The African cardinal who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship has high hopes for the Church on his continent — he believes that it can bring about the renewal of the family across the globe. “I have absolute confidence in African culture,” Cardinal Robert Sarah told the Catholic weekly La Croix du Benin. “I have absolute confidence in the faith of the African people, and I am sure Africa will save the family. Africa saved the Holy Family (during the Flight to Egypt) and in these modern times Africa will also save the human family,” the cardinal said Aug. 19 during a national Marian pilgrimage at Dassa-Zoumè. Originally from Guinea, Cardinal Sarah chose be in Benin, one of the countries of his native Africa, during the launch of his new interview book in Rome. Entitled “God or Nothing,” the book is a conversation between the cardinal and French journalist Nicolas Diat. “God or Nothing” covers numerous topics, ranging from political questions to the sex abuse scandal in the Church to the post-modern world’s relationship to God. Reflecting on whether democracy is an inherently Christian system, Cardinal Sarah responded, “Without a doubt there is a Christian conception of the equality of human beings,” adding that “a democracy that contributes to the integral development of man cannot subsist without God.” One chapter of his book, entitled “Cornerstones and false values,” is dedicated to the family and addresses various pastoral challenges such as the defense of life and marriage. Concerning the divorced and remarried, the cardinal said: “(T)hey find themselves in a situation that objectively contradicts the law of God.” He also voiced concern about “gender ideology,” saying, “My worry is that this is due more to certain governments and international organizations that are trying to impose this philosophy any way they can, sometimes forcibly.” Ordained a priest in 1969, Cardinal Sarah became the youngest bishop in the world 10 years later. Pope John Paul II called him to Rome in 2002 to serve as the Secretary for the Evangelization of Peoples. Pope Benedict XVI selected him as president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in 2010, and in 2014 Pope Francis appointed him head of the Vatican dicastery on the liturgy.
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