Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Abortion, homosexuality show ‘final battle’ between God and Satan has come: Cardinal

Abortion, homosexuality show ‘final battle’ between God and Satan has come: Cardinal

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Cardinal Caffarra at the 2017 Rome Life Forum. Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

ROME, May 19, 2017, (LifeSiteNews) -- The prophecy of the Fatima visionary Sister Lucia that the final battle between God and Satan will be about marriage and the family is being fulfilled today, said a cardinal speaking at a Catholic conference in Rome. 
"What Sister Lucia said in those days is being fulfilled in these days of ours," said Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the dubia signers who is the archbishop emeritus of Bologna and a former member of the Pontifical Council for the Family, in a Q&A after his presentation. 
Caffarra made his comments at the fourth annual Rome Life Forum. After his presentation, Cardinal Raymond Burke, another dubia signer, called for the Catholic faithful to “work for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Cardinal Caffarra, who is the founding president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, made his comments on the “final battle” in reference to a letter he wrote to Sister Lucia back in the early 1980s to ask for her prayers as he began his new undertaking of founding the institute. He never expected a reply. 
But, to his surprise, Caffarra received a lengthy letter signed by Sister Lucia in which she spoke of the “final battle” that would come at the end of time. 
The Fatima visionary wrote that the “final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid, (she added), because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.” She then concluded: “However, Our Lady has already crushed his head.”
The letter is now in the archives of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.

The battle

Caffarra said in his presentation that there are two forces opposing one another in the battle. One is the “wounded Heart of the Crucified-Risen One” who calls all men to himself. The other is the “power of Satan, who does not want to be ousted from his kingdom.”

Read Cardinal Caffarra's full talk here
The Cardinal said that the area in which this battle takes place is the human heart.
“Jesus, the Revelation of the Father, exerts a strong attraction to Himself. Satan works against this, to neutralise the attractive force of the Crucified-Risen One. The force of truth which makes us free acts on the heart of man. It is the Satanic force of the lie which makes slaves of us,” he said. 

The two forces of attraction give rise to two cultures, he said, a “culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.”
“There is a book in Holy Scripture, the last, the Apocalypse, which describes the final confrontation between the two kingdoms. In this book, the attraction of Christ takes the form of triumph over enemy powers commanded by Satan. It is a triumph which comes after lengthy combat. The first fruits of the victory are the martyrs,” he said. 

Caffarra said that legalized abortion comes from the “culture of the lie” where the “crime” of murdering a human being is seen as a “good.”
Abortion is a “sacrilegious act,” he said, adding that it is the “profoundest negation of the truth of man.”. 

“The reason why man should not shed the blood of man is that man is the image of God. Through man, God dwells in His creation. This creation is the temple of the Lord, because man inhabits it. To violate the intangibility of the human person is a sacrilegious act against the Sanctity of God. It is the Satanic attempt to generate an ‘anti-creation.’ By ennobling the killing of humans, Satan has laid the foundations for his ‘creation’: to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure his presence therein,” he said. 

The Cardinal said Homosexual “marriage” also comes from the “culture of the lie” since it “denies entirely the truth of marriage” as it comes from the “mind of God the Creator.”

“The Divine Revelation has told us how God thinks of marriage: the lawful union of a man and woman, the source of life. In the mind of God, marriage has a permanent structure, based on the duality of the human mode of being: femininity and masculinity. Not two opposite poles, but the one with and for the other,” he said. 

“The union between a man and woman, who become one flesh, is human cooperation in the creative act of God,” he added. 
Satan, in pushing the lies of abortion and homosexuality, is attempting to destroy the two most important pillars of creation, the “human person” created in the image of God and the “conjugal union” between a man and woman.

“The axiological elevation of abortion to a subjective right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement of a homosexual relationship, when equated to marriage, is the destruction of the second pillar,” Caffarra said. 

Satan’s ultimate goal is to “build an actual anti-creation,” an “alternative creation,” where God and every sign of his beauty and goodness have been erased. 
“This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God,” the Cardinal said.  
To be a faithful follower of Christ in these times means to “testify...openly and publicly” to the truth of God’s creation with regard to the dignity of the human person and marriage.

“Someone who does not testify in this way is like a soldier who flees at the decisive moment in a battle. We are no longer witnesses, but deserters, if we do not speak openly and publicly,” he said. 
Caffarra praised the pro-life March for Life events that happen around the world a “great testimony” to the truth of the worth of every person. 
He likened Christians confronting sin to doctors combatting disease, telling his audience that just as with disease there can be no peace terms, the same follows for sin. 
“It would be a terrible doctor who adopted an irenical (aimed at peace) attitude towards the disease,” he said. The meaning of Augustine’s dictum ‘Love the sinner, persecute the sin,’ he added, means to “hunt down the sin. Track it down in the hidden places of its lies, and condemn it, bringing to light its insubstantiality.”

Trump budget completely defunds abortion providers, and Planned Parenthood is furious

Trump budget completely defunds abortion providers, and Planned Parenthood is furious

American Life League

May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-abortion feminists are bemoaning and pro-lifers are celebrating President Trump's 2018 budget proposal that would withhold all federal funds from abortion-provider Planned Parenthood.
Breitbart reported yesterday that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney told the media on Monday that the new budget would defund the abortion business, but only if the new Republican healthcare legislation passed recently by the House is also passed by the Senate and signed into law.     (PLEASE PRAY!)

Asked if the Fiscal Year 2018 Trump budget defunds Planned Parenthood, Mulvaney said, “’Yes,’ but added that it does ‘because it assumes the American Health Care Act passes and the AHCA in its current form, which is the one we assumed — and that’s making a bunch of assumptions, here — that it assumes that passes and that defunds Planned Parenthood,’” Breitbart reported.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the grassroots pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, applauded Trump, saying, “Taxpayers should not have to prop up Planned Parenthood’s failing, abortion-centered business model.”
“From day one, President Trump has worked to keep his pro-life promises, including stopping taxpayers from being forced to fund abortion and abortion businesses. We’re encouraged to see that the budget released today prevents federal funds from going to the nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood,” Dannenfelser said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the liberal pro-abortion “rights” magazine Mother Jones, relying on an "executive summary" of the proposed budget, said, "In practice, this will mean that Planned Parenthood and other entities that provide abortions would suddenly be excluded from participating in the full array of federally funded health programs, even though it is already illegal for federal money to pay for most abortions, thanks to the Hyde amendment.”
Kate Black, chief of staff of the pro-abortion group Emily's List, tweeted ominously:
“FACT: Trump cuts @PPact from ALL programs including VAWA [Violence Against Women Act] grants, cancer screenings, HIV research, Zika prevention, and maternal health.”

But the SBA List said the Trump proposal to redirect taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood “would result in a $422 million increase in federal funding for community healthcare centers, which enjoy strong bipartisan support, avoid provision of abortion, and now serve nearly 24.3 million people (and climbing) in medically underserved communities across the United States.”
“At the same time, women receiving Medicaid can continue to use their eligibility at centers where they can also obtain mammograms, mental health services, and a variety of other primary care services,” SBA List said.

But leftist organizations kept up their drumbeat that denying funds to Planned Parenthood and abortion is equivalent to cutting funds to “women’s health.” The liberal, aggressively anti-Trump Huffington Post reported, “The freeze-out [of Planned Parenthood] apparently goes beyond the House GOP’s plan, which excludes Planned Parenthood only from Medicaid reimbursements.”
It quoted Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president, Dawn Laguens, who said, “This is the worst budget for women and women’s health in a generation.”
Dannenfelser highlighted Planned Parenthood’s recent announcement that it will close 10 facilities in four states, “even before any portion of their half-billion dollars in taxpayer funding is redirected to local community health centers.”
Community health centers and rural health centers “outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities by an average of 20 to one nationally and provide the preventative care that Planned Parenthood claims to provide but do not perform abortion,” she said. “Women will be better served by the new growth of comprehensive healthcare alternatives.”

High expectations among pro-lifers

Social conservatives and pro-life advocates are ecstatic over Trump’s pro-life agenda and his life-affirming appointments, leading some pro-lifer leaders who doubted Trump’s commitment to the unborn to say they were wrong about the New York businessman.
Now, these same activists have high expectations for an agency-wide ban on Planned Parenthood funding across the federal government. Trump also signed a law allowing states to defund the abortion business, undoing a late Obama action intended to benefit his ally, Planned Parenthood.
High-profile Christian attorney and talk show host Jay Sekulow, founder of the American Center for Law and Justice, tweeted May 19, “Do you think #Congress' top priority should be the #ObamaCare replacement bill and the defunding of #PlannedParenthood?”
Among those responding in the affirmative was Matthew Ward, who tweeted, “Outlaw wholesale holocaust of humans. Replace ACA [Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare] with free market solutions. Abolish income tax and IRS.”
The Christian site tweeted: “of course do their job that is what the majority of WE the people have told them 2 do […] anything else is y its called the swamp AKA corruption.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Have you ever heard of the “butterfly effect” of Eucharistic adoration?

Have you ever heard of the “butterfly effect” of Eucharistic adoration?

Toth Tamas / Shutterstock

It can be seen in homes, in families, in marriages, and in neighborhoods ...

When a person adores Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, that person and his surroundings change. When a perpetual adoration chapel opens, it slowly transforms the neighborhood. This is what Isabel Puig calls the “butterfly effect” (from the theory that the smallest movement of a butterfly’s wings in one part of the world can have a powerful effect on wind and weather patterns thousands of miles away).

© Marcin Mazur /

Isabel Puig is a mother of a large family and helps to coordinate hourly turns at a Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapel in Badalona (near Barcelona, Spain). She is also currently working with others to open another perpetual adoration chapel in Barcelona, at the Royal Monastery of Santa Isabel, where the Regnum Christi movement houses a scholastic center.

“The Lord acts in the neighborhood, in souls, in the whole environment,” Isabel told the Spanish online publication, Religión en Libertad, as she recalled how, at the chapel in Badalona, “people find peace.”

“Adorers find greater peace and serenity to face life, and the wounds of their hearts find healing by going to see Jesus.”

“If the adorers are doing better, all of their surroundings are affected,” she noted. “You notice it at home, in families. When people have their priorities straight, this has an immediate effect on their friends, and we are better able to help those around us.”

The change happens slowly but surely, for the presence of the Lord works marvels. “We have seen people change their lives radically based on that hour of adoration,” Isabel confessed.

“People with addictions, with serious family problems who find support by leaning on the Lord for that hour. Also couples in difficulty — one spouse comes or both come together. People find healing especially for ailments of the soul. You can see how they develop and evolve as they learn acceptance. There is a lot of joy among the adorers, a deep and profound joy.”

Isabel says that many people who aren’t practicing also come to the Eucharistic Adoration chapel in Badalona, because there they find peace, silence and a welcoming space, and they end up developing a regular and assiduous prayer life.
Some adorers confess that, although they don’t go regularly to Mass, they do come regularly to be in the Lord’s presence. “Something tells them to return each week. It’s a space of total freedom.”

One example of this “butterfly effect” can be seen in Ciudad Juárez, where Eucharistic Adoration has contributed to a decrease in the number of homicides from 3,766 in 2010, to 265 in 2015, says Fr. Patricio Hileman, a priest who is dedicated to establishing adoration chapels throughout Latin America. Experience has shown Fr. Hileman that “when a parish adores God day and night the city is transformed.”

© Marcin Mazur /

Friday, May 12, 2017

Unlocking Jonathan: A mother helps her disabled son find his voice

Unlocking Jonathan: A mother helps her disabled son find his voice

Imagine living in a world in which you have no voice. You sit and watch and take things in, but you have no way of relaying a thought, an idea, an opinion, or even a little sense of humor. Worse, most people assume that you’re not capable of even experiencing these things.

This was the life of 10-year-old Jonathan Bryan until two years ago, when his mother Chantal discovered a way to communicate with him. Jonathan’s story is not simply remarkable and heart-warming, it reveals the inner strength of a clever and loving boy, and the determination of his family to give him his “voice.” And what a voice he has!

Jonathan was born early at 36 weeks by emergency C-section after Chantal was in a car accident. Her placenta had detached itself from her womb, depriving Jonathan of oxygen. The outlook was bleak; Jonathan was born with failing kidneys and a brain scan revealed that he would be extremely disabled, unable to walk, talk, eat, in addition to other activities most of us take for granted. In a blog post about Jonathan’s story, Chantal recalls one of the hospital’s doctors saying, “It’s one of the worst scans of a brain the technician has seen.” Although Chantal and her husband, Christopher, an Anglican vicar, had consulted with experts about whether Jonathan’s treatment should be stopped, Chantal says “there was something about him. A knowing look. The look of someone who was ‘in there’.”

Eventually Jonathan came home, but he was in and out of the hospital regularly due to his failing kidneys. He received a kidney transplant just before his 4th birthday, but unfortunately this led to a severe lung infection resulting in Jonathan’s need for 24/7 oxygen to keep him alive.
He fought on.

Seemingly “locked-in” and with cerebral palsy and weak lungs, Jonathan was enrolled in a special school, where he was described as having “profound and multiple learning difficulties.” Chantal believes this is fundamentally where the problem lies, at least in her native England: children who are non-verbal and physically handicapped are labeled incorrectly and attend these schools to essentially be “babysat.” And this is where Jonathan’s—and Chantal’s—incredible story really begins.

On the day after Chantal, Christopher, Jonathan, and his younger sisters, Susannah (seven) and Jemima (four) came back from their summer vacation, the siblings were all playing in a tent in the backyard, and I was fortunate enough to sit down with Chantal for a lengthy conversation. I asked her how they managed to go on vacation given Jonathan’s many requirements (he needs constant care day and night). She explained that they stayed fairly close to home—just in case—and that Jonathan joined the family on walks along the sometimes rugged pathways in his over-sized three-wheeler. Immediately it’s clear: despite Jonathan’s severe disabilities, he’s an integral part of their family life, not just in the extra care he requires, but because of his “big personality,” as Chantal describes it.

As Jonathan played with his sisters, Chantal shared the journey the family has taken so far, how Jonathan’s “unlocking” has revealed a little boy with big ideas about helping others, and how a visit to “Jesus’ garden” has brought hope and excitement for what lies ahead.

Breaking through

Despite all his disabilities, Jonathan was still very much “engaged with the world and keen to learn” from an early age. He could communicate with what his mom calls a “clear ‘yes’ and ‘no’ face.” And it’s this ability to choose that would allow Jonathan to emerge from his silence.

From a young age, Jonathan had a taste of mainstream education mixed with spending time at his local special needs school. While obviously grateful that her son’s physical needs were being attended to, Chantal believed something was lacking in terms of his mental development. So when he was seven and a half, Chantal made a decision that would turn Jonathan and his family’s life around: She decided to homeschool him every day for over an hour in the morning before he headed off to his special needs school.
Photo courtesy: Chantal Bryan
Jonathan learning to communicate with his spelling board. 
Chantal worked closely with Jonathan to see if he could develop letter recognition and start to read and write. With his mom gently supporting his head to steady his movement, Jonathan was able to look at words and phrases carefully selected and placed on a large plastic board to help create sentences. Chantal could see the desire and pleasure Jonathan took in learning. Although he had attempted to use an “Eye Gaze” computer, where the computer registers the movement of the eye to communicate, it proved insufficient as the machine found it hard to capture Jonathan’s eye movements due to a divergent squint and the medication Jonathan was on. However, it did show that Jonathan was able to make choices and group letters to make words. So Chantal painstakingly created a system of phonics, words, and letters. Jonathan would then select a letter or word and confirm it, all by using his eyes. (This is a very simplified account of the system Chantal developed with some advice from Marion Stanton, a specialist teacher for children with complex communication for Jonathan. More details can be found on Jonathan’s blog.)

When I exclaimed to Chantal that she must have the patience of a saint, she said she’s “not patient, but determined; I’m not a saintly mother!” But her determination began to pay off, so the family decided Jonathan should be homeschooled for five full mornings and join the mainstream primary school four afternoons a week, leaving him with just one afternoon at his special school to see his best friend (who Jonathan believes can be “unlocked,” too). From there Jonathan took off.

A powerful and expressive voice

Chantal found that her son’s vocabulary was pretty extensive, in part thanks to the many books his family had read to him throughout his lengthy illnesses, so the word boards she had created were not quite sufficient for Jonathan to express himself. She soon realized he wanted to spell, and not long afterwards, he was writing sentences that would surprise any 4th grade teacher. Jonathan’s whole world had been unlocked and he was finally able to express the thoughts that had been trapped inside him for nine years. What he comes out with is both profound and perceptive. Jonathan explained to his mom that “I watch people and I pray; I watch and I look.” And through this process Jonathan has gleaned perhaps more insight than other young people his age.
Photo courtesy: Chantal Bryan
Jonathan with his family at the top of the Malvern Hills, August 2016, England. 
Jonathan has also been able to reveal things he wasn’t so happy with. He could finally say how “the most frustrating thing was having his face washed”—not quite what you’d expect from a child confined to a wheelchair attached to an oxygen tank. And he could also start asking for things—Chantal fondly remembers Jonathan spelling out, “I need a brother!”

Jonathan has also expressed his desire to “bake every day, forever.” He spelled out, “I love baking for other people and making people happy.” This love of baking (helped by his family), is indicative of his beautiful personality, one of loving and giving, especially when we consider that Jonathan is unable to eat solid food himself and has to be fed through a tube in his stomach. He seems to be a boy with a tremendous heart and a fantastic outlook on life, making the most of what life has to offer. As Chantal says, Jonathan takes part in dance lessons at school in his wheelchair; the fact his friends are helping him move his arms feels to him like he is dancing.

Jesus’ garden

One of the most beautiful things Jonathan has been able to do is tell his parents about his visit to “Jesus’ garden.” Growing up in a religious family, Jonathan has been brought up “knowing Jesus.” But being able to communicate meant that Chantal could finally ask some important questions. (“What do you say to your son after nine years?” she says to me, laughing.) One of the first things Chantal asked her son was, “Who is important in your life?” To which Jonathan responded completely unprompted, “Mummy, Daddy, Jesus, sisters …” Then Chantal asked, “So when did you first know about Jesus?” Jonathan’s response was one of the most spine-tingling things he has ever told his family: “I’ve seen his house when I was ill. I was climbing up trees and my body worked.”

Chantal and her husband relate this incident to a near-death experience Jonathan had years before, but they can’t exactly pinpoint when (as there are a couple of contenders). Jonathan talks about going to “’Jesus’ garden,’ how he’s always happy, and he describes a lot of detail about a child who was there,” explains Chantal. Jonathan remembers the name of the child as Noah, a little boy in his previous parish who was a little younger and who died from an unexpected brain tumor. Although the family have spoken to Jonathan about heaven quite a bit—considering he’s nearly died a few times—Chantal says his description is “fresh” and not the stereotypical way we would describe it. When Chantal asked Jonathan, “How did you know it was Jesus’ garden?”, Jonathan’s matter-of-fact response was, “Because my body worked and I asked people.”
Photo courtesy: Chantal Bryan
Jonathan and Chantal meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. 
The joy Jonathan felt in Jesus’ garden has affected his outlook on life. During a recent serious illness, he actually spelled out: “I’m going to go back soon, it’s so exciting!” You can only imagine how difficult it was for the family to see emerging letter by letter. Jonathan has tasted the joy and experience of being free, and Chantal understands his excitement and wants what’s best for her son, but she and her husband don’t quite share the same enthusiasm for Jonathan “going back to the garden.” Yet, “He’s learnt to be content … that’s something a lot of us don’t quite get to. We talk to him about his faith and he prays a lot.”

Jonathan loves praying aloud now using the spelling board. But what is mind-blowing is his method: “He doesn’t think using words, he thinks using emotions, colors, and drumbeats. Praying is intentional, but he invites Jesus into the drumbeat of his life, and brings pictures of people before God when he is praying for them.” Jonathan is due to be confirmed this November because Chantal doesn’t know how much time they have left with him.

With a son so immersed in his faith, I asked Chantal about how her own relationship with God is today. “Deeper, I suppose; it couldn’t be anything other than that, having had a Jonathan! Shortly after he was born he was very ill. I got close to asking God, ‘Why?’ Not, why me … but why a tiny little baby who is suffering so much? And God gave me a picture that kind of stayed with me, which is just God the Father looking down at God the Son on the cross and with tears down his face saying ‘I know,’ and I follow a God who knows. He knows what it’s like to have a son who suffers and He knows what it is to suffer. So my faith is about getting on with it.” Chantal also spoke of the hope and assumptions we all have for our children, and how Jonathan’s story has led to a real life lesson: “Being human boils down to being loved and giving love.”

A boy with a purpose

Jonathan is now a young man on a mission. He’s set up a petition on so children like himself can have access to literacy education and to erase the perception that the label “disabled” means a child has limits on learning. He has written to the Minister of Education, and is hoping to meet the Minister of Children and Families, who decides government policy in the UK for children with special needs. Jonathan believes this is his purpose, the one thing he wants to do before he dies. He went to the media and actually wrote a press release himself. He wants to change attitudes, to help people to see what children like him, who are supposedly locked away, are capable of achieving.

As for his younger sisters, Jonathan talks to them about his faith and is writing thoughts and guidance down for when he’s no longer here—the perpetual protective big brother.

And for us: I asked Chantal if Jonathan could write a prayer to share with our readers and he happily obliged:
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for loving children like me, giving us strength, courage and peace during our lives. Knowing You will greet us in Heaven brings great joy.
Please help give a voice to all children like me so they might be able to say what they want.
In the loving and glorious name of our Lord Jesus,

By Jonathan Bryan—aged 10
If you’d like to know more about the remarkable and inspiring Jonathan, check out his autobiography, Life Adventures of awesome Jonathan, which can be found on his blog. You can also leave comments there for Jonathan to read.

UPDATE: Jonathan was finally confirmed in November, describing it as “the best service of my life.” During the ceremony, his godfather read a beautiful testimony that Jonathan himself had written. He has also gathered more than 179,000 signatures for his petition to help other “locked-in” children and met with the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson.
Jonathan turned 11 in January surrounded by his family and chocolate cake. And to mark the big event, Jonathan wrote a Thanksgiving Psalm in which he says he is “Rejoicing in God’s lavished love.” But that’s not all. Jonathan decided that during Lent he would try to help raise money for charity and he ended the Easter period with the most powerful Easter poem: “Rejoice for Jesus Has Risen,” that was read out on BBC Radio Two by esteemed poet Ian McMillan (if you’d like to listen, forward to 1 hour 15 minutes).
We continue to be astounded by this remarkable child who is proof of what a mother’s love can achieve.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

54 Day Novena and How the Rosary Converted a Satanic Priest

How the Rosary Converted a Satanic Priest

One of the most incredible testimonies to the ability of the rosary to bring back a soul from the brink of hell is the life of Blessed Bartolo Longo (1841–1926). Bartolo grew up in southern Italy during a time when Italy was experiencing a very strong nationalist movement. The movement was particularly known for turning people away from Catholicism and her teachings. Bartolo got caught up in this movement during his college years in Naples and fell away from the faith. He became so infatuated with the movement and its ideology that not only did he abandon the Catholicism of his youth, but he also became heavily involved in the practice of spiritualism and the occult. His fascination with mediums and witchcraft led him to participate in many séances, and he was eventually ordained a priest of spiritualism. Later in life, he would state that he had in fact become a servant of the devil and a priest of Satan.

Contrary to what he was promised by the practitioners of the occult, abandoning Catholicism and being ordained a satanic priest did not provide Bartolo with peace and happiness. The opposite actually occurred. After his ordination, he began to experience deep depression and suffered extreme bouts of anxiety.

Eventually these spiritual, psychological, and emotional problems led him to seek out the help of a Catholic priest. He was led to a devout Dominican priest, Fr. Alberto Radente, by the advice of friends. A very learned man, Fr. Radente instructed Bartolo in the faith, helping him turn from the occult and renounce his involvement in spiritualism. Bartolo discovered that, once he did this, he began to experience peace and have a deep desire for a conversion of heart. It did not take long for him to completely reject and renounce the false teachings and practices of spiritualism. In his zeal, he even once barged into a séance, raised a rosary high above the attendees, and rebuked the assembly for what they were doing. He warned them that their practices were false and they needed to turn to Catholicism to find truth.

A lawyer by profession, Bartolo continued his legal practice after his initial conversion. Since he had been brought back to Jesus, Mary, and the Church through the instruction of a Dominican, Bartolo decided to become a Third Order Dominican himself. His initiation ceremony took place on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7, 1871. As part of the ceremony, he was given the name “Br. Rosario.” After becoming a Third Order Dominican, he made a trip to Pompeii in order to help a wealthy countess named Marianna de Fusco with her legal matters. Upon his arrival in Pompeii, he was taken aback by the state of the city, and especially the degradation of the people, both spiritual and material. He was shocked to find that very few practiced Catholicism or understood its teachings. Many people had even fallen into the occult and were practicing the same forms of spiritualism that he had once observed. This situation greatly distressed him because he knew that he himself had led many people away from Catholicism during his stint in the occult.

Historically, the city of Pompeii had not experienced any major development since it had been buried in volcanic ash in 79 AD. Now, as a fruit of the anti-Catholic movement in Italy, the people of Pompeii had fallen away from their Catholic heritage and become spiritually dead. Seeing these things all around him caused Bartolo to fall into a terrible depression. He realized that it was people like him who had helped extinguish the light of faith in souls through the anti-Catholic and spiritualist movements. He feared that, because he had been an ordained satanic priest, the devil still had a stranglehold on his soul. Though Bartolo had undergone a conversion, the situation of Pompeii reminded him of his past and haunted him. He was on the verge of total despair and even contemplated suicide.

As his heart sank deeper and deeper into despair, Bartolo forced himself to reflect upon what Fr. Radente had once said about the life and preaching of St. Dominic. He remembered that the rosary had brought erring souls back to the truth and restored hope to lost souls during the life of St. Dominic. He remembered that the Dominican priest had taught him about how Mary had once made the promise to St. Dominic that those who promote the rosary will find salvation. These words kept repeating in Bartolo’s mind and heart, and were the answer to his despair. The rosary became his way of beating the bondage of Satan forever. At this point, in 1873, he made a firm decision to stay in the valley of Pompeii and promote the rosary. He started immediately by initiating the restoration of an old dilapidated church.

In addition to fixing up the church, he also sought to establish the Confraternity of the Rosary in Pompeii. By means of the rosary, its mysteries, and its Confraternity, he would seek to re-educate the people in the truths of Catholicism. In those days, however, it was required that confraternities have an image of Our Lady of the Rosary. The image had to depict Our Lady giving the rosary to St. Dominic. Bartolo had no such image, but was able to acquire one through the generosity of Fr. Radente, who had purchased it at a junk sale for practically nothing. Due to his many responsibilities, however, Bartolo was not able to return to Naples to pick it up himself, so it was held by a nun in Naples until it could be delivered to Pompeii. When the image finally arrived in Pompeii in 1875, it arrived on a cart of manure and was in very bad condition. Upon seeing the image, Bartolo was so taken aback by how unattractive it was — this was his first time seeing it — that he thought of sending the image back. He described it as an old, worn, faded painting that had an unattractive depiction of St. Dominic and St. Rose. He thought the depiction of St. Dominic in the image to be so horribly distasteful that he did not even think it was worth the little it had cost. However, out of respect for the nun and the kindness of Fr. Radente, he humbly accepted the image.

As Bartolo had sought to restore the church building, so now did he also seek to have the image restored. He desired that St. Rose be replaced with an image of St. Catherine of Siena, in keeping with the practice of other confraternities. The restoration resulted in a beautiful depiction of Mary and the Baby Jesus giving the rosary to St. Dominic and St. Catherine. Unbeknownst to Bartolo, the image would become very popular. God would use it to work miracles and build a world-famous basilica around it.

In his newfound zeal for helping others, Bl. Bartolo established religious communities, orphanages, hospitals, schools, and many other institutions and foundations as part of his plan to bring Catholicism back to the area and restore the ancient city of Pompeii. Heaven was very pleased with his efforts, and in 1884, something wonderful happened that caused the entire Catholic world to turn its gaze toward the forgotten city of Pompeii. A little girl named Fortuna Agrelli claimed to have received a vision of the Mother of God and experienced a healing through Bl. Bartolo’s rosary image. Fortuna had been suffering from a variety of illnesses for several years. All the physicians her parents had consulted had given up on her. The family, however, did not give up. They began a series of three novenas, praying the rosary for 27 days total, asking for a healing for little Fortuna. At the end of the novena, the Queen of Heaven appeared to Fortuna looking exactly like her depiction in the confraternity image restored by Bl. Bartolo: She appeared holding the Baby Jesus and giving the rosary to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. During the apparition, the little girl begged Mary for a healing by calling on Mary specifically as “Our Lady of the Rosary.” In response, Mary informed the girl that this title was most pleasing to her, and that she would be healed. Mary also informed her that, in the future, anyone who desired to receive graces from God should pray this 27-day rosary novena and add an additional 27 days (three more novenas of rosaries) in thanksgiving. This novena became known as the 54 Day Rosary Novena and is often called the “Irresistible Novena to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii.”

News of Fortuna’s healing spread quickly. When word of it finally reached Rome, Pope Leo XIII became even more inspired to promote the rosary, and began to write an encyclical on the rosary almost every year. The miracle through the image of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii strongly confirmed the pope’s teaching that the pious tradition was worthy of belief. Heaven itself had affirmed the pious tradition through the apparition given to Fortuna, since the miracle was given through an image that depicted the rosary being given to St. Dominic.

In 1885, Bl. Bartolo married Countess Marianna de Fusco, and together they continued to develop the Shrine and its good works. As time went by, Bl. Bartolo and his wife observed how devoted Pope Leo XIII was to the rosary. The couple decided to donate the entire Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii to the Holy See when Pope Leo XIII died in 1903. It took several years to work out all the details, but the Shrine was finally handed over to the Holy See in 1906.
Blessed Bartolo lived for 20 more years and continued to conduct great works of charity in Pompeii. His apostolate was very fruitful, even helping to form his collaborators into saints. Bartolo instilled in his physician, St. Joseph Moscati (1880–1927), a great love of the rosary. Saint Moscati had become a close friend of Bl. Bartolo over the years, and would make frequent visits from Naples to Pompeii in order to see his friend and visit the Shrine. The saintly physician prayed the rosary every day and never went anywhere without his beads in his pocket.

Today, the church restored by Bl. Bartolo Longo has been declared a basilica and officially designated as the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii. It receives millions of pilgrims each year. Bartolo Longo was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1980, and has gained the honor of being one of the greatest champions of the rosary in the history of the Church. His feast day is October 5, the same day as St. Faustina Kowalska.

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, has been a priest for 13 years and currently serves as Vicar Provincial and Vocation Director for the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.  He is the author of nine books, a popular speaker at conferences, and frequently leads pilgrimages to Marian shrines around the world. He resides at the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville, Ohio. To find out more about his books and pilgrimages go to

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Cardinal Robert Sarah on "The Strength of Silence" and the Dictatorship of Noise

Cardinal Robert Sarah on "The Strength of Silence" and the Dictatorship of Noise

Editor's note: The following interview with Robert Cardinal Sarah appeared in the October 2016 issue of the French newspaper La Nef; it was given on the occasion of the publication of his new book La Force du silence (The Strength of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise). The interview appears exclusively here in English by kind permission of Cardinal Sarah. The translation is by Michael J. Miller, who translated Cardinal Sarah's 2015 book God or Nothing (Ignatius Press).
La Nef: This book that you are offering to your readers is a veritable spiritual meditation on silence: why have you launched into such a profound reflection, which is not usually expected of a Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who is in charge of dossiers that deal very concretely with the life of the Church? 

Cardinal Robert Sarah: 
“God’s first language is silence.” In commenting on this beautiful, rich insight of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas Keating, in his work Invitation to Love, writes: “Everything else is a poor translation. In order to understand this language, we must learn to be silent and to rest in God.” 
It is time to rediscover the true order of priorities. It is time to put God back at the center of our concerns, at the center of our actions and of our life: the only place that He should occupy. Thus, our Christian journey will be able to gravitate around this Rock, take shape in the light of the faith and be nourished in prayer, which is a moment of silent, intimate encounter in which a human being stands face to face with God to adore Him and to express his filial love for Him. 
Let us not fool ourselves. This is the truly urgent thing: to rediscover the sense of God. Now the Father allows Himself to be approached only in silence. What the Church needs most today is not an administrative reform, another pastoral program, a structural change. The program already exists: it is the one we have always had, drawn from the Gospel and from living Tradition. It is centered on Christ Himself, whom we must know, love and imitate in order to live in Him and through Him, to transform our world which is being degraded because human beings live as though God did not exist. As a priest, as a pastor, as a Prefect, as a Cardinal, my priority is to say that God alone can satisfy the human heart. 
I think that we are the victims of the superficiality, selfishness and worldly spirit that are spread by our media-driven society. We get lost in struggles for influence, in conflicts between persons, in a narcissistic, vain activism. We swell with pride and pretention, prisoners of a will to power. For the sake of titles, professional or ecclesiastical duties, we accept vile compromises. But all that passes away like smoke. In my new book I wanted to invite Christians and people of good will to enter into silence; without it, we are in illusion. The only reality that deserves our attention is God Himself, and God is silent. He waits for our silence to reveal Himself. 
Regaining the sense of silence is therefore a priority, an urgent necessity. 
Silence is more important than any other human work. Because it expresses God. The true revolution comes from silence; it leads us toward God and toward others so that we can place ourselves humbly at their service. 

Why is the idea of silence so essential in your view? Is silence necessary in order to find God, and in what way “is it man’s greatest freedom” (no. 25)? As “freedom”, is silence an ascetical practice? 

Cdl. Sarah: Silence is not an idea; it is the path that enables human beings to go to God. 
God is silence, and this divine silence dwells within a human being. By living with the silent God, and in Him, we ourselves become silent. Nothing will more readily make us discover God than this silence inscribed at the heart of our being. 
I am not afraid to state that to be a child of God is to be a child of silence. 
Conquering silence is a battle and a form of asceticism. Yes, it takes courage to free oneself from everything that weighs down our life, because we love nothing so much as appearances, ease and the husk of things. Carried away toward the exterior by his need to say everything, the garrulous man cannot help being far from God, incapable of any profound spiritual activity. In contrast, the silent man is a free man. The world’s chains have no hold on him. 
No dictatorship can do anything against a silent man. You cannot steal a man’s silence from him. 
I think of my predecessor in the See of Conakry in Guinea, Archbishop Raymond-Marie Tchidimbo. He remained in prison for almost nine years, persecuted by the Marxist dictatorship. It was forbidden for him to meet with or speak to anyone. The silence imposed by his jailers became the place of his encounter with God. Mysteriously, his cell became a true “novitiate” and that miserable, sordid little room enabled him to understand somewhat the great silence of Heaven. 

Is it still possible to understand the importance of silence in a world where noise, in all its forms, never ceases? Is this a new situation of “modernity”, with its media, TV, and internet, or has this noise always been a characteristic of the “world”? 

Cdl. Sarah: God is silence, and the devil is noisy. From the beginning, Satan has sought to mask his lies beneath a deceptive, resonant agitation. The Christian owes it to himself not to be of the world. It is up to him to turn away from the noises of the world, from its rumors that run headlong in order to turn better toward what is essential: God. 
Our busy, ultra-technological age has made us even sicker. Noise has become like a drug on which our contemporaries are dependent. With its festive appearance, noise is a whirlwind that avoids looking oneself in the face and confronting the interior emptiness. It is a diabolical lie. The awakening can only be brutal. 
I am not afraid to call on all people of good will to enlist in a form of resistance. What will become of our world if it cannot find oases of silence? 
In the turbulent floods of easy, hollow words, keeping silent assumes the appearance of weakness. In the modern world, the silent man becomes someone who does not know how to defend himself. He is a “subhuman” with respect to the self-proclaimed strong man who crushes and drowns the other in the floods of his talk. The silent man is one man too many. This is the deep reason for modern men’s disdain and hatred of silent beings, for their abominable crimes against unborn children, the sick, or persons at the end of life. These human beings are the magnificent prophets of silence. With them, I am not afraid to declare that the priests of modernity, who declare a sort of war on silence, have lost the battle. For we can remain silent in the midst of the biggest hodgepodge, despicable disturbances, in the midst of the din and shouting of those infernal machines that invite us to activism by snatching any transcendent dimension and any interior life away from us. 

Although the interior man seeks silence in order to find God, is God Himself always silent? And how are we to understand what some call “God’s silence” with regard to unspeakably evil tragedies like the Holocaust, the gulags...? More generally, does the existence of evil call into question the “almighty power” of God? 

Cdl. Sarah: Your question leads us into a very deep mystery. At the Grande Chartreuse [Carthusian monastery], we meditated at length on this point with the Prior General, Dom Dysmas de Lassus. 
God does not will evil. Nevertheless, He remains astonishingly silent in the face of our trials. In spite of everything, suffering does not call God’s almighty power into question—far from it; rather, it reveals it to us. I still hear the voice of the child who through his tears asked me, “Why did God not keep my father from being killed?” In His mysterious silence, God manifests Himself in the tear shed by the child and not in the order of the world that would justify that tear. God has His mysterious way of being close to us in our trials. He is intensely present in our trials and sufferings. His strength makes itself silence because it reveals his infinite tact, His loving tenderness for those who suffer. External manifestations are not necessarily the best proofs of closeness. Silence reveals God’s compassion, the fact that He takes part in our sufferings. God does not will evil. And the more monstrous the evil, the clearer it becomes that God in us is the first victim. 
Christ’s victory over death and sin is consummated in the grand silence of the cross. God manifests all His power in this silence that no barbarity will ever be able to sully. 
When I traveled to countries that were going through violent, profound crises, sufferings and tragic miseries, such as Syria, Libya, Haiti, the Philippines after the devastating typhoon, I observed that silent prayer is the last treasure of those who have nothing left. Silence is the last trench where no one can enter, the one room in which to remain at peace, the place where suffering for a moment lays down its weapons. In suffering, let us hide ourselves in the fortress of prayer. 
Then the power of the jailers is no longer important; criminals can destroy everything furiously, but it is impossible for them to break in and enter into the silence, the heart, the conscience of a human being who prays and nestles in God. The beating of a silent heart, hope, faith and trust in God remain unsinkable. Outside, the world may become a field of ruins, but inside our soul, in the deepest silence, God keeps watch. War and the processions of horrors will never get the better of God present in us. When faced with evil and God’s silence, we must always persevere in prayer and cry out silently, saying with faith and love: 
“I looked for you, Jesus! 
I heard you weeping for joy 
at the birth of a child. 
I saw you seeking freedom 
through the bars of a prison. 
I walked close by you 
while you were begging for a piece of bread. 
I heard you howling with sorrow 
when your children were laid low by the bombs. 
I discovered you in the rooms of a hospital, 
subjected to treatments without love.  
Now that I have found you, 
I do not want to lose you again. 
I ask you, please, teach me to love you.”
With Jesus we bear our sufferings and trials better. 

What role to you assign to silence in our Latin liturgy? Where do you see it, and how do you reconcile silence and participation? 

Cdl. Sarah: Before God’s majesty, we lose our words. Who would dare to speak up before the Almighty? Saint John Paul II saw in silence the essence of any attitude of prayer, because this silence, laden with the adored presence, manifests “the humble acceptance of the creature’s limits vis-à-vis the infinite transcendence of a God who unceasingly reveals Himself as a God of love.” To refuse this silence filled with confident awe and adoration is to refuse God the freedom to capture us by His love and His presence. Sacred silence is therefore the place where we can encounter God, because we come to Him with the proper attitude of a human being who trembles and stands at a distance while hoping confidently. We priests must relearn the filial fear of God and the sacral character of our relations with Him. We must relearn to tremble with astonishment before the Holiness of God and the unprecedented grace of our priesthood. 
Silence teaches us a major rule of the spiritual life: familiarity does not foster intimacy; on the contrary, a proper distance is a condition for communion. It is by way of adoration that humanity walks toward love. Sacred silence opens the way to mystical silence, full of loving intimacy. Under the yoke of secular reason, we have forgotten that the sacred and worship are the only entrances to the spiritual life. Therefore I do not hesitate to declare that sacred silence is a cardinal law of all liturgical celebration. 
Indeed, it allows us to enter into participation in the mystery being celebrated. Vatican Council II stresses that silence is a privileged means of promoting the participation of the people of God in the liturgy. The Council Fathers intended to show what true liturgical participation is: entrance into the divine mystery. Under the pretext of making access to God easy, some wanted everything in the liturgy to be immediately intelligible, rational, horizontal and human. But in acting that way, we run the risk of reducing the sacred mystery to good feelings. Under the pretext of pedagogy, some priests indulge in endless commentaries that are flat-footed and mundane. Are these pastors afraid that silence in the presence of the Most High might disconcert the faithful? Do they think that the Holy Spirit is incapable of opening hearts to the divine Mysteries by pouring out on them the light of spiritual grace? 
Saint John Paul II warns us: a human being enters into participation in the divine presence “above all by letting himself be educated in an adoring silence, because at the summit of the knowledge and experience of God there is His absolute transcendence.” 
Sacred silence is the good of the faithful, and the clerics must not deprive them of it!
Silence is the cloth from which our liturgies ought to be cut out. Nothing in them should interrupt the silent atmosphere that is their natural climate. 

Isn’t there a kind of paradox in stating the need for silence in the liturgy while acknowledging that the Eastern liturgies have no moments of silence (no. 259), while they are particularly beautiful, sacred and prayerful? 

Cdl. Sarah: Your comment is wise and shows that it is not enough to prescribe “moments of silence” in order for the liturgy to be permeated with sacred silence. 
Silence is an attitude of the soul. It is not a pause between two rituals; it is itself fully a ritual. 
Certainly, the Eastern rites do not foresee times of silence during the Divine Liturgy. Nevertheless, they are intensely acquainted with the apophatic dimension of prayer before a God who is “ineffable, incomprehensible, imperceptible”. The Divine Liturgy is plunged, as it were, into the Mystery. It is celebrated behind the iconostas, which for Eastern Christians is the veil that protects the mystery. Among us Latins, silence is a sonic iconostas. Silence is a form of mystagogy; it enables us to enter into the mystery without deflowering it. In the liturgy, the language of the mysteries is silent. Silence does not conceal; it reveals in depth. 
Saint John Paul II teaches us that “mystery continually veils itself, covers itself with silence, in order to avoid constructing an idol in place of God.” I want to declare today that the risk of Christians becoming idolaters is great. Prisoners of the noise of endless human talk, we are not far from constructing a cult according to our own dimensions, a god in our own image. As Cardinal Godfried Danneels remarked, “the chief fault of the Western liturgy, as it is celebrated in practice, is being too talkative.” Father Faustin Nyombayré, a Rwandan priest, says that in Africa “superficiality does not spare the liturgy or supposedly religious sessions, from which people return out of breath and perspiring, rather than rested and full of what has been celebrated in order to live and to witness better.” Celebrations sometimes become noisy and exhausting. The liturgy is sick. The most striking symbol of this sickness is the omnipresence of the microphone. It has become so indispensable that people wonder how anyone could have celebrated before it was invented! 
The noise from outside and our own interior noises make us strangers to ourselves. In the midst of noise, a human being cannot help falling into banality: we are superficial in what we say, we utter empty talk, in which we talk and talk again... until we find something to say, a sort of irresponsible “muddle” made up of jokes and words that kill. We are superficial also in what we do: we live in a banal state that is supposedly logical and moral, without finding anything abnormal about it. 
Often we leave our noisy, superficial liturgies without having encountered in them God and the interior peace that He wants to offer us. 

After your conference in London last July, you are returning to the topic of the orientation of the liturgy and wish to see it applied in our churches. Why is this so important to you, and how would you see this change implemented? 

Cdl. Sarah: Silence poses the problem of the essence of the liturgy. Now the liturgy is mystical. As long as we approach the liturgy with a noisy heart, it will have a superficial, human appearance. Liturgical silence is a radical and essential disposition; it is a conversion of heart. Now, to be converted, etymologically, is to turn back, to turn toward God. There is no true silence in the liturgy if we are not—with all our heart—turned toward the Lord. We must be converted, turn back to the Lord, in order to look at Him, contemplate His face, and fall at His feet to adore Him. We have an example: Mary Magdalene was able to recognize Jesus on Easter morning because she turned back toward Him: “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” “Haec cum dixisset, conversa est retrorsum et videt Jesus stantem. – Saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there” (Jn 20:13-14). 
How can we enter into this interior disposition except by turning physically, all together, priest and faithful, toward the Lord who comes, toward the East symbolized by the apse where the cross is enthroned? 
The outward orientation leads us to the interior orientation that it symbolizes. Since apostolic times, Christians have been familiar with this way of praying. It is not a matter of celebrating with one’s back to the people or facing them, but toward the East, ad Dominum, toward the Lord. 
This way of doing things promotes silence. Indeed, there is less of a temptation for the celebrant to monopolize the conversation. Facing the Lord, he is less tempted to become a professor who gives a lecture during the whole Mass, reducing the altar to a podium centered no longer on the cross but on the microphone! The priest must remember that he is only an instrument in Christ’s hands, that he must be quiet in order to make room for the Word, and that our human words are ridiculous compared to the one Eternal Word. 
I am convinced that priests do not use the same tone of voice when they celebrate facing East. We are so much less tempted to take ourselves for actors, as Pope Francis says! 
Of course, this way of doing things, while legitimate and desirable, must not be imposed as a revolution. I know that in many places preparatory catechesis has enabled the faithful to accept and appreciate the orientation. I wish that this question would not become the occasion for an ideological clash of factions! We are talking about our relationship with God. 
As I had the opportunity to say recently, during a private interview with the Holy Father, here I am just making the heartfelt suggestions of a pastor who is concerned about the good of the faithful. I do not intend to set one practice against another. If it is physically not possible to celebrate ad orientem, it is absolutely necessary to put a cross on the altar in plain view, as a point of reference for everyone. Christ on the cross is the Christian East. 

You ardently defend the conciliar Constitution on the liturgy while deploring the fact that it has been implemented so badly. How do you explain in retrospect the last fifty years? Aren’t Church leaders the ones primarily responsible? 

Cdl. Sarah: I think that we lack the spirit of faith when we read the conciliar document. Bewitched by what Benedict XVI calls the media Council, we give it an all-too-human reading, looking for ruptures and oppositions where a Catholic heart must strive to find renewal in continuity. More than ever the conciliar teaching contained in Sacrosanctum Concilium must guide us. It is about time to let ourselves be taught by the Council instead of utilizing it to justify our concerns about creativity or to defend our ideologies by utilizing the sacred weapons of the liturgy. 
Just one example: Vatican II admirably described the baptismal priesthood of the laity as the ability to offer ourselves in sacrifice to the Father with Christ so as to become, in Jesus, “holy, pure, spotless Victims”. We have here the theological foundation for genuine participation in the liturgy. 
This spiritual reality ought to be experienced particularly at the Offertory, the moment when the whole Christian people offer themselves, not alongside of Christ but in Him, through His sacrifice that will be accomplished at the consecration. Rereading the Council would enable us to avoid having our offertories disfigured by demonstrations that have more to do with folklore than with the liturgy. A sound hermeneutic of continuity could lead us to restore to a place of honor the ancient Offertory prayers, reread in light of Vatican II. 

You mention “the reform of the reform” which you say you wish for (no. 257): what should this consist of chiefly? Would it involve both forms of the Roman rite or only the Ordinary Form? 

Cdl. Sarah: The liturgy must always be reformed in order to be more faithful to its mystical essence. What is called “reform of the reform” and what we perhaps ought to call “mutual enrichment of the rites”, to adopt an expression from the magisterial teaching of Benedict XVI, is a spiritual necessity. Therefore it concerns both forms of the Roman rite. 
I refuse to waste our time contrasting one liturgy with another, or the rite of Saint Pius V to that of Blessed Paul VI. It is a matter of entering into the great silence of the liturgy; it is necessary to know how to be enriched by all the liturgical forms, Latin or Eastern. Why shouldn’t the Extraordinary Form be open to the improvements produced by the liturgical reform resulting from Vatican II? Why couldn’t the Ordinary Form rediscover the ancient prayers of the Offertory, the prayers at the foot of the altar, or a little silence during some parts of the Canon? 
Without a contemplative spirit, the liturgy will remain an occasion for hateful divisions and ideological clashes, for the public humiliation of the weak by those who claim to hold some authority, whereas it ought to be the place of our unity and our communion in the Lord. Why should we confront and detest each other? On the contrary, the liturgy should make us “all attain to unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.... Thus, by living in the truth of love, we will grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (cf. Eph 4:13-15). 

In the current liturgical context of the Latin-rite world, how can we overcome the mistrust that remains between some devotees of the two liturgical forms of the same Roman rite who refuse to celebrate the other form and consider it sometimes with a certain disdain?

Cdl. Sarah: To damage the liturgy is to damage our relationship to God and the expression of our Christian faith. Cardinal Charles Journet declared: “Liturgy and catechesis are the two jaws of the pincers with which the devil wants to steal the faith away from the Christian people and seize the Church so as to crush, annihilate and destroy it definitively. Even today the great dragon is keeping watch on the woman, the Church, ready to devour her child.” Yes, the devil wants us to be opposed to each other at the very heart of the sacrament of unity and fraternal communion. It is time for this mistrust, contempt and suspicion to cease. It is time to rediscover a Catholic heart. It is time to rediscover together the beauty of the liturgy, as the Holy Father Francis recommends to us, for, he says, “the beauty of the liturgy reflects the presence of the glory of our God resplendent in His people who are alive and consoled” (Homily for the Chrism Mass, March 28, 2013). 

What was your exceptional stay at the Grande Chartreuse like?

Cdl. Sarah: I thank God for having granted me this exceptional grace. And how could I fail to mention all the gratitude in my heart and my boundless thanks to Dom Dymas de Lassus for his very warm welcome? I would also like humbly to ask forgiveness of him for all the trouble that I may have caused during my stay at his monastery. The Grande Chartreuse is God’s house. It lifts us up to God and puts us down facing Him. The place offers everything needed to encounter God: the beauty of nature, the austerity of the premises, the silence, the solitude and the liturgy. Even though it is my custom to pray at night, the nocturnal Divine Office of the Grande Chartreuse profoundly impressed me: the darkness was pure, the silence bore a Presence, that of God. The night hid everything from us, isolated us from one another, but it united our voices and our praise, it oriented our hearts, our gaze and our thought so as to look at nothing but God. The night is maternal, delightful and cleansing. Darkness is like a fountain from which we emerge washed, appeased and more intimately united to Christ and to others. Spending a good part of the night in prayer is regenerating. It causes us to be reborn. Here, God truly becomes our Life, our Strength, our Happiness, our All. I feel great admiration for Saint Bruno who, like Elijah, led so many souls to this Mountain of God to hear and see “the still, small voice” and to allow themselves to be called by this voice that says to us: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13).