Cdl. Sarah Warns Against Heresy

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  September 24, 2015   

"Even members of the Church can be tempted to soften Christ's teaching on marriage and the family"

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PHILADELPHIA, September 24, 2015 ( - Vatican official, Cdl. Robert Sarah, was given pride of place this week at the World Meeting of Families as one of its keynote speakers.

Cardinal Sarah set the event on a Catholic foundation, salting his address with essential Catholic topics including the Trinity, original sin and the mercy of Christ.

Sarah reminded attendees, "God is a family. ... The relationship with God and our fellow human beings is called to reflect the very life of the Trinity."

The cardinal rooted personal sin in the fall of Adam and Eve, declaring, "The Book of Genesis is not just a story; it's our story." Original sin, he related, contributes to the continued breakdown in relationships, personal strife and moral problems such as addiction, abortion, religious persecution and terrorism. He admonished the crowd, "If we do not go to the source, which is sin, nothing changes."

He lamented the breakdown of the family as evidenced by same-sex unions, cohabitation, a lack of openness to life, abortion, divorce and unwillingness to care for weaker family members, like the sick and the elderly.

Sarah schooled lawmakers as well, continuing, "Laws are passed that fuel this breakdown, from those killing the innocent form of life in the womb, to new form of unions, to euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

Focusing on solutions, the cardinal stressed:

All those wounded by personal sin and the sin of others — the divorced, the separated, those who have cohabitated, who get closed in on themselves and those in same-sex unions — can and must find in the Church a place for regeneration without any finger pointed at them.

He elaborated, "Repentance is good news. It's the beginning of a journey of healing. ... The family becomes the place where solitude, selfishness, egoism, find healing."

The cardinal enjoined all to "[w]elcome the mercy of God. ... This mercy has a name: Jesus Christ. ... We pass from death to life, through the power of the Holy Spirit. ... This Spirit, the Holy Spirit of charity ... can overcome all that seems humanly impossible within the family."

Focusing on mercy, Sarah expounded, "And this is precisely why we need Christ. Each of us needs him. Every person on earth needs him. Everyone is capable of sin, but they also may receive the mercy of God."

In defense of traditional marriage, Sarah stated, "Efforts to 'soften' Christian teaching on the family are not a solution for those wounded by sin. Rather, everyone can find healing through repentance and the heroic witness of families who welcome God's mercy."

Speaking out against prelates who would soften such teaching, the cardinal declared, "Even members of the Church can be tempted to soften Christ's teaching on marriage and the family."

Cardinal Sarah is aware that some Church officials erroneously believe Holy Communion can be given to the divorced and remarried. As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Sarah is painfully aware that one's belief and practice cannot be separated.

Decrying this faulty separation of discipline from doctrine, Cardinal Sarah observed, "To varying degrees, the idea would consist in placing the Magisterium in a pretty box and separating it from pastoral practice, which could evolve according to such circumstances, fashions and emphases."

He characterized this separation as "a form of heresy" and "a dangerous, schizophrenic pathology."


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