Archbishop Gänswein Praises Cardinal Sarah for His Prophetic Witness
by Edward Pentin
Cardinal Robert Sarah’s boldness in proclaiming the Gospel and resisting the Zeitgeist is a prophetic witness reminiscent of a 5th century North African Pope who laid the foundations for healthy church-state relations, Archbishop George Gänswein has said.
In a well-received speech in Rome Nov. 20 at the launch of the German edition of the book ‘God or Nothing’ — an interview with Cardinal Sarah by Nicolas Diat — the personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI compared the cardinal favorably to Pope Galasius I whom the Church, by coincidence, commemorated on Nov. 20.
Gelasius' letter to the Emperor Anastasius I of Constantinople in 494 put spiritual and secular power on an equal footing and helped pave the way for Western democracy.
Commenting on the book, Archbishop Gänswein, who also serves as prefect of the Pontifical Household, said every generation faces giving in to a “totalitarian temptation” that always accompanies the history of the Church “like a shadow”.
Today, he said, it is manifested in the West’s attempt to “overturn, step by step, the natural law at the behest of globally active pressure groups”.
He mentioned gender ideology as an example, adding that the intolerance of secularism is “nothing more than a new pseudo-religion” which once again “takes up where the totalitarian ideologies of the last century left off.” Similarly, he warned that when the state becomes a religion, it is “horrifically expressed in the so-called Islamic State.”
But neither the state nor the Zeitgeist “has the right” to claim omnipotence, Archbishop Gänswein said. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Absolutely. But unto God what is God's! It is on this distinction that Cardinal Sarah today insists; a solitary, frank and intrepid voice.”
Archbishop Gänswein went on to say that ‘God or Nothing’ is a radical book in the sense of taking us back to the “roots of our faith.” It “opens our eyes” to the fact that “new forms of indifference to God are not just mental deviations one can simply ignore”, but represent “an existential threat to human civilization par excellence.”
Actively proclaiming the Gospel is “gaining urgency” in this “precarious situation”, the German prelate said, and “in this hour he [Cardinal Sarah] arises, prophetically.” Revelation, he reminded those present, “must not be adapted to the world” as the world “wants to devour God." But God, on the other hand, "wants to attract and convince us and the world.”
He stressed that the book is neither “a manifesto nor a polemic” but a “guide to God who has shown his face in Jesus Christ”. He also said it is a Vademecum (handbook) for the upcoming Jubilee Year which can teach “valuable lessons about the nature of mercy.”
"Mercy and rigor of teaching can only exist together," Archbishop Gänswein said, quoting the great Dominican theologian, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. "The Church is in her principles intolerant, because she believes, and she is tolerant in practice, because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant with regards to the principles because they do not believe, and they are intolerant in practice because they do not love”.
Cardinal Sarah, Archbishop Gänswein said in closing, “is someone who loves”, a man who shows us “how and which masterpiece God wants to shape us into if we do not oppose His artist’s hands.”
During the recent Synod on the Family, Cardinal Sarah gave one of the strongest interventions of the three week meeting, comparing gender ideology and the Islamic State to "apocalyptic beasts".
Here below is the full text of Archbishop Gänswein’s speech:
To the Roots!
By Georg Gänswein, 20 November 2015
Most Reverend Cardinal Sarah! Eminences, Your Excellencies, Dear Brothers, Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!
As I was reading the galleys of your book "God or nothing" this past summer, your candour repeatedly reminded me of the boldness with which Pope Gelasius I in the Rome of the year 494 wrote a famous letter to the Emperor Anastasius I of Constantinople. When at last a suitable date for the presentation of this book here in the Anima was found, I discovered that it is today of all days, on the 20th of November, that the Church commemorates this pope. Today the Church celebrates Pope Gelasius from North Africa. Allow me therefore to briefly say a few words about his letter from the year 494.
Eighteen years before it was written, in the year 476, Germanic tribes had overrun the ancient capital. The Völkerwanderung – the mass migration of peoples – had begun, which brought about the end of the Western Roman Empire. Of that once so powerful empire there remained only the powerless Church of Rome.
It was in this situation that Pope Gelasius wrote the following to the East Roman emperor in Byzantium: To govern the world there is not just one power but two. This we know since the Lord gave to his apostles, after the Last Supper (Luke 22:38), the mysterious information, "two swords", which they had just handed to him, were "enough". However, these two swords would have to be, according to his conception, shared by the Emperor and the Pope throughout history. In other words, with this letter Pope Gelasius I put spiritual and secular power on an equal footing. There should be no more omnipotence. Pope and Emperor were – for the benefit of all people! – considered as partners before God.
Read more: www.ncregister.com