Cardinal Sarah breaks his silence and points a finger at those trying to “fragment and demolish the sacred ‘Missale Romanum’”.
“The serious crisis of faith, not only at the level of the Christian faithful but also and especially among many priests and bishops, has made us incapable of understanding the Eucharistic liturgy as a sacrifice.” This severe observation has been made not just by Archbishop Lefebvre, nor by one of his successors in the episcopate, but by Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, in other words, one of the highest liturgical authorities in the Catholic hierarchy.
The Guinean prelate used the 18th Liturgical Meeting in Cologne that was held in the beginning of April to deliver a strong message on the theme: “Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum: The Source of the Future”. Repeating an idea that Archbishop Lefebvre developed many times, Cardinal Sarah declared that there is indeed a “crisis of the Church” and that this “crisis is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy”.
A little further on, the high-ranking prelate quoted word for word a passage from L’hérésie du XXème siècle (The Heresy of the 20th Century), by Jean Madiran – an old companion in arms of the Society up until the consecrations in 1988 – in which he insisted upon the causes of the “liturgical war” begun in the 1960’s.
His position differs from that held by the Society of St. Pius X when analyzing the causes of this liturgical devastation: Cardinal Sarah, although he lucidly recognizes “the critical manifestations and liturgy wars that Vatican Council II led to”, seems to see them as more of a generalized post-conciliar deviation than as an ambiguity in the texts of the Council itself.
Nonetheless, the Guinean prelate’s judgment is unrelenting: “Many refuse to face up to the Church’s work of self-destruction through the deliberate demolition of her doctrinal, liturgical, moral and pastoral foundations”. Further on, he even goes so far as to praise the missal of St. Pius V, “which produced so many saints”, to quote his exact words.
Cardinal Sarah’s stance is anything but insignificant: several months ago, the Congregation for Divine Worship was deeply rearranged, and its most traditional members had to yield their places to men very involved in promoting the post-conciliar spirit denounced by Cardinal Sarah: thus, to quote only the best known example, Archbishop Piero Marini, a follower of Archbishop Bugnini – the architect of the New Mass – took Cardinal Raymond Burke’s place.
These statements written by Cardinal Sarah are his first stance since he was isolated within the congregation of which he is the prefect. The question now is whether for the cardinal it is a clear signal whose goal is to take the fight to a higher level, or whether it is his swansong. The future will tell.
Sources: L’homme nouveau/FSSPX.Actualités – 4/20/17