In this fascinating autobiographical interview, one of the most prominent and outspoken Catholic Cardinals gives witness to his Christian faith and comments on many current controversial issues. The mission of the Church, the joy of the gospel, the heresy of activism, and the definition of marriage are among the topics he discusses with wisdom and eloquence.
Robert Cardinal Sarah grew up in Guinea, West Africa. Inspired by the missionary priests who made great sacrifices to bring the Faith to their remote village, his parents became Catholics. Robert discerned a call to the priesthood and entered the seminary at a young age, but due to the oppression of the Church by the government of Guinea, he continued his education outside of his homeland. He studied in France and nearby Senegal. Later he obtained a licentiate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, followed by a licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem.
At the age of thirty-four he became the youngest Bishop in the Catholic Church when John Paul II appointed him the Archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, in 1979. His predecessor had been imprisoned by the Communist government for several years, and when Archbishop Sarah was targeted for assassination John Paul II called him to Rome to be Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. In 2010 Pope Benedict XVI named him Cardinal and appointed him Prefect of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. Pope Francis made him Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2014.
In God or Nothing, Cardinal Sarah has the courage to talk about the great spiritual crisis in the west. Read this book to take in a breath of fresh air when it comes to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Sarah shows you that you are not alone.
Western societies are organized and live as though God did not exist. Christians themselves, on many occasions, have settled down to a silent apostasy. If the concerns of contemporary man are centered almost exclusively on the economy, technology, and the immediacy of material happiness that has been wrongly sentimentalized, God becomes distant; often in the West the last things and eternity have unnecessarily become a sort of psychological burden.
The images of women that the Western media present are too often degrading and humiliating. A woman’s body is treated as merchandise for the depraved pleasure of certain men. Through organized prostitution, women become objects with commercial value. Yet the West falsely claims to champion and defend women’s rights.
The idea of a woman cardinal is as ridiculous as the idea of a priest who wanted to become a nun!
In the search for truth, I think it is necessary to acquire the ability to come to terms with oneself as “intolerant”, in other words, to have the courage to tell someone else that what he does is bad or wrong. Then we will be able to take someone else’s criticism when it is meant to open our eyes to the truth.
Prayer is the greatest need of the contemporary world; it remains the tool with which to reform the world. In an age that no longer prays, time is, so to speak, abolished, and life turns into a rat race. This is why prayer gives man the measure of himself and of the invisible world.
Why this frenzied desire to impose gender theory? An anthropological vision that was unknown a few years ago, the product of the strange thought of a few sociologists and writers like Michel Foucault, should suddenly become the world’s new El Dorado? It is impossible to remain complacent in the presence of such an immoral and demonic deception.
Prayer is the source of our joy and serenity because it unites us to God, who is our strength. A sad man is not a disciple of Christ. Someone who relies on his own strength is always saddened when it declines. In contrast, a believer cannot be in sorrow because his joy comes from God alone.
If we do not turn our attention radically toward God, it becomes lukewarm, distracted, uncertain.
Cardinal Sarah is known for being particularly outspoken in defending traditional Catholic teaching when it comes to issues such as abortion, sexuality, and Islamic radicalism. He has continuously promoted pre-Vatican II practices, such as having the priest face ad orientem in an effort to bring the focus of the Mass back toward the Eucharist. However, he also also encouraged that proponents of the different liturgies work together to find a middle ground.
Cardinal Sarah is also known for speaking up and being particularly critical of Western culture when most other prelates are silent. He places particular emphasis on the subjection of women, gender ideology, and he has stated that in general life in western society is organized as if God does not exist, which has led to a tremendous "silent apostasy".
"I have read God or Nothing with great spiritual profit, joy, and gratitude. . . .[Its] courageous answers to the problems of gender theory clear up in a nebulous world a fundamental anthropological question."
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
"There s an African moment unfolding in Catholicism, and Cardinal Robert Sarah is among its most important voices. If you want to understand the forces shaping the Church s future, you need to read this book."
John L. Allen, Associate Editor, Crux/Boston Globe
"A remarkable testimonial of the Catholic faith in the face of many serious contemporary challenges."
Raymond Cardinal Burke,Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
"A clear and firm defense of Catholic doctrine on marriage and the family."
Walter Cardinal Brandmüller, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences
"Cardinal Sarah's voice carries the unmistakable ring of a prophet." --Raymond Arroyo, EWTN Anchor, The World Over
"In a breathtaking way, Cardinal Sarah quotes and incarnates the wisdom of Pope Benedict: 'Ideologues will not save the world but rather, the saints and their great, gentle insights.' " --Father George W. Rutler, Author, Hints of Heaven
"Sarah's clear and bold comments about the need for a profound renewal in the Church are truly refreshing and encouraging." --Father Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D.
"Cardinal Sarah reflects on the urgent question of God, who is becoming the 'Great Absent One' for too many people."
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
I decided to read this book because of Cardinal Sarah’s immaculate reputation, especially when it comes to liturgical reform. In addition to that, I was desperately looking for signs of hope from our hierarchy in the Church.
This book was a breath of fresh air. It renewed my hope in the hierarchy, that there are some who DO get it, who do understand the challenges and crisis of the church today.
In addition to Cardinal Sarah’s refreshing analysis of the spiritual state of the world, I was also struck by his approach to prayer, with his focus on meditation, contemplation, and silence. It made realize how rigid, noisy, and remedial my current prayer life is. This book really made me eager to dive right into his other book, The Power of Silence, so I could delve even further into his approach to prayer.
The last thing that struck me about Cardinal Sarah’s perspective, is he has an incredible love and devotion to the Eucharist. After reading this book, I do feel that he is a godsend for us in the area of liturgical reform.
God or Nothing is very readable, engaging, and challenging --- all the things I personally look for in a book on the spiritual life. Cardinal Sarah is a reminder that we are not alone in this fight, that there are still giants among us.