Cardinal Sarah’s stellar talk on urgent needs for our sacred liturgical worship

Robert Card. Sarah is quite simply terrific and profound. He opened a conference on Sacred Liturgy in Milan with clear, simple, deep, and urgent remarks about what is needed in our liturgical worship today.

Read Card. Sarah’s great book The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.  US HERE – UK HERE

Benedict XVI wrote a new preface for the next edition of the same book. [HERE] The violence with which the liberals attacked Benedict and his preface, and Card. Sarah, demonstrates who their true master is.  Sarah mentions this in his talk.  One hate-filled reaction, by the execrable Andrea Grillo, is HERE.

Here is my fast rendering of what interested me the most in Sarah’s talk in Milan, as recounted by the Italian language site La Nuova Bussola.


“I pray devoutly”, Sarah said at the beginning of his talk, “for those who have the time and the patience to read this volume closely [The Force of Silence]: that God will help them to forget the vulgarity and the baseness used by some people when they referred to the “preface” and to its author, Pope Benedict XVI. The arrogance, the violence of their language, the lack of respect and the inhuman scorn for Benedict XVI are diabolical and cover the church with a mantle of sadness and of shame. These people tear down the church and her profound character. The Christian does not combat against anyone. The Christian does not have enemies to crush.”

Then the Cardinal’s talk went on, seeking to focus on the theme expressed many times by Joseph Ratzinger on the fact that the Church rises and falls in liturgy. To grasp this, he called attention to three questions: Who is Jesus Christ? How to know Jesus Christ? Who is a Christian?

Do not separate the Christ of history from the Christ of faith.

In the liturgy, “we are not celebrating the ‘Jesus of history’, nor even ‘the Christ of faith’. We recognize humbly Christ risen as God, our Lord. He mustn’t be demythologized and distanced from everything that concerns our faith: the academic value of this separation notwithstanding, that cannot be considered a legitimate undertaking in the Church’s worship. When we celebrate the sacred liturgy, we participate in the adoration of Christ made a man for our salvation, fully human and fully divine.” Therefore, Sarah emphasized, “the liturgy cannot become simply a celebration of brotherhood, but must become worship of God”.


In reference to the so-called “reform of the reform“, the Cardinal said that we must consider this question with urgency. In some places there is a separation between the”old” and the “new” (rites), this opposition cannot continue. The liturgy cannot be modified according to every ecclesiological development. The Church does not have two separate identities before and after the Council.”

To be turned toward Christ

Then the Cardinal recalled some words of St. Ambrose, addressed to the baptized: “remember the questions that were put to you, think back on the responses: you turned your self toward the east, because he who renounces Satan looks at Christ face to face” (De Mysteriis). “Through the use of a common physical posture of profound significance next to one’s brethren, the neophyte takes his place as a Christian in the Church’s worship. I have spoken many times about the importance of recovering this orientation, to be turned toward the East during the celebration of today’s liturgy, and I continue to sustain that which I have said. I would simply note that in these words of St. Ambrose, we can appreciate the true power, the beauty, and also the significance when we look East. Thus are we united in the Church, which turns itself toward the Lord to adore Him, in order to look at Christ ‘face to face’”.

Ultimately,” the Christian is a person who takes his rightful place in the liturgical assembly of the Church, who takes from this font the grace and instruction necessary for Christian life. These people begin to penetrate and, therefore, to live ever more the deep mysteries communicated by Sacred Liturgy. For this reason, participation in Sacred Liturgy remains essential for the Christian”.

Communion on the tongue, kneeling

“Today I would expressly recommend the reflection on and promotion of the beauty, propriety, and the pastoral value of a practice developed during the long life and tradition of the Church, that is the act of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling. If St. Paul teaches us that, “at the name of Jesus every knee must bend in the heavens, on earth, and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10), how much more must we bend our knees when we receive the Lord in the sublime and intimate act of Holy Communion!

To reflect on this most delicate theme the Cardinal proposed to those present. The example of two Saints: John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. “The entire life of Karol Wojtyla was marked by a deep respect for the Holy Eucharist. (…) Today, I ask you simply to call to mind the last years of his ministry, a man marked in the body by illness, but John Paul II never sat in the presence of the Eucharist. He always forced himself to kneel. He needed the help of others to bend the knee and then rise up. Until his last days. He wanted to give us a great witness of reverence for the Most Holy Sacrament.”

Mother Theresa “surely touched daily the body of Christ present in the ruined bodies of the most poor.” However, with wonder and respectful veneration, she decided not to touch the Body of the transubstantiated Christ. Instead, she adored. She contemplated it silently. She knelt and she prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. And she received it like a little child humbly being fed by her God. Seeing Christians who receive holy Communion in their hands filled her with sadness and pain. She herself said: “when I enter into the world, the thing that saddens me the most is to see people receive communion in their hands.’”.

Sarah said he’s aware of the fact that the “present legislation contains the indult to receive the Eucharist standing and in the hand but that of receiving It kneeling and on the tongue is the norm for Catholics of the Latin Rite”.

That wound up being most of what was reported!

What a blessing Card. Sarah is for the whole Church.

We must TURN TOWARDS THE LORD again in our sacred liturgical worship, especially during Holy Mass.

We must bend our knees and receive Communion humbly, directly on the tongue from the anointed hands of our priests.

We must find more time for silence.

Read on over at Fr Z’s for some more book recommendations

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One Response to Cardinal Sarah’s stellar talk on urgent needs for our sacred liturgical worship

  1. marysong says:

    He is wonderful!

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