African Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, wrote in his most recent book that if the upcoming Amazon synod allowed priestly ordination of married men and fabricated “ministries for women and other such incongruities,” the situation would be “extremely serious” on account of the synod fathers breaking with Catholic teaching and tradition.
“If by a lack of faith in God and by an effect of pastoral short-sightedness the Synod for the Amazon were to decide on the ordination of viri probati, the fabrication of ministries for women and other such incongruities, the situation would be extremely serious,” he wrote.
“Would its decisions be ratified on the pretext that they are the emanation of the will of the synod fathers? The Spirit blows where it wants, of course, but it does not contradict itself and does not create confusion and disorder. It is the spirit of wisdom. On the question of celibacy, it has already spoken through the Roman councils and pontiffs,” he continued.
“If the Synod for the Amazon took decisions in such a direction, it would definitively break with the tradition of the Latin Church,” he added
Cardinal Sarah made the comments in his book Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse, (“It is almost evening and the day is now nearly over”) which was published in March. The book will be published in English on September 22. LifeSiteNews has translated relevant quotes from the book.
As the Amazon synod approaches (Oct. 6-27), an increasing number of Catholic cardinals and bishops are expressing their concern over how the synod is being used to push for priestly ordination of married men in Amazonia along with the beginnings of female ordination, if not by creating women priests, at least by inventing a form of female diaconate.
Cardinal Sarah addressed both issues head-on in his book, specifically expressing his opposition to a practical evolution of priestly celibacy and of the role of women within the Church in the context of the upcoming Amazon synod.
The Cardinal criticized the Amazon Synod working document for presenting “anything but a solution” to problems in the Amazon region, stating that giving these people less than what the Church normally ordains is no answer to the specific difficulties they face.
Earlier in the book, Cardinal Sarah had spoken at length of the value of celibacy and complete chastity for those who, being “configured to Christ,” should follow His example in giving themselves, body and soul to the Church, in the same way that Jesus-Christ is truly the Spouse of the Church. Quoting the ancient practice of the Catholic Church of requiring complete continence from married men who became priests, even if they did continue to live under the same roof as their wife, the Cardinal made a clear link in these earlier passages between the celebration of the Eucharist and the constant practice of the Church that has since been upheld by its Latin part, even suggesting that the Catholic Church of oriental rite would do good to “evolve” to a return to that situation.
In his comments on the situation in the Amazon, Cardinal Sarah remarked: “I have heard it said that throughout its 500 years of existence, the Latin American church has always considered indigenous people as incapable of living in celibacy. The result of this prejudice is visible. There are very few indigenous bishops and priests, even though things are beginning to change.”
Whether this is true, and if it is true, whether this judgment on the part of the Church was a valid one is not under discussion here. What is certain is that a closer look at the “Indian theology” the Preparatory document of the Amazon Synod was already promoting in 2018, the concept of celibate celebrants of the liturgy is rejected on the grounds of indigenous traditions.
Cardinal Sarah’s remarks about the upcoming Synod were published in March, several months before the “Instrumentum Laboris” was made public last June.
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