Cardinal Sarah reveals surprising cause and remedy for the fears and anxieties of our time
anxiety , cardinal robert sarah , conscience , fear , modern life
Note: numbers before quoted paragraphs are as published in Cardinal Sarah’s book.
May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Why have we seen such a dramatic increase in anxiety, fear, personal disorientation, irrational anger and forced imposition of political correctness over the past 50+ years in developed nations? Have you noticed how many now reject reason and sound arguments and accept only “facts”, “evidence” or “studies » that agree with what they desire – no matter how pathetically flawed their supporting items are? There is a surprising cause for most of this and an ages-old, surprising remedy.
We are in an age of increasing social madness. Cardinal Robert Sarah, in his new book, The Power of Silence, reveals this to be symptomatic of a widespread spiritual illness in modern Western culture. This illness, according to him, is largely caused by an absence of crucially needed, God and truth-revealing periods of silence of the ears, of the eyes and of the heart in the life of modern men and women.
Yes, silence. Sarah shows the way out of the tyranny of destructive external and internal noise and the incredible power and necessity of silence, which he proclaims is “more important than any other human work.”
Reading the comments under LifeSite’s well-researched and written reports, we are frequently struck by the inability of so many to calmly think and reason and to appreciate the implications of what the news reports reveal. Reason, facts, solid research – are all given much less importance, if any, these days than politically correct and especially emotional considerations. Modern man allows feelings and images to dominate and enslave him, much to his personal and social detriment.
Cardinal Sarah warns us that,
47. Humanity itself has returned to the sad prophecy of Isaiah, which was repeated by Jesus: « seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand…. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with heart, and turn for me to heal them”. (Mt 13:13, 15) p.44
Because of all the noise experienced by our eyes, ears and hearts, modern man no longer hears, experiences and knows God. He is unable to comprehend the purpose and even the value of his life and the lives of others. Hence the acceptance of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, transgenerism and many other anti-human perversities. Today’s men and women and youth are lost and swirling in a downward spiral of self-destroying anxieties, fears, vulgarity, disorientation and violence.
Sarah goes so far as to proclaim that, “In killing silence, man assassinates God.” p.57
Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet
Let me further quote liberally from Cardinal Sarah and the astonishing insights in his book:
74. Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking, at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet. It holds fourth in an unending monologue. Postmodern society rejects the past and looks at the present as a cheap consumer object; it pictures the future in terms of an almost obsessive progress. It’s dream, which has become a sad reality, will have been to lock silence away in a damp, dark dungeon. Thus there is a dictatorship of speech, a dictatorship of verbal emphasis. In this theatre of shadows, nothing is left but a purulent wound of mechanical words, without perspective, without truth, and without foundation. Quite often « truth » is nothing more than the pure and misleading creation of the media, corroborated by fabricated images and testimonies.
When that happens the word of God fades away, inaccessible and inaudible. Postmodernity is an ongoing offence and aggression against the divine silence. From morning to evening, from evening to morning, silence no longer has any place at all; the noise tries to prevent God himself from speaking. In this hell of noise, man disintegrates and is lost; he is broken up into countless worries, fantasies, and fears. In order to get out of these depressing tunnels, he desperately awaits noise so that it will bring him a few consolations. Noise is a deceptive, addictive, and false tranquilizer. P. 56
Those are powerful, perceptive words! Much of the chaos that we report every day in LifeSite stories is reflected in those two preceding paragraphs. Cardinal Sarah does not « beat around the bush.” He gives it to us straight so that we might be able to fully understand and respond to our illness. That is what a genuine doctor of the soul must do. This is not facile “accompaniment,” but rather true shepherding and acceptance of the call to be a prophet for our time.
The silence of the eyes
Sarah carefully explains that the silence he is talking about involves much more that what enters the ears. Everything that enters the mind and heart through the senses, emotions and memories can create howling internal “noise” and greatly disturb our internal equilibrium, sense of being and relationship to our Creator.
I have never heard the term, “silence of the eyes,” but Cardinal Sarah explains it well, especially as it applies to our modern culture:
46. The silence of the eyes consists of being able to close one’s eyes in order to contemplate God who is in us, in the interior depths of our personal abyss. Images are drugs that we can no longer do without, because they are present everywhere and at every moment. Our eyes are sick, intoxicated, they can no longer close. It is necessary to stop one’s ears too, because there are sonic images that assault and violate our sense of hearing, our intellect, and our imagination. P.44
43. For some years now there has been a constant onslaught of images, lights, and colours that blind man. His interior dwelling is violated by the unhealthy, provocative images of pornography, bestial violence, and all sorts of worldly obscenities that assault purity of heart and infiltrate through the door of sight. P.42
44. The faculty of sight, which ought to see and contemplate the essential things, is turned aside to what is artificial. Our eyes confuse day and night because our whole lives are so immersed in a permanent light. In the cities that shine with a thousand lights, our eyes no longer find restful areas of darkness, and consciences no longer recognize sin.
Negative impact on the conscience
All this external and subsequent internal “noise” has had a profoundly negative impact on the consciences of modern men and women. Our otherwise natural perceptions of right and wrong are suppressed or confused. Modern man can’t comprehend the reality of moral absolutes and instead wallows in ever-changing, emotionally self-serving and personally destructive moral relativism.
Cardinal Sarah continues,
To a large extent, humanity has lost an awareness of the seriousness of sin and of the disorder that its presence has introduced into personal, ecclesial, and social life. More than 50 years ago, in his homily on September 20, 1964, Blessed Paul VI stated this tragedy in these terms:
In the language of respectable people today, in their books, in the things that they say about man, you will not find that dreadful word which, however, is very frequent in the religious world – our world – especially in close relation to God: the word is “sin ». In today’s way of thinking, people are no longer regarded as sinners. They’re categorized as being healthy, sick, good, strong, weak, rich, poor, wise, ignorant; but one never encounters the word sin. The human intellect having thus been detached from divine wisdom, this word « sin » does not recur because we have lost the concept of sin. One of the most penetrating and grave words of Pope Pius XII, of venerable memory, was, « the modern world has lost the sense of sin. » What is this if not the rupture of our relationship with, God, caused precisely by « sin ».
Those words were written by Paul VI in 1964, but so much has happened since then that we can confidently say that the word “sin” is no longer even “very frequent in the religious world.” Pastors, bishops and even the current Pope don’t like to inflict guilt on the flock, and especially on those engaged in immoral behaviours, by using the word “sin”. If any sin is mentioned at all it is often in relation to supposed “sins” against the environment or economic or other worldly issue “sins” or the sin of being too « rigid » and faithful.
Sarah next presents a poetic and powerful quote from Saint John Paul II in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitencia dated December 2, 1984 (no. 18).
45. Far from God and from the lights that spring from the true Light, man can no longer see the stars, cities have become such flashlights the dazzle our eyes. Modern life does not allow us to look calmly at things. Our eyelids remain open incessantly, but our eyes are forced to look at a sort of ongoing spectacle. The dictatorship of the image, which plunges our attention into a perpetual whirlpool, detests silence. Man feels obliged to seek ever new realities that give him an appetite to own things; but his eyes are red, haggard, and sick. The artificial spectacles and the screens glowing uninterruptedly try to bewitch the mind and the soul. In the brightly lit prisons of the modern world, man is separated from himself and from God. He is riveted to ephemeral things, farther and farther away from what is essential. P.43
I have so far only read up to page 56 in the The Power of Silence, but already Sarah has given a few prescriptions here and there on how to overcome this tyranny of noise.
He quotes Mother Teresa who wrote, “silence of speech, gesture, or activity finds its full meaning in the search for God. This search is truly possible only in a silent heart.” Sarah says that “This nun did not like to speak and fled the storms of worldly noise.”
“Silence needs meekness and humility”, writes Sarah, “and it also opens for us the way to these two qualities. The humblest, meekest, and most silent of all beings is God. Silence is the only means by which to enter into this great mystery of God… In silence, man is absorbed by the divine and the world’s movements no longer have any hold on his soul.” There is the solution.
I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of The Power of Silence. There is no doubt that many LifeSite readers would also benefit from obtaining and reading this timely, exceptionally insightful book.
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BlogsFaith, Homosexuality, Politics – U.S. Fri Mar 24, 2017 – 8:01 pm EST
Neil Gorsuch is NOT another Scalia
antonin scalia , gorsuch confirmation hearing , homosexuality , president trump , us supreme court
March 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — I have been holding my opinion on Neil Gorsuch. From the time he was announced as Trump’s highly lauded Supreme Court nominee and then more information started to come out about him, there have been growing uncomfortable feelings about the nomination. And now, as the confirmation hearings have been underway, I am worried.
Despite effusive praise from numerous pro-life and pro-family leaders, this man is NOT, as Trump has repeatedly been told, another Scalia. In my view, the President has been misled – although Gorsuch does have praiseworthy characteristics as a justice and has made some excellent, major rulings.
But can we trust that he will courageously rule as the nation desperately needs him to rule on all of the most crucial issues? I think there are now legitimate doubts, although on many issues he will likely rule well.
During day three of the Senate confirmation hearings, Gorsuch was asked by Senator Dick Durbin whether the intentional taking of unborn life is wrong.
He responded, « The Supreme Court of the United States has held in Roe v. Wade that a fetus is not a person, for purposes of the 14th Amendment. That [decision] is the law of the land. I accept the law of the land. »
To me, there was something unnerving about how far he went in accepting the current realities of that horrendous decision that was based on lies and deliberate misinterpretation of the Constitution.
Gorsuch on Obergefell
Also during the confirmation hearings, in response to a question about same-sex “marriage” and the results of the Obergefell decision – which many consider an even more outrageously corrupt, activist Supreme Court decision than Roe v Wade — Gorsuch stated it “is absolutely settled law. »
He did not just call it “settled law,” which one could say, well, yes, in legal terms that is what it could be said to be … for now. But he unnecessarily and disturbingly added the word “absolutely.” Why did he go to that length?
That comment seemed to indicate Gorsuch is not a full constitutional originalist. No originalist would ever make such a comment that appears to betray the Constitution and the intentions of the Founders – considering the travesty of the Obergefell decision.
Now we likely know why Trump also called Obergefell “settled law” in response to a question during a 60 Minutes interview. He had likely been talking to Gorsuch.
Justice Scalia had ripped the Obergefell decision to shreds for its inventions of nonexistent rights out of thin air, as he did with many other judicial activist decisions by his peers on the court and in lower courts. He described the decision as the « furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants. » He added, « Do you really want your judges to rewrite the Constitution? I don’t know how you can get more extreme than that. »
Scalia even went so far as to argue that legalizing same-sex « marriage » was a “threat to American democracy.”
Gorsuch’s criticism of Trump
It is understandable that Gorsuch would be circumspect during his confirmation hearings in response to questions about particular cases, but he has seemed to exhibit a pro-judicial arrogance, deferring too much to the reputations and status of justices who in very many cases in these times do not at all deserve such deference.
Many deserve harsh criticism, if not condemnation and censure. It is long overdue.
I was taken aback by Gorsuch’s publicly expressed rebuke of Donald Trump’s legitimate criticisms of the court ruling that rejected his first immigration Executive Order.
Trump accused the appellate court of being “so political.” He labeled a judge who ruled on his executive order a “so-called judge” and referred to the ruling as “ridiculous.”
Perhaps Trump should not have used the term “so-called judge,” but the ruling was indeed “ridiculous” and totally out-of-order. It clearly violated established presidential privilege and was a raw abuse of the powers of the court for partisan and ideological intentions.
It was about time someone in high authority called judicial activist justices to account. They have been destroying the rule of law in America and trashing the Constitution. For years they have been far overstepping their Constitutional authority.
Gorsuch told a senator that the president’s comments were “demoralizing and disheartening.” Did he really have to go that far? Why could he not have acknowledged that yes, there have been many very questionable rulings by activist judges in recent decades?
The Washington Post wrote that “Gorsuch ‘stated very emotionally and strongly his belief in his fellow judges’ integrity and the principle of judicial independence.”’ Really? All judges, given the many outrageous decisions we have seen?
Justice Scalia never held back and had no regard for popular opinions, political correctness or what the other justices thought about him. As well, his solid Catholic Christian formation taught him about right and wrong and his serious duty to the American people and to God to honor the Constitution and the intentions of the Founding Fathers. He was not perfect, but he frequently issued highly prinicipled legal opinions.
Gorsuch’s comment that Obergefell “is absolutely settled law » could be seen to have been insulting to judicial conservatives. I would go so far to say it indicated clear danger about how he would rule on the court – on certain issues.
Following are some of the stories that we published on the Obergefell decision:
Obergefell is so awful that it makes Dred Scott look like a piece of lawyerly precision
How Obergefell is Roe v. Wade redux
Obergefell: the states’ duty to seek rehearing
Trump undermined Justices Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alito in saying marriage issue ‘settled’
Serious questions about Gorsuch and homosexuality
There have also been other signs about Gorsuch that too many have tended to pooh-pooh as being significant. Well, they are important signs.
A Feb. 11 New York Times article indicated that Gorsuch is pro-homosexual. This may explain his excessively accepting comment on the Obergefell decision.
In a LifeSite article on the Times report, we noted,
“in his personal relationships with homosexual friends and co-workers, Judge Gorsuch has been very approving of homosexual relationships.”
Gorsuch also attends a socially liberal Episcopal church in Boulder, led by a pro-LGBT female pastor, Rev. Jill Springer, who reportedly supports homosexual “marriage.”
Matthew Hoffman, in his in-depth report on Gorsuch expands on Springer’s liberal excesses,
« According to an exposé published by the Daily Mail, she openly supports homosexual “marriage” and conducts blessings of same-sex couples, and attended the ultra-feminist “Women’s March on Washington” to protest the Trump presidency. She also denounced “criticism and disrespectful rhetoric” regarding Islam following the San Bernadino terrorist attack in 2015. The Washington Post’s own investigation of the parish also found that the pastor engages in leftist political activism. »
And yet, Hoffman reports,
« Gorsuch and his family are far from being mere passive participants in the church. Gorsuch himself serves as an usher, and his wife as a lector, and his two daughters have served as acolytes during worship services. »
« The Episcopal Church has also issued statements opposing any legal restrictions on the killing of the unborn, and holding that abortion can be justified in cases of risks to the physical or mental health of the mother, rape, incest, or fetal malformation. »
There is no way that Justice Scalia approved of homosexual relationships. He would never have regularly attended such a liberal Church as Gorsuch has and Scalia would have run from a parish with a pro-LGBT pastor that strongly supports homosexual “marriage” and opposes any legal restrictions on abortion.
Scalia, from his orthodox Catholic Christian formation and affiliation, knew right from wrong and was frequently outspoken about such matters when circumstances demanded it. He did not deprive those who needed to hear uncomfortable truths from the charity of those truths.
The LifeSite article on the NY Times report continued that,
… Gorsuch reacted when his close friend and former Harvard classmate Phil Berg told him that he had a « boyfriend. »
« He [Gorsuch] didn’t skip a beat, » Berg said, saying that the conversation led to a « special bond » between he and Gorsuch. « It was a huge deal for me, and it made a lasting impression. »
Similarly, the Harvard Crimson reports that Gorsuch offered Harvard classmate Berg « unwavering support » when Berg « came out » to him as homosexual.
Along the same lines, Joshua Goodbaum, a former clerk to Gorsuch, told the Times that his boss was “thrilled” for him and his “husband” when they got same-sex-“married” in 2014:
“He was actually kind of syrupy about it. I remember him saying, ‘You’re going to see how wonderful this is for your relationship,’’’ Goodbaum said.
Gorsuch is said to be a strong proponent of Natural Law. His above noted statements and actions on homosexuality defy that claim.
As well, no authentic, believing Christian would ever offer such affirmation to persons engaged in behavior that threatened serious emotional, psychological, and physical harm, and especially devastating spiritual harm.
I cannot remotely fathom Justice Antonin Scalia ever having been so blind to his sacred responsibility to his fellow man as Neil Gorsuch appeared to exhibit (if these quotes are true) in response to his friends with same-sex attractions.
I hope my concerns about Gorsuch are not as serious as they seem, but the things noted here cannot be ignored.
We must continue to pray for the best outcome for the next justice of the Supreme Court. May God’s will be done on this because of the crucial importance of this and future Supreme Court nominations for the welfare of the United States.
* For a balanced, thorough and well-researched report on Gorsuch written by LifeSite’s Matthew Hoffman before the confirmation hearings began, see « Neil Gorsuch: The new Scalia…or something else? »
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