Shortly after the catastrophic fire which nearly destroyed the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris, Robert Cardinal Sarah delivered an address at Église Saint François-Xavier in Paris, on May 25, 2019. Consider what Cdl. Sarah has to say in the following excerpt.
It is a sad fact: today the Church seems to be engulfed in flames on all sides. We see her ravaged by a conflagration much more destructive than the one that razed the cathedral of Notre-Dame. What is this fire? We must have the courage to name it, because “to name things wrongly is to add to the misfortune of the world.”
This blaze, this conflagration raging in particular through the Church in Europe, is a case of intellectual, doctrinal, and moral confusion. It is our cowardly refusal to proclaim the truth about God and man and to defend and transmit the moral and ethical values of the Christian tradition. It is our loss of faith and the spirit of faith, a losing sight of the objectivity of faith and thus a loss of the knowledge of God.
… some people look at the Catholic Church and say: this Church has served its purpose, let us change it, let us make a new Church after our own image. They think: the Church is no longer credible, we no longer hear her voice in the media. She is too marred by the scandals of pedophilia and homosexuality amidst the clergy. Too many of her clergy are wicked. It is necessary to change her, reinvent her.
Priestly celibacy is too difficult for our times: Make it optional! The Gospel’s moral teaching is too demanding: Make it easier! Dilute it with relativism and laxity. In the future, worry more about social questions.
Catholic doctrine doesn’t suit the media? Change it! Adapt it to the mentalities and moral perversities of our time. Let us adopt the new globalist ethic promoted by the UN and gender ideology!
Let us make the Church a human and horizontal society, let her speak a media-friendly language, make her popular! My friends, such a Church interests no one. My dear friends, the world has no use for a Church that offers nothing more than a reflection of its own image!
The Church is only of interest because she allows us to encounter Jesus. She is only legitimate because she passes on Revelation to us. When the Church becomes overburdened with human structures, it obstructs the light of God shining out in her and through her. The Church should be like a cathedral. Everything in Her should sing to the glory of God. She must unceasingly direct our gaze toward him, like the spire of Notre-Dame pointed toward heaven.
My dear friends, we must rebuild the cathedral. We must rebuild it exactly as it was before. We do not need to invent a new Church. We have to let ourselves be converted so that the Church can shine once more, so that the Church can be once more a cathedral that sings God’s glory and leads men to him.
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