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Cardinal Sarah at Youth Synod: We must courageously propose moral doctrine, not ‘water it down’

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

VATICAN CITY, October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Robert Sarah strongly defended the clarity of Church doctrine on sexuality and the family in his intervention at the Youth Synod on Tuesday.

Cindy Wooden of the Catholic News Service (CNS) reported that  Sarah addressed the Synod assembly Oct. 16 to say that the Church should "courageously propose the Christian ideal corresponding to Catholic moral doctrine and not water it down, hiding the truth to attract young people to the bosom of the church.” 

This was not an unusual move for the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, who in recent years has become famous for his vociferous defence of Catholic teaching on marriage and the family.

Church leaders from around the world are meeting in Rome to discuss “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” But with the inclusion of the term “LGBTQ” in the working document, pro-family leaders raised the alarm that the synod was being manipulated from within to promote positions contrary to authentic Catholic teaching. Small groups within the Youth Synod have already called for the Church to recognize “other forms of family” and to pay more attention to homosexuals and the “realities” they face, specifically mentioning “marriage,” surrogate pregnancy, and adoption. 

Sarah acknowledged that some young people had asked the Church for clarity when she presents her doctrine on "some questions that are particularly close to their hearts: freedom across the board and not only in sexual relations, nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation, equality between men and women, including in the church, etc."

But the Guinean Cardinal also pointed out that some young people want the Church to reject her own teaching, demanding “not only a discussion that is open and without prejudice, but also a radical change, a real and true U-turn by the church in its teaching in these areas." 

Sarah told the Synod that nobody could say the Church’s teachings were not clear. Nevertheless, he pointed out that there may be "a lack of clarity on the part of some pastors in explaining the doctrine." He added that this possibility demands "a profound examination of conscience."

CNS related that Sarah cited the Gospel story of the “rich young ruler” who asked Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life. Jesus’s answer was very demanding: the young man must sell all he has, give the money to the poor, and follow Him.  

"Jesus did not lower the requirements of his call and neither should the Church,” the CNS reported the Cardinal as saying.

Sarah observed that young people have ideals and goals, including in the fields of  "justice, transparency in the fight against corruption [and] in respect for human dignity."

"Undervaluing the healthy idealism of the young" is a serious mistake and shows lack of respect, the Cardinal said. It also "closes the door to a real process of growth, maturation and holiness."

"By respecting and promoting the idealism of young people, they can become the most precious resource for a society that wants to grow and improve," he added. 

Sarah’s defense of Catholic orthodoxy and orthopraxy — correct conduct during liturgy and other matters — has made headlines in recent years. At the Family Synod in 2015 , Sarah gave a powerful speech denouncing Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism. Unabashedly using apocalyptic language, the cardinal identified the greatest modern enemies of the family as the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

More recently, the Cardinal has warned that allowing national churches to pick and choose among Magisterial teachings on morality will lead to schism. 

The author of two bestselling books, God or Nothing and The Power of Silence, Cardinal Sarah has not been afraid to oppose heterodox tendencies in the current papacy. After being elected to the 2018 Synod’s Information Commission, Sarah turned down the post, citing “personal reasons.” 

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