Robert Cardinal Sarah: Alas, Judas Iscariot

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Why speak up once more? In my last book, I invited you to silence. However, I can no longer be silent.

By Robert Cardinal Sarah, Catholic Education Resource Center

If these were silent, the very stones would cry out. —Luke 19:40

A traitor … is one that swears and lies. —William Shakespeare, Macbeth

sarahI must no longer remain silent.  Christians are disoriented.  Every day from all sides, I receive calls for help from those who no longer know what to believe.  Every day I meet in Rome with priests who are discouraged and wounded.  The Church is experiencing the dark night of the soul.  The mystery of iniquity is enveloping and blinding her.

Every day the most terrifying news reports reach us.  Not a week goes by without the revelation of a case of sexual abuse.  Each one of these revelations comes to rend our hearts as children of the Church.  As Saint Paul VI used to say, we are being invaded by the smoke of Satan.  The Church, which ought to be a place of light, has become a dwelling place of darkness.  It ought to be a secure, peaceful family home, but look: it has become a den of thieves! How can we tolerate the fact that predators have entered among us, into our ranks?  Many faithful priests behave every day as attentive shepherds, kindly fathers, and sure guides.  But some men of God have become agents of the Evil One.  They have sought to defile the pure souls of the littlest ones.  They have humiliated the image of Christ that is present in every child.

Priests throughout the world have felt humiliated and betrayed by so many abominations.  Following Jesus, the Church is experiencing the mystery of the scourging.  Her body is lacerated.  Who is inflicting the lashes?  The very ones who ought to love and protect her! Yes, I make so bold as to borrow the words of Pope Francis: the mystery of Judas hangs over our time.  The mystery of betrayal oozes from the walls of the Church.  The acts of abuse committed against minors reveal this in the most abominable way possible.  But we must have the courage to look our sin in the face: this betrayal was prepared and caused by many other less visible, more subtle ones that, nevertheless, were just as profound.  For a long time, we have been experiencing the mystery of Judas.  What is now appearing in broad daylight has deep-seated causes that we must have the courage to denounce clearly.  At its root, the crisis through which the clergy, the Church, and the world are going is a spiritual crisis, a crisis of faith.  We are experiencing the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of betrayal, the mystery of Judas. ….