Seventeen cardinals have published four (4) important new books defending Church teachings on marriage and the family, ahead of the upcoming Synod of the Family in October.
The new books are:
- “God or Nothing”, by Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the congregation for divine worship
- “Preferential Option for the Family”, by Bishops Aldo di Cillo Pagotto, Robert Vasa, and Athanasius Schneider; with preface by Jorge Arturo Cardinal Medina Estévez of Chile, the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
- “Christ’s New Homeland – Africa: A Contribution to the Synod on the Family by African Pastors”, a collection of essays written by around 11 African bishops/archbishops, 7 of whom are Cardinals including: Robert Cardinal Sarah, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Christian Cardinal Tumi, Théodore Cardinal Sarr, Archbishop Samuel Kleda
- “Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family”, a collection of essays defending the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage and the family. Contributors include: Cardinals Sarah, Carlo Caffarra, Baselios Cleemis, Paul Josef Cordes, Dominik Duka, Joachim Meisner, Camillo Ruini, Antonio María Rouco Varela, Willem Jacobus Eijk, John Onaiyekan, and Jorge L. Urosa Savino
Ignatius Press, publisher of the book by the 11 cardinals, describe the book as a preparation for the Synod of Bishops:
11 Cardinals from around the world have written powerful essays on some of the problems to be discussed: the challenge of providing adequate marriage preparation in a secularized world; the need for evangelization and conversion; the relationship between charity and truth; the situation of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics; and the demands of authentic pastoral care.
Ignatius Press furthermore says that the authors of the new book “understand that doctrine and pastoral ministry are not opposed to one another…they carefully steer a wise and merciful course that engages genuine concerns, while avoiding false compassion, which compromises both truth and authentic love.”
The book has also been described as a sort of follow-up to the book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ. Marriage and communion in the Catholic Church.” The book collected the contributions of five cardinals, and was a response to Cardinal Walter Kasper’s opening address at the February 2014 consistory, when he called for the Church to open its doors to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist.
The book “God or Nothing” by Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was introduced in Regensburg, Germany by no less than Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. The preface to the German edition was written by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the pontifical household and personal secretary to Benedict XVI.
The Pope emeritus himself expressed his appreciation to Cardinal Sarah, writing among other things: “I have read God or Nothing with great spiritual profit, joy, and gratitude. Its courageous answers to the problems of gender theory clear up in a nebulous world a fundamental anthropological question.”
Of the almost four hundred pages in the book, only a few deal with the synod on the family. But they have made an impression through the clearness and lucidity with which they oppose the proponents of change in marriage doctrine and pastoral care who have their most prominent representative in Cardinal Walter Kasper.
In June of 2015, five cardinals and forty-five bishops representing fifty African countries met in Accra, Ghana, to prepare for the October 2015 Synod on the Family.
In his opening remarks—included in the book “Christ’s New Homeland: Africa” —Robert Cardinal Sarah encouraged the bishops of Africa to “speak with one voice” during the synod:
I encourage you to speak with clarity and with one credible voice and with filial love of the Church. Be conscious of the mission of the Church; protect the sacredness of marriage which is now being attacked by all forms of ideologies that intend to destroy the family in Africa. Do not be afraid to stress the teaching of the Church on marriage.
In a major six-page interview released during the same period in the French magazine Famille Chrétienne , Cardinal Sarah said:
At the synod next October we will address, I hope, the question of marriage in an entirely positive manner, seeking to promote the family and the values that it bears. The African bishops will act to support that which God asks of man concerning the family, and to receive that which the Church has always taught. . . . Why should we think that only the Western vision of man, of the world, of society is good, just, universal? The Church must fight to say no to this new colonization.