Maike Hickson

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Cdl. Sarah compares current crisis in Church to Jesus’ betrayal on Good Friday

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March 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has said in a new interview that the current situation in the Church may be compared to Good Friday when Jesus Christ was betrayed.

In a March 27 interview with the French website Valeurs Actuelles, Cardinal Sarah spoke about his new book Le soir approche et déjà le soir baisse [The Day Is Now Far Spent] (a quotation from the episode of the Emmaus pilgrims in Gospel of St. Luke) and why he wrote it.

“This book is most of all a call to lucidity and to wisdom,” he stated, adding that “the Church goes through a great crisis.” He wished to write this book for the faithful who are discouraged by the daily scandals that are coming to light. Sarah said he hopes that his readers will receive “the joy which Christ gives.”

“It is the Resurrection of the Son of God,” he said, “which gives hope in the midst of darkness.”

Further explaining the title of the book which refers to the episode of the Emmaus pilgrims in Gospel of St. Luke, Cardinal Sarah stated: “I believe firmly that the situation that we go now through in the Church resembles in all points that of Good Friday, when the Apostles have abandoned Christ whom Judas betrayed, because the traitor had wished for a Christ according to his ideas, a Christ preoccupied with political questions.” Here, Cardinal Sarah points to “a number of priests and of bishops” who today “are literally bewitched by political and social questions.”

These questions, however, “will never receive answers outside of Christ's teachings,” the prelate added. That is to say, Christ “renders us more solidary, more fraternal.” “As long as we do not have Christ as our big brother,” Sarah said, “there is no solid charity.”

“Christ is the only light of the world,” Cardinal Sarah insisted. “How could the Church turn away from this light,” he further asked, and how could she “lose herself in purely materialistic questions?”

While there is a place for considering such questions as the problem of refugees, the prelate said that one first and foremost has to start with Jesus Christ Himself. For example, refugees often have to leave their countries due to “forces who have lost God, for whom it is all about money and power.”

The Cardinal said that the Catholic Church must gain back “the sense of her great divine mission” to draw people to Christ, thereby learning to pray and “to forgive like Christ.”

“Christ is hope,” he added. There is only Christ who can help us in the current Church crisis and “it needs an institution to lead to that Person: that is the Church.”

Reminding his readers of the example of the Old Testament, Cardinal Sarah explained that “there always have been betrayals in the Church."

"Today, I do not fear to state that priests, bishops, and even cardinals are afraid to proclaim what God teaches and to transmit the doctrine of the Church.” These clergymen, he added, “are afraid to be disapproved of, to be seen as reactionaries.” That is why they say “vague and imprecise things” in order to “avoid any criticism, and they embrace the stupid development of the world.” This adaptation is, according to the Cardinal, “a betrayal.” He also described such a negligent shepherd who does not protect their fold as “a criminal shepherd who abandons his sheep.” Moreover, if he does not teach the Faith, “he betrays his mission.”

Because of this negligence of the shepherds, said Sarah, the “sheep are dispersed.” “That is what is taking place today. One does not know any more to whom to turn.”

At the same time, Cardinal Sarah acknowledged that “there exists a strong majority of priests who remain loyal to their mission to teach, to govern, and to sanctify.” “But there is also a small number who give in to the morbid and villainous temptation to align the Church with the current values of Western societies.”

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Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.