Here is the conclusion of some remarks Robert Cardinal Sarah recently made, in light of the Church and society’s response to the pandemic, words which we should all take to heart, not least as we meditate on Christ teaching us that His kingdom – nor our own ultimatel life – is not of this world:
In the face of death, there is no human response that can hold. Only the hope of eternal life can surpass the scandal of death. But who is the man who will dare to preach hope? It takes the revealed word of God to dare to believe in a life without end. It takes a word of faith to dare to hope for oneself and one’s family. The Catholic Church is therefore called back to its primary responsibility. The world expects of her a word of faith that will enable it to overcome the trauma of this face-to-face encounter with death that it has just experienced. Without a clear word of faith and hope, the world can sink into morbid guilt or helpless rage at the absurdity of its condition. Only the Church can enable it to give meaning to the deaths of loved ones, who died in solitude and were buried in haste.
But if that is so, the Church must change. She must stop being afraid of causing shock and of going against the tide. She must give up thinking of herself as a worldly institution. She must return to her only “raison d’être”: faith. The Church is there to announce that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection. This is at the heart of her message: “And if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith … and we are the most wretched of all men” (1 Corinthians 15:14-19). All the rest is only a consequence of this.
Our societies will come out of this crisis weakened. They will need psychologists to overcome the trauma of not being able to accompany the elderly and the dying to their tombs, but even more, they will need priests to teach them to pray and to hope. The crisis reveals that our societies, without knowing it, are suffering deeply from a spiritual evil: they do not know how to give meaning to suffering, finitude and death.
(From LifeSite news)