Cardinal Sarah: Seeking Media Approval at Price of Truth is Work of Judas

In hard-hitting but unreported comments given in Paris last month, the Vatican prefect for divine worship also denounced those pushing “rupture and revolution” as “mercenaries smuggled into the sheepfold.”

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Cardinal Robert Sarah has said he is “hurt to see so many priests selling off Catholic doctrine and sowing division among the faithful,” and that seeking to “win media popularity at the price of truth is like doing the work of Judas.” 

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments also said that those who “loudly announce change and rupture are false prophets” and are “not looking for the good of the flock” but are “mercenaries smuggled into the sheepfold.”

Speaking to an audience at the church of Saint François-Xavier in Paris at a launch of his new book Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse on May 25, the Guinean cardinal warned against causing division in the Church by promoting teaching contrary to the Magisterium.

“If everyone defends his opinion, his theological hypotheses, his novelty, or a pastoral approach that contradicts the requirements of the Gospel and the perennial Magisterium of the Church, then division will spread everywhere,” he said. “I am hurt to see so many priests selling off Catholic doctrine and sowing division among the faithful.” 

The cardinal said Christians are owed “clear, firm and stable teaching,” and asked: “How is it acceptable that bishops or episcopal conferences contradict each other?” 

“Where there is confusion, God cannot dwell!” the cardinal continued. “For God is Light and Truth.”

 

Coherence With Past Teaching

He stressed that the unity of the faith “implies the unity of the magisterium in space and time” and that “when a new teaching is given to us, it must always be interpreted in coherence with the preceding teaching.” 

But he said “if we introduce ruptures and revolutions, we break the unity that has governed the Holy Church over the centuries.

“This does not mean that we are condemned to rigorism,” he said. “But any evolution must have a better understanding and deepening of the past.

“The hermeneutics of reform in the continuity that Benedict XVI so clearly taught is a sine qua non condition of unity,” the cardinal explained. “Those who loudly announce change and rupture are false prophets! They are not looking for the good of the flock. They are mercenaries smuggled into the sheepfold!”

Church unity must be “built around the truth of Catholic doctrine and the moral teaching of the Church,” he said. “There are no other ways.”

And he added that to “want to win media popularity at the price of truth is like doing Judas’ work! Let's not be afraid!” 

The cardinal was speaking two weeks before Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider and three other bishops released a “declaration of truths” reaffirming key Church teachings at a time they described as “almost universal doctrinal confusion and disorientation.”

The document was the latest in a series of declarations, filial petitions and corrections from bishops, academics, priests and laity concerned about the ambiguity of teaching and associated confusion that have arisen during the current pontificate.