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The Facts… About The Controversial New Book By Both Cardinal Sarah And Benedict XVI

January 23, 2020 Featured Today No Comments

 

By FR. JOHN T. ZUHLSDORF

(Editor’s Note: Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf posted the following on his January 15 blog at https://wdtprs.com/. It is reprinted here with permission. Please visit his blog for the links he mentions in his text.)

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Edward Pentin has posted at the National Catholic Register [blog dated January 14] a summary of the facts surrounding the controversial new book from Cardinal Sarah and Pope Benedict XVI.
As you know, as soon as the book was announced, the attacks began to pour in from the liberal left. Insinuations were made that Benedict was being used, that Sarah lied, that Benedict is too weak to write anything, that they were attacking Francis, etc., etc.
As it turns out none of those things were true. Of course. Nevertheless, damage was done. That’s how the left, especially the more papolatrous of “Team Francis,” rolls. Unhindered by the speed bumps called facts they careened forward in a mad race to smash this book — and the authors — before it could get traction due to its substance. They astutely engineered a process story to undercut what they suspected would be the actual substance of the text between the book’s covers.
Do read Pentin’s piece and ponder the ramifications. It’s pretty clear that the claims made by the attackers were false.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, order a few copies. First, huge sales are a great way to irritate the loony left. Second, irritate them even more by making sure I get credit for the sales. Third — and this is the overarching reason — there is gold for priests in the pages.
I’ve now read it.
As you read it, you can sense that it truly is…From The Depths Of Our Hearts. [Fr. Zuhlsdorf provides links for ordering the book on his blog.]
Here is a taste, taken from the section by Cardinal Sarah.
Context: Cardinal Sarah includes in his own offering some personal anecdotes, what it was like to be a young priest in Africa, visiting villages where priests hadn’t been able to visit for year, how the people received him.
He relates the conversion of his father and grandmother and what the impact on the people was from the presence of the celibate priest. He remarks about the entirely different impact the priest would have made had he been married and then laments even the desire to take away the profound experience of the people in meeting “another Christ” who is entirely handed over. It is poignant text. Then, in my fast translation from the French. . . .
“The priesthood is a gift that one receives as the Incarnation of the Word is received. It is neither a right nor an obligation. A community that would be formed in the ideal of a ‘right to the Eucharist’ would no longer be a disciple of Christ. As its name indicates, the Eucharist is an act of thanksgiving [Fr. action de grâce], a gratuitous gift, a merciful present. One receives the Eucharistic presence with wonder and joy as an unmerited gift. The believer who claims it as due to him demonstrates that he is not capable of understanding it.
“I am convinced that the Christian communities of the Amazon do not themselves go along with the reasoning of demanding the Eucharist. Instead, I believe that these topics are the obsessions whose source is found in the milieus of university theology departments. We are dealing with ideologies developed by a few theologians who, like the sorcerer’s apprentice, wish to utilize the distress of poor peoples as an experimental laboratory for their clever plans. I cannot allow myself to let them act freely in silence.
“I want to take up defense of the poor, the lowly, of these people who are ‘without a voice.’ Let us not deprive them of the fullness of the priesthood. Let us not deprive them of the true meaning of the Eucharist. We cannot ‘trifle with [Fr. trafiquer] the Catholic doctrine of the priesthood and celibacy the light of perceived or supposed needs of certain extreme pastoral situations,’ as Marc Cardinal Ouellet recently remarked.”
I don’t have an English copy of what Cardinal Ouellet said, so I did my best with that difficult word “trafiquer.”
However, I think you can see that Cardinal Sarah is not holding back.

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