Cardinal Sarah & Chartres


I have long wanted to get to Chartres for the Paris-Chartres Pilgrimage, which occurs every year on the Feast of Pentecost in early summer, and is a multi-generational, multi-national gathering of Catholics who draw closer to God through the centuries-old act of pilgrimage.

The walk is roughly 62 miles over 3 days—beginning at daybreak on the Saturday before Pentecost, and ending with an afternoon mass on the Monday after Pentecost. The trek takes approximately 8,000-15,000 pilgrims from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, through the French countryside to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres. Participants brave the weather, blisters, and humble food and accommodations as an act of faith and an act of reparation in these modern times.

My good friend Counter Cultural Father does it every year and usually writes a series of blogs recounting his experiences. He hasn't posted this year's yet, but keep checking his page for updates!

I am generally excluded from joining in due to my commitment with the Parish Confirmation Course, but I may well have a window next year, as we are due an episcopal visitation, which may well mean that Confirmations will not be on the feast of Pentecost itself and I can get away for the long walk from Paris to Chartres.

As I reported in December, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship, offered the Pontifical High Mass in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres on May 21, 2018. He is a native of Conakry, Guinea, and was ordained a priest of that archdiocese in 1969 and then made archbishop there in 1979. Since 2001 he has been serving in the Roman Curia.

This has huge resonance, but extraordinarily, there's very little mention of it in any of the usual publications. Those who cry about the youth in the Church appear largely silent about the 10,000+ young pilgrims who marched through France at the weekend. Or the fact that Cardinal Sarah, a curial Cardinal no less, who recently suffered a public correction from the Pope, is going to celebrate probably the most high profile solemn high pontifical Mass for 15,000+ pilgrims!

It seems to me that Cardinal Sarah is a hugely important leader for these times in our Church. I don't know about you, but as I get older I increasingly look for Christ and not innovation. My heart is for Christ, I want to convert my life to Christ, to put Him at the centre and conform my life to Him. 

Cardinal Sarah seems to unflinchingly represent this vision of the Church: unfailing, undaunted, unflinching Christianity.

Pope Francis is going out to the peripheries, the effects of his dismantling of the papacy are devastating. His "victory" may be that some people are less offended by Catholicism, but these people will never convert to Christ. All he can achieve is a kind of appeasement. Modern secularism will never be happy until the Church is destroyed. Meanwhile the damage being done is, as Fr Longnecker pointed out yesterday:
Pope Francis is undermining his own ministry and that of the papacy.
People say the Pope reaches out to people and draws them to the Church, but I do not think this is what the Pope should do. Vatican II teaches that it is our job to Evangelise the world, in our work, in the way we live our faith, in our homes (this is especially and increasingly pertinent today). The Pope's job is to hold and teach the faith in perpetuity until the Parousia.

If Cardinal Sarah were Pope, what a formidable Church we would be? A Church that stood firm against the cultural melee, a Church that teaches truth and certainty in a confused and troubled world. Empowered and confirmed in our faith, our bishops, our priests and us lay people could then go out with renewed joy and vigour to preach the Gospel! Listen to his homily; how Catholic it is! How beautiful and refreshing to hear. When Pope Francis prevaricates and compromises the truth of Marriage, or the truth of human sexuality, what does the world hear? I would suggest it hears "I'm not sure". Cardinal Sarah believes the faith, he lives the faith, he is convinced of the truth of the faith. I humbly submit that these are essential criteria for any leader in the Church: to know the faith, to love Jesus Christ, to believe the faith. How different to what we have at the moment; a Pope that merely adds to the confusion.

We do not have a vote as lay Catholics in the next conclave, but we do have our Rosaries! So get praying friends!





Apply for the pilgrimage next year here and maybe I will see you on the road!


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