God or Nothing
Publisher: Ignatius Press
"The idea of putting Magisterial teaching in a beautiful display case while separating it from pastoral practice, which then could evolve along with circumstances, fashions, and passions, is a sort of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology. I therefore solemnly state that the Church in Africa is staunchly opposed to any rebellion against the teaching of Jesus and of the Magisterium. . . . The Church of Africa is committed in the name of the Lord Jesus to keeping unchanged the teaching of God and of the Church."
Robert Cardinal Sarah
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.
"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 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
Robert Sarah is a Guinean Cardinal prelate of the Catholic Church. A Cardinal since November 2010, he was appointed as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Pope Francis on 23 November 2014. He previously served as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
In 2016, Sarah called for priests to face the altar ad orientem (in the same direction as the congregation) while celebrating Mass, despite the fact that versus populum (facing the congregation) had become the prevailing practice following recommended changes to the liturgy made by the Second Vatican Council. The move was seen by some media commentators as a direct challenge to Pope Francis.
An opponent of same-sex marriage, he has denounced the "Western homosexual and abortion ideologies", personally suggesting that both are of "demonic origin" and comparing them to Nazism and Islamic terrorism. He has also been outspoken on the persecution of Christians under radical Islam.
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.