Marco Tosatti: A Review With Excerpts of From The Depths of Our Hearts

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by Marco Tosatti  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 19, 2020   

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Dear friends and enemies, trolls, infiltrators, disturbers and those who sing the company line [for Bergoglio], this morning "from the depths of my cold" I found a gift in my mailbox: From the Depths of Our Hearts — a copy of the new book by Benedict XVI and Cdl. Sarah — yes, the book written by both of them. 

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Controversy has erupted over the joint authorship

of From the Depths of Our Hearts

A rapid reading of the introduction and conclusion (co-authored by the two) and a glance at the division of pages in the book fully exposes how many lies my American, English, French, Spanish, Argentine, Italian, etc., colleagues linked to the court of the reigning Pontiff have placed in motion in an effort to diminish the importance of this text, which was obviously conceived and written by both men. 

No, Benedict is not a poor, feeble-minded old man, as the lowest forms of life in the Vatican journalistic swamp have tried to make us believe. No, Cdl. Sarah has not swindled the good faith of anyone, fooling a senile old man. (I will never be able to forget the tweet with which Austen Ivereigh launched the hashtag #elderabuse. It is something that frames a person for life, like an x-ray of his soul).  

No, Cdl. Sarah has not swindled the good faith of anyone, fooling a senile old man.

Here below you will find a few paragraphs from the presentation, written by Nicolas Diatand of the Introduction and Conclusion of the book, written by both authors. In the book, the part by Joseph Ratzinger goes from page 21 to page 55. It is difficult to dismiss this as something negligible. The part by Sarah is longer. But it is evident that the text walks on two legs. 

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Cdl. Robert Sarah

May I say what struck me most about the book? It was the reference to St. Paul, in the conclusion signed by both authors:  

In these difficult times, the only fear that each one of us ought to have is hearing the Lord say one day "that hard word of reproof … : accursed are you because you kept silent." Are these words that can echo in the ears of each one of us? 

Once you actually see the book, the "patch" imposed by the regime — ordering the withdrawal of Benedict XVI's signature — assumes ridiculous proportions, and appears ever more like an impotent burst of Argentinian rage, an uncontrolled spewing of bile. And yet the book is there, a dramatic and eloquent witness.  


From the Preface by Nicolas Diat* 

For what reason did the Pope Emeritus desire to collaborate with Cardinal Sarah? The two are good friends and carry on a regular correspondence in order to share their points of view, their hopes, and their concerns. 

In October 2019, the Synod on the Amazon, an assembly of bishops, religious, and missionaries, dedicated to the future of this immense region, presented an opportunity for reflection within the Church, in which the future of the Catholic priesthood was discussed by many points of view. For their part, already at the end of last summer Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah had begun to exchange writings, thoughts, and proposals, and then met together in order to give as much clarity as possible to the pages that now follow in this book. 

The section written by Benedict XVI is very soberly titled: "The Catholic Priesthood." The Pope Emeritus immediately specifies his approach: "At the roots of the serious situation facing the priesthood today, there is a methodological defect in the acceptance of Scripture as the Word of God." The statement is severe, disturbing, and almost incredible. 

Benedict XVI did not want to address such a delicate issue all by himself. His collaboration with Cardinal Sarah seemed natural and important to him. The Pope Emeritus knows the deep spirituality of the Cardinal, his prayerful spirit, his wisdom. He trusts him. During Holy Week of 2017, Benedict XVI wrote in the Preface of [Cdl. Sarah's book] The Power of Silence: "Cardinal Sarah is a master of the spiritual life who speaks beginning from his profound remaining in silence together with the Lord, and thus he truly has something to say to each one of us. We ought to be grateful to Pope Francis for having placed such a master of the spiritual life at the head of the Congregation that is responsible for the celebration of the Liturgy in the Church."

His collaboration with Cardinal Sarah seemed natural and important to him. 

The intent of the authors is perfectly reflected in this statement taken from the co-authored Introduction of the book: "The similarity of our concerns and the convergence of our conclusions led us to decide to make the fruit of our work and our spiritual friendship available to all the faithful, following the example of Saint Augustine."

The picture is simple. Two bishops wanted to reflect. Two bishops wanted to make public the fruit of their distinguished research. The text by Benedict XVI is one of great theological finesse. The text by Cardinal Sarah has an indubitable catechetical strength. Their arguments meet each other; their affirmations complete each other; their minds are reciprocally stimulated. 


Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah wanted to open and close this book with two co-authoredtexts. In their Conclusion they write:  

It is urgent and necessary, that everyone — bishops, priests and laity — no longer allow themselves to be impressed by the bad arguments, staged theater, diabolical lies, and fashionable errors that want to devalue priestly celibacy. 

Evidently, the Pope Emeritus and Cardinal Sarah did not want to hide their concern at all. And yet they know Saint Augustine, to whom they often refer, too well to not know that love always has the final word. 


"Why Be Afraid?" — Introduction of the Authors 

In recent months, as the world has been resounding with the uproar created by a strange media synod that took the place of the real synod, we have met together. We have exchanged our ideas and concerns. We have prayed and meditated in silence. Each of our meetings mutually comforted and calmed us. Although developed on different paths, our different reflections led us to exchange letters. The similarity of our concerns and the convergence of our conclusions led us to decide to place the fruit of our work and our spiritual friendship at the service of the all the faithful, just as Saint Augustine did. We can say, as he did: 

"Silere non possum! I cannot be silent! … I know indeed how pernicious silence would be for me.  For I do not want to take pleasure in ecclesiastical honors, satisfying my own vanity, but I remember that it is to Christ that I will have to account for the sheep entrusted to my care." 

As bishops, we carry within ourselves a concern for all the Churches. With a great desire for peace and unity, we therefore offer to all of our brother bishops, to priests and faithful laity throughout the world the fruit of our discussions. 

We do it in a spirit of love for the unity of the Church. If ideology divides, the truth unites hearts. Examining the doctrine of salvation can only unite the Church around her Divine Master.  

We do it in a spirit of charity. It seemed useful and necessary to us to publish this work at a moment when dispositions seem to be calm. Anyone may complete or criticize it. The search for truth cannot be accomplished except with an open heart. 

Therefore, we are fraternally presenting these reflections to the people of God and, naturally, in an attitude of filial obedience to Pope Francis. 

Lord, save us! We are perishing! The Lord sleeps while the tempest rages. He seems to abandon us to the waves of doubt and error. We are tempted to surrender to despair. The waves of relativism are submerging the Barque of the Church. The Apostles were afraid. Their faith grew cold. The Church, too, at times seems to waver. In the heart of the tempest, the faith of the Apostles in the power of Jesus seems to become less. We also are living this mystery. We feel a deep peace, however, because we know that the one who guides the Barque is Jesus. We are aware that it can never sink, that it can only lead us to the port of eternal salvation. 

Benedict XVI  and Robert Cardinal Sarah 

Vatican City, September 2019 


Conclusion of the Authors

At the end of our reflection, we feel the need to confess our love for the Church. We have wanted to give our lives to her as Christ offered his own. We will never abandon her ever! On our right hand we wear the ring which reminds us that we are bound to her in a definitive covenant. 

It is solely our love for the Church that led us to pick up the pen in order to write to all of you.  

We live in the sadness and suffering of these difficult and troubled times. It was our sacred duty to recall the truth of the Catholic priesthood. For through it, all of the beauty of the Church is implicated. The Church is not only a human organization. She is a mystery. She is the Mystical Bride of Christ. This is what our priestly celibacy unceasingly recalls to the world. 

She is the Mystical Bride of Christ. This is what our priestly celibacy unceasingly recalls to the world.  

It is urgent and necessary, that everyone — bishops, priests and laity — no longer allow themselves to be impressed by the bad arguments, staged theater, diabolical lies, and fashionable errors that want to devalue priestly celibacy.  

It is urgent and necessary, that everyone — bishops, priests and laity — rediscover a perspective of faith on the Church and on priestly celibacy which protects her mystery. 

This perspective will be the best bulwark against the spirit of division and politics but also against the spirit of indifference and relativism. 

In these difficult times, the only fear that each one of us ought to have is hearing the Lord say one day that hard word of reproof … : 'Accursed are you because you kept silent.' Alas! Keep silent no longer! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that, through keeping silent, the world is depraved, the Bride of Christ has gone pale, her color is gone, because her blood has been sucked out of her; that is … the Blood of Christ, which is given through grace. …. Sleep no longer in negligence; do what you can with the present time. 

Originally published on Marco Tosatti's blog, Jan. 16, 2020. 

Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino 

*All excerpts are translations taken from the French edition published by Fayard

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