The great bishops of history, Ambrose and Augustine, did not spend their time in meetings, commissions, and constant travel, he said. "The bishop must be with his people, teach his people, love his people."
"True reform is about our own conversion. If we do not change ourselves, all structural reforms will be useless. Lay people, priests, cardinals, we must all return to God," Sarah said.
He highlighted the lives of St. Francis and Mother Teresa, now St. Teresa of Calcutta, as exemplars of reform, who "transformed the Church by living the Gospel radically."
Sarah said that the primary responsibility for the collapse of faith in the West "must be assumed by the priests." He pointed to decades when, he said, confessionals were empty, liturgy desacralized, and doctrine was not taught in Catholic universities and seminaries.
"Clearly, there is a strong majority of priests who remain faithful to their mission of teaching, sanctification and government. But there is also a small number that yields to the morbid and villainous temptation to align the Church with the values of today's Western societies," Sarah said.
"They want above all to say that the Church is open, welcoming, attentive, modern. But the Church is not made to listen, she is made to teach: she is Mater and magistra, mother and educator," he added.
Cardinal Sarah defended celibacy in the priesthood, calling it one of the "greatest riches of the Church."
"The abandonment of celibacy would further aggravate the crisis of the Church and lessen the position of the priest, who is called to be not only another Christ, but Christ himself, poor, humble and single," he said.
The cardinal also emphasized the importance of a united community in facing the challenges of the secularized world, which often opposes "the road of Christ."
"In Hemingway's novel 'The Old Man and the Sea,' we see the hero attempting to tow a large fish he has fished to the port. But he can not hoist him alone out of the water; by the time it arrives at the port, the sharks have devoured the fish," he explained.
"Today, if you are alone, there are many sharks that will devour your faith, your Christian values, your hope. Jesus created a community of twelve apostles and when it was necessary to send them on mission, he sent them two by two," he continued.
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"From now on, to defend our belief, to be solid, we must support each other in faith, walk as a united community around Christ," he said.