Within the ranks of the Church leadership, Robert Cardinal Sarah stands out as a rare example of outspoken zeal for the faith accompanying his conspicuous love of God. Born and raised in Guinea, he first became a priest and then archbishop of Conakry (covering all of Guinea). He was made Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, then Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship by Pope Francis in 2014.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been largely untouched by moral aberrations stemming from the abundant peace, prosperity, and freedom of thought of Europe and America. In many ways it shares the experience of the fledgling Church of the Fathers in a hostile world. Cardinal Sarah’s background and worldview brings a contrary but insightful perspective on the effects of the globalist effort on African development.
Cardinal Sarah has been strongly critical of the policies of Western nations to render aid to poor African nations contingent on their adherence to modern distortions of “human rights”. Referring to the promotion of evil in the name of good, he states:
The result is hostility to Christians, and, increasingly, religious persecution. Nowhere is this clearer than in the threat that societies are visiting on the family through a demonic “gender ideology,” a deadly impulse that is being experienced in a world increasingly cut off from God through ideological colonialism.
Address to the 2016 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
This notion of “ideological colonialism” as an application of globalism is significant. He regards the intervention of the United States in the affairs of the Middle East as the primary cause of the diminution of Christianity in these areas. He differentiates between the “peaceful Islam” that pervades the majority of the population in West Africa and what he sees as “Islamic radicalism” enabled by the military actions of the West. In addition to speaking out for Africa on the international stage, he has also made bold statements against distortions in the liturgy, emphasizing that the Liturgy of the Eucharist should always be practiced as an address to God.
Cardinal Sarah has written two books so far in defense of the Catholic faith. The first is “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise”. He makes a strong case that the noise of contemporary life is symptomatic of our loss of faith. One excerpt attests to the depth of his understanding and the profundity of his thoughts:
God’s silence can also be a reproach. We often pretend not to want to listen to this language. Conversely, if there is an earthquake or a major natural disaster, associated with immeasurable human tragedies, we accuse God of not speaking. God’s silence questions mankind on its ability to enter into the mystery of life and hope at the very heart of suffering and hardships. The more we refuse to understand this silence, the more we move away from him. I am convinced that the problem of contemporary atheism lies first of all in a wrong interpretation of God’s silence about catastrophes and human sufferings. If man sees in the divine silence only a form of God’s abandonment, indifference, or powerlessness, it will be difficult to enter into his ineffable and inaccessible mystery. The more man rejects the silence of God, the more he will rebel against him.
His other book is “God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith”. Revisiting his defense of the liturgy, he explains his case in some depth:
If man claims to adapt the liturgy to his era, to transform it to suit the circumstances, divine worship dies. The development of some liturgical symbols is necessary sometimes; however, if man goes so far as to confuse the temporal and the eternal, he turns his back on the essential justification for the liturgy.
In highlighting the worldview taken for granted by the United States and Europe, Cardinal Sarah has challenged us to more closely consider the results of our international actions. And more significantly, he has provided keen insight into how the insidious marginalization of God in public affairs and, indeed, in the Church itself, have and will continue to work to our detriment. Anyone seeking to understand how God and the Catholic faith relate to the modern age would do well to become familiar with the works and public statements of Cardinal Sarah.