He recalled Benedict XVI’s assertion that the crisis of the Church is “essentially a crisis of the liturgy because it is a crisis of the relationship with God.”
“If God is not at the center of the Church’s life, then she is in danger of death,” the cardinal said.
Sarah also emphasized that the liturgy is about God, not the community or the individual. This reality, he said, is expressed well when the liturgy is said ad orientem, meaning with the priest facing the altar rather than the people.
The cardinal also explained why he thinks silence is important in the liturgy.
“When man remains silent, he leaves a place for God,” he said. “On the contrary, when the liturgy becomes chatty, it forgets that the cross is its center, it organizes itself around the microphone.
He said these questions are crucial, “because they determine the place we give to God,” and lamented that they had become “ideological.”
Factional struggles within the Church are a source of suffering for him, he said. “Too often we act as if everything is a question of politics, power, influence and the unjustified imposition of a hermeneutic of Vatican II that totally breaks and is irreversibly at odds with Tradition.”
He declared it “false” that he is opposed to the Second Vatican Council because he speaks of a sense of the sacred in the liturgy.
“I don’t believe that the struggle between progressives and conservatives has any meaning in the Church. These categories are political and ideological,” he stated, adding that “the Church is not a field of political struggle.”
“The only thing that counts is to seek God ever more deeply, to meet him there and humbly kneel down to adore him.”
It is unfortunate, Cardinal Sarah went on, that there are “idealogues” who set the pre-Council Church against the post-Council Church.
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According to the cardinal, these people “are dividers; they are doing the work of the devil.”
“The Church is one, without rupture, without changing course, because her Founder ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,’” he said. “She goes towards God, she directs us towards him. From the profession of faith of St. Peter to Pope Francis through Vatican II, the Church turns us towards Christ.”
Now that he is retired from the Congregation for Divine Worship, Sarah said he intends to continue working and is happy to have more time to pray and read.
“I will continue to write, to speak, to travel. Here in Rome, I continue to receive priests and faithful from all over the world,” he said.
Sarah will also continue to serve as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, where he said he sees “with immense joy how the Church is bursting with holiness.”
“More than ever the Church needs bishops who speak clearly, free and faithful to Jesus Christ and to the doctrinal and moral teachings of his Gospel,” he said. “I intend to continue this mission and even amplify it.”