly and forthrightly at its source: the Pope who promulgated AL and relentlessly promotes its liberal interpretation.

Now another cardinal has weighed in with a whole series of explosive admissions regarding the state of the liturgy and the Church in general after half a century of the “conciliar springtime.” In his address on the Tenth Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum (2007), by which Pope Benedict XVI liberated, or attempted to liberate, the traditional Latin Mass from its absurd Babylonian captivity since the appearance of the New Mass of Paul VI, Cardinal Robert Sarah drops one bomb after another:

• “But most of the time, this ‘reform’ [of the liturgy]… was carried out in a superficial spirit and on the basis of only one criterion: to suppress at all costs a heritage that must be perceived as totally negative and outmoded so as to excavate a gulf between the time before and the time after the Council.”

• “However we cannot close our eyes to the disaster, the devastation and the schism that the modern promoters of a living liturgy caused by remodeling the Church’s liturgy according to their ideas.”

• “The serious crisis of faith, not only at the level of the Christian faithful but also and especially among many priests and bishops, has made us incapable of understanding the Eucharistic liturgy as a sacrifice…”

• “There is often a sacrilegious tendency to reduce the Holy Mass to a simple convivial meal, the celebration of a profane feast, the community’s celebration of itself, or even worse, a terrible diversion from the anguish of a life that no longer has meaning or from the fear of meeting God face to face, because His glance unveils and obliges us to look truly and unflinchingly at the ugliness of our interior life.”

• “Even today, a significant number of Church leaders underestimate the serious crisis that the Church is going through: relativism in doctrinal, moral and disciplinary teaching, grave abuses, the desacralization and trivialization of the Sacred Liturgy, a merely social and horizontal view of the Church’s mission.”

• “Many believe and declare loud and long that Vatican Council II brought about a true springtime in the Church. Nevertheless, a growing number of Church leaders see this ‘springtime’ as a rejection, a renunciation of her centuries-old heritage, or even as a radical questioning of her past and Tradition.”

• “The Gospel and [R]evelation themselves are ‘reinterpreted’, ‘contextualized’ and adapted to decadent Western culture.”

• “…devastation, destruction and wars have followed and persisted these days at the liturgical, doctrinal and moral level, because they claim that no era has been capable of understanding the ‘evangelical ideal’ as well as ours.”

• “Many refuse to face up to the Church’s work of self-destruction through the deliberate demolition of her doctrinal, liturgical, moral and pastoral foundations.”

• “While more and more voices of high-ranking prelates stubbornly affirm obvious doctrinal, moral and liturgical errors that have been condemned a hundred times and work to demolish the little faith remaining in the people of God, while the bark of the Church furrows the stormy sea of this decadent world and the waves crash down on the ship, so that it is already filling with water…”

Cardinal Sarah here provides a kind of catalogue of what so-called “radical traditionalists” and “Fatimites” have been saying for well-nigh fifty years about the revolution in the Church following the Second Vatican Council. He freely admits it all, even to the extent of acknowledging “the Church’s work of self-destruction through the deliberate demolition of her doctrinal, liturgical, moral and pastoral foundations.”  No “radical traditionalist” or “Fatimite” ever put it more dramatically, and now we are hearing it from a Vatican cardinal who is no less than head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW).

Better late than never, I suppose. But there is a glaring, indeed fatal, omission in Cardinal Sarah’s assessment: the entire crisis he laments has originated with the acts and omissions of the conciliar Popes, who unleashed the ruinous “liturgical reform” only to weep over its results (Paul VI), who practiced “liturgical inculturation,” radical ecumenism and “interreligious dialogue” only to lament the “silent apostasy” of the once Christian West (John Paul II), and who now (Pope Bergoglio) labor to admit public adulterers to Holy Communion, departing even from the contrary teaching of John Paul II in line with all of Tradition. 

Indeed, respecting the liturgical crisis, it is none other than Pope Bergoglio who sacked all 27 members of the CDW and replaced them with a passel of liturgical progressives, leaving Cardinal Sarah in powerless isolation. Bergoglio even brought back from the dead none other than Archbishop Piero Marini, secretary to the infamous Annibale Bugnini, architect of the New Mass, who was sacked and sent off to Iran after Paul VI (by Bugnini’s own admission) was shown a dossier documenting Bugnini’s alleged Masonic affiliation. Marini was also behind the “inculturated” papal Masses of John Paul II (including half-naked liturgical dancers). As even the Catholic Herald admits, “his [Marini’s] preferences for liturgical dance, and other deeply ‘enculturated’ forms of expression in the liturgy, have proven somewhat controversial in the past. In addition, he is notoriously and publicly impatient with those favouring the Extraordinary Form and other traditionalist liturgical practices, like the celebration of Mass ad orientem.” 

Now, where does Cardinal Sarah think the Popes were during the sudden and catastrophic ecclesial decline he now admits? Sojourning on Mars perhaps? Can he not see that, apart from the abruptly terminated attempt by Benedict to undo some of the damage, principally by declaring a “liberation” of the traditional Mass that most bishops are still quarantining as if it were a strain of anthrax, the decisions of the conciliar Popes are the sine qua non of the post-conciliar crisis he now laments? Is he not aware that the current Pope demands even more of the same manic reformism, having declared his own personal “dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation”?

It does no good for a cardinal to warn that “the bark of the Church furrows the stormy sea of this decadent world and the waves crash down on the ship, so that it is already filling with water” if the same cardinal is unwilling even to suggest that the captain of the ship might have something to do with her peril. The post-conciliar crisis in the Church began and will end with the papacy. Only when that truth is recognized by the members of the hierarchy, including the Pope himself, can the Church move from diagnosis to cure.

The first step, of course, will be the Consecration of Russia by the Pope in union with the Catholic bishops. Failing that, however, the cure will inevitably be imposed from above, with the most dramatic consequences for the world as well as the Church.