In these days of grave, and even unprecedented, confusion within the Church, the faithful nevertheless have no excuse to resort to despondency: not when we have such great leaders like Cardinal Sarah speaking the truth. Follow him and men like him; not unhinged bloggers and podcasters who can do nothing but foment discord and hatred and even incline their readers and listeners towards attitudes that verge on schism.
In Cardinal Sarah -- and, especially, in this particular work of his -- we see a man at once on fire with both truth and love; always obedient to and respectful of his spiritual father (and our spiritual father), Pope Francis, always submitting to Pope Francis' actual Magisterium, and always eager to quote Pope Francis' teachings; but at the same time unafraid of calling out all the errors of modern society in a way we do not usually see as clearly in Pope Francis' own words, unafraid of clearing up any ambiguity that might have previously existed, and unafraid of openly disagreeing with non-Magisterial personal opinions of the Pope. Like all holy Churchmen, Cardinal Sarah's words are thoroughly orthodox and edifying, but do not cater to this or that subculture within Catholicism; both "right wing" and "left wing" Catholics will have their feathers regularly rustled by his words. His critiques of the modern era (both in the Church and the world) are spot on and are not mere tired reiterations of the same things we have been hearing for decades, but are rather imbued with new, deep insights. Some of my favorites, from this book:
"We study theology while making God a mere rational hypothesis... priests and consecrated religious live in a way that is sheer worldliness.""The true Magisterium, as a supernatural function of the Mystical Body of Christ, ensured and led invisibly by the Holy Spirit, cannot be in crisis...today, however, a veritable cacophony reigns in the teachings of pastors bishops, and priests."[Praising Vatican II but lamenting the confusion that followed it, Cardinal Sarah points out:] "If the popes and the Council Fathers thought that they could confidently be open to everything positive in the modern world, it is precisely because they were certain about their identity and about their faith.""The men of the Church must be true prophets... today false prophets try to charm the people of God and put them to sleep by diluting the Gospel in ambiguous, confused language that threatens to make our faith insipid, so as to get the world's benevolent attention.""The West sometimes resembles an embittered old man. It lacks the candor of a child. Spiritually, the continents that came to know the Good News more recently are still astonished and enchanted by the beauties of God, the marvels of his action in us. The West is perhaps too accustomed to it. It no longer shivers with joy before the manger scene;it no longer weeps with gratitude before the Cross; it no longer trembles in amazement before the Blessed Sacrament... men need to be astonished in order to adore... Wisdom begins with wonder, Socrates said. The inability to wonder is the sign of a civilization that is dying.""How many western Churches serve as concert halls? People talk there as they would in an ordinary place, a common meeting room. [but] the true model is Moses before the burning bush! Let no one say that the interior attitude is the essential thing. It is neither real nor lasting unless it is manifested by external, concrete gestures.""The hearts of many Christians are divided between love of the one true God and veneration of this idol, money. In this sense they become true polytheists... I see people whose standard of living is secure and enviable worrying about the state of their bank accounts. I see some Christians becoming set in their ownership without taking care to detach themselves from their property...One can end up dying of spiritual hunger while thinking that one is full because of the abundance of material goods. The solution has to be radical."
How much more I would like to quote from this profound work, but I would soon simply be typing out the whole thing in this review! So I close with some words of wisdom from the Cardinal pertaining to "What should we do?":
"We must burn with love for our faith. We must not tarnish it or dilute it in worldly compromises. We must not falsify or corrupt it. It is a matter of the salvation of souls... let us stop putting the light of the faith under a bushel basket... let us dare to proclaim, to witness, to catechize! We can no longer call ourselves believers and live in practice like atheists...""Charity is not an emotion. Charity is a participation in the love with which God loves us... it is urgent and vital to ask ourselves how much time we spend before the Eucharistic Jesus present in the tabernacle. A parish in which there is no adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a dead parish or a sick one...""...sometimes we try to create with the Lord God a familiarity that is misplaced and artificial... some Christians, with a certain snobbishness, flaunt their casualness with the sacred...""With all my heart as a Pastor, I want to invite Christians today to act. We do not have to create parties within the Church...instead, each of us can make this resolution: the falsehood of atheism will no longer pass through me."
-- Professor Daniel O'Connor. Author of The Crown of History ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1686407343)