Cardinal Sarah: The Catholic Church Has Lost Its Sense of the Sacred

The crisis of the liturgy is at the heart of the crisis of the Church. If in the liturgy we no longer put God at the center, then neither do we put him at the center of the Church. In celebrating the liturgy, the Church goes back to its source. All its raison d’être is to turn to God, to direct all eyes towards the cross. If it does not, it puts itself at the center; it becomes useless. I believe that the loss of orientation, of this gaze directed towards the cross, is symbolic of the root of the Church’s crisis. Yet the Council had taught that “the liturgy is mainly and above all the worship of the divine majesty.” We have made it a flatly human and self-centered celebration, a friendly assembly that is self-aggrandizing.
It is therefore not the Council that must be challenged, but the ideology that invaded the dioceses, parishes, pastors and seminaries in the years that followed.
The trivialization of the altar, of the sacred space that surrounds it, have been spiritual disasters. If the altar is no longer the sacred threshold beyond which God resides, how would we find the joy of approaching it? A world that ignores the sacred is a uniform, flat and sad world. By ransacking our liturgy we have disenchanted the world and reduced souls to a dull sadness.
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While Sacrosanctum Concilium has repeatedly recommended the conscious and active participation and even the full intelligence of the rites, it recommends in one movement the Latin language prescribing that “the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”
Indeed, the intelligence of the rites is not the work of human reason alone, which should grasp everything, understand everything, master everything. The intelligence of sacred rites presupposes a real participatio in what they express of the mystery. This intelligence is that of the sensus fidei, who exercises the living faith through the symbol and who knows by attunement more than by concept.

(Read the complete interview here)

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