Pope Benedict, Silence and Cardinal Sarah

I just came across a brief commentary by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, on Robert Cardinal Sarah’s new book, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.  What the Pope Emeritus writes here will comprise an afterword in future editions, and I am very happy to see Benedict still writing from his seclusion, his mind sharp as ever.

The principal point the Pope and Cardinal make is on the necessity of silence, so that we can listen to God, to hear His word, in humility, in prayer, in detachment from the world.  Without this deep, interior relationship with our Creator and Father, especially through consistent, regular liturgical participation in the Holy Eucharist and adoration, we become ‘secularized’, focused only on this temporary existence, our own pleasure, success, even in subtle ways.

What Cardinal Sarah, quoted by Benedict, says of bishops, which he likely witnessed all-too-often first hand, applies to all of us:

It can happen that a good, pious priest, once he is raised to the episcopal dignity, quickly falls into mediocrity and a concern for worldly success. Overwhelmed by the weight of the duties that are incumbent on him, worried about his power, his authority, and the material needs of his office, he gradually runs out of steam.

We need more bishops, priests and Catholics of all sorts who resist this impulse, this entropic trend towards laxity, mediocrity, even acedia.  As Benedict concludes:

With Cardinal Sarah, a master of silence and of interior prayer, the liturgy is in good hands.

Agreed. I just finished Cardinal Sarah’s autobiographical book God or Nothing, and now look forward to reading his most recent. After all, it comes highly recommended.




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John Paul Meenan
Born in Scotland, of Irish lineage and growing up in Canada, John Paul Meenan earned an M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Western Ontario, and a M.A. in Theology from Saint Philip’s Seminary in Toronto. He has been at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College from its inception, and thanks God to have had the great gift to be involved in this apostolate and its growth. His interests include liturgy, prayer, faith and science, reading, writing, music, contentious and pleasant conversation, kayaking and cycling and all the great beauty of the Madawaska Valley.


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