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CHARTRES, France, May 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A leading Catholic churchman warned pilgrims at an iconic French cathedral that a Western society without God is like a “drunken boat in the night.”

Robert Cardinal Sarah, 72, made his remarks during a homily he gave on Monday at the Mass celebrating the conclusion of the annual Pentecost pilgrimage from the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris to the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres. The African prelate invited the congregation to ponder the state of the Western world: 

“Let’s look around us! Western society has chosen to establish itself without God. Witness how it is now delivered to the flashy and deceptive lights of a consumer society: to profit at all costs, and frenzied individualism,” he said. 

“A world without God is a world of darkness, of lies and of selfishness,” the Cardinal continued. 

“Without the light of God, Western society has become like a drunken boat in the night! She does not have enough love to take in children, to protect them beginning from their mother’s womb, to protect them from the aggression of pornography.”

The Cardinal said that Western society no longer knows how to respect the elderly, care properly for the sick and to welcome the poorest and weakest human beings. 

“Society is abandoned to the darkness of fear, sadness and isolation. She has nothing to offer but emptiness and nothingness. It allows the proliferation of the maddest ideologies,” he warned.

Sarah observed that without God the West could become the “the cradle of an ethical and moral terrorism more virulent and more destructive than Islamist terrorism.”

The Cardinal also spoke out against plans to open the priesthood to married men. The Guinean prelate believes that an attempt to unmoor the priesthood from celibacy will rob it of its closeness to Christ. 

Addressing the priests in a massive crowd that spilled out into the cathedral’s forecourt, the Guinean prelate begged them to remember the meaning of their celibacy: 

“Dear fellow priests, always keep this certainty: to be with Christ on the Cross is what priestly celibacy proclaims to the world,” he said.

“The plan, again advanced by some, to detach celibacy from the priesthood by conferring the sacrament of the Order on married men (“viri probati”) for, they say, ‘pastoral reasons or necessities,’ would have serious consequences, in fact, to definitively break with the Apostolic Tradition,” he added.

Sarah intimated that ordaining married men would not “perpetuate” the priesthood of Christ.

“We would manufacture a priesthood according to our human dimension, but without perpetuating, without extending the priesthood of Christ, obedient, poor and chaste,” he said.

“Indeed, the priest is not only an “alter Christus”, but he is truly “ipse Christus”, he is Christ himself,” the Cardinal stated. “And that is why, following Christ and the Church, the priest will always be a sign of contradiction!” 

Although the Catholic Church has allowed married Anglican ministers who have become Catholic to be ordained as priests, this has been a pastoral concession not intended to set a precedent for the western Church. Even in the Eastern Church, celibacy is considered a superior state for a priest, freeing him to serve his flock with a whole heart: married priests in the eastern Church are not, for example, chosen as bishops. 

In the dearth of vocations following the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis has stated that the church has to consider ordaining married men to the priesthood.

“We have to think about if the viri probati are a possibility,” Pope Francis told German newspaper Die Zeit. “Then we also have to discern which tasks they can take on, for example, in forlorn communities.”

“There is much talk about voluntary celibacy, especially there where the clergy is lacking,” the pope said. “But a voluntary celibacy is not a solution.”

It is believed that Francis may give the Brazilian bishops in particular permission to ordain married men.

In his Chartres homily yesterday, Cardinal Sarah entreated the crowds to distinguish between the world they must love — the world of people, especially the poor, to be served — and the world which they must not love–the world “as it became under the rule of Satan and sin.”

He warned in particular against “the world of ideologies that deny human nature and destroy the family.”


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