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Cardinal Sarah: ‘separating magisterial teaching from pastoral practice is… heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology’

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July 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — As I have been reading more pages of God or Nothing, it has been compelling to share with LifeSite readers even more highlights from the later pages of this powerful and timely book. 

As the book goes on, I have been struck by how Cardinal Sarah does two things in particular:

1) Presents more and extensive quotes from laudible parts of the writings of Pope Francis and affirms their importance.
2) Strongly challenges with greater bluntness the mistaken, dangerous or heretical ideas that are being promoted in the Church during the Francis papacy.

As before, the page number for each quote is noted at the beginning. Quotes without page numbers follow on the previously noted page. Especially significant excerpts are bolded.

1) The misunderstanding of divine mercy

p.173 Many of the faithful rejoice to hear talk about divine mercy, and they hope that the radical demands of the gospel can be relaxed even for the benefit of those who by their lives have chosen to break away from the crucified love of Jesus.

- They think that because of the Lord’s infinite goodness everything is possible, while at the same time deciding to change nothing in their lives. Many expect, as something normal, that God should pour out his mercy on them while they remain in sin… 

p.174 What good is it to know that the Pope's Twitter account is followed by thousands if people do not change their lives concretely?

p.203 ...before flooding us with it's benevolence, mercy demands truth, justice, and repentance. In God, mercy will become  "forgiveness".

p. 280 We go so far as to exploit the mercy of God, stifling justice and truth, so as to "welcome" homosexual persons - as the Relatio post disceptationem from the last Synod on the family in October 2014 puts it - who "have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community". Moreover, this document goes on to say that "the question of homosexuality requires serious reflection on how to devise realistic approaches to affective growth, human development, and maturation in the gospel, while integrating the sexual aspect". In fact, the real scandal is not the existence of sinners, for mercy and forgiveness always exist precisely for them, but rather 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 anaesthetize it, we will be going the wrong way. For that is the real failure of mercy.

2) Heresy of conflict between “magisterial teaching and pastoral practice”

p.276  Question: last December [2014] Reinhard Cardinal Marx, president of the German Bishops' conference said: "throughout the world,  the search for a theologically responsible and pastorally appropriate way of assisting Catholics who are divorced or divorced and civilly remarried is one of the urgent challenges for pastoral ministry to families and married couples in the context of evangelization." What is your viewpoint on this subject, which figured among the questions at the last synod in October 2014?

Sarah: ...this very general statement seems to me to be the expression of mere ideology that they want to impose hastily on the whole Church. In my experience, specifically after 23 years as Archbishop of Conakry, and nine years as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of People's, 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" solutions that radically contradict the teaching of Jesus and of the Church's Magisterium.

p.277 ...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, fashion, 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.

- How could a synod go back on the constant teaching that was unified and explained in greater depth by Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II, and Benedict the XVI? I place my trust in the fidelity of Francis.

p.281  Aline Lizotte, a renowned theologian and director of the Karol Wojtyla Institute, correctly argues..."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!"

- Today there is a confrontation and a rebellion against God, a battle organized against Christ and his church. How is it comprehensible that Catholic pastors should put doctrine to a vote; the love 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.

3) The reign of practical atheism in the West

p.167 Today the West lives as if God does not exist.

- The west decided to distance itself from the Christian faith under the influence of the Enlightenment philosophers and the resulting political currents. Although Christian communities exist that are still vital and missionary, most Western populations now regard Jesus as a sort of idea but not an event, much less as a person whom the apostles and many witnesses of the gospel met and loved and to whom they consecrated their whole life.

- This estrangement from God is not caused by reasoning but by a wish to be detached from him.

- Man no longer wishes to reflect on his relationship to God because he himself intends to become God.

p.171 But the death of God results in the burial of good, love, and truth.

- All atheism seeks to change the very nature of man.

p.190 Soviet Communism showed how possible it was to lead mankind into misery by promising absolute equality.... Equality is not God's creation.

- Egalitarianism is an ideology that thrives when religion is forgotten. All ideologies end up disappearing, like communism. Thus the fall of ideologies is inevitable inasmuch as they are nothing but mere products of man without God. But at what cost!

4) Miscellaneous

p.192 There is a great sadness in claiming to want to indulge in limitless pleasures, whereas the most beautiful joy is to remain simply with God, allowing him to clothe us in light and purity.

p.193 Today we are confronted with one of the last stages of the civilization of diversion. The alternative is simple: if mankind reforms itself, it will live, but if it’s headlong flight persists, civilization will become a Hell.

p.201 Faith is the foundation of hope, a new dimension of man that leads him toward divinity....Since our faith and our hope rest in God, we have nothing to fear.

See the other 3 parts of this 3-part series of excerpts from God or Nothing:

1) Cardinal Sarah: ambiguities on doctrine - can lead to dangerous opinions.

2) Cardinal Sarah: “Those who want to eradicate poverty make Christ a liar – they are mistaken and lying”

4) Cardinal Sarah decries “attempt to make homosexuality the cornerstone of a new global ethic”

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Steve Jalsevac

Steve is the co-founder and managing director of LifeSiteNews.com.