Joan Lewis. Rome.

At 11 am Saturday, September 28, at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, celebrated Mass to mark the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination and the 40th of his ordination as a bishop. Scores of cardinals, bishops and priests concelebrated with the cardinal.
I was privileged to attend this very beautiful and meaningful Eucharist and to be present after Mass in the Paul VI Hall for the reception to which Cardinal Sarah invited his friends and colleagues. It was a joy to meet him, even if briefly, and to thank him for his life, his priesthood and his consistent defense of the faith.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, one of the concelebrants at Mass, joined the festivities at the Paul VI Hall and I felt blessed to have a few minutes with him as well.

I had a copy in Italian of Cardinal Sarah’s homily and followed along as he gave it during Mass. I was so moved by his extraordinary words about the priesthood, about the Eucharist that I decided to translate the entire homily into English and I offer it to you today to read and savor and share. You surely know a priest or two who would benefit enormously by the cardinal’s beautiful thoughts on the priesthood, and perhaps see his own priesthood in a new, almost divine light.

Your Eminences,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are here in St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the Eucharist, that is, to give thanks to the Lord on the occasion of my fiftieth anniversary of priestly Ordination and the fortieth anniversary of the Episcopate.

The heart of this celebration is Jesus Christ, the Heavenly High Priest … “holy, innocent, without blemish, separated from sinners and raised above the heavens” (Heb 7:26). But also the Virgin Mary, our Most Holy Mother, finds herself among us and invokes upon us the outpouring of the Spirit of Love, of Truth and Holiness.

Before having the joy and the privilege of offering you a brief meditation on the priesthood, starting from the biblical texts we have heard, let me first of all thank you, each and every one, from the bottom of my heart, as you have gathered here to surround me with your affection, your prayer and the strength of your Faith: I really need your Faith, the support of your friendship and your Christian fervor, to help me raise my gratitude to the Lord on this blessed day.

In fact, alone, I am too inadequate, too covered with miseries and sins. Alone, I am a no one who dares to present myself before God and express my immense gratitude for having called me to the priesthood and for the countless wonders that he has worked in me, in the course of my whole life. God amazes with his choices. He is wonderful and surprising in his generosity and in his love for each of us. This fiftieth is actually the anniversary of us all.

Listen to what he says to each of us today: “Before forming you in the womb, I knew you, before you came out into the light, I consecrated you; I have made you a prophet of the nations”(Jer 1: 5).
Here is what the Lord has been for me: I was born in a humble and poor environment like that of Nazareth and in an animist and pagan culture, and He made me a Christian, a priest and a Bishop.

Through baptism and priestly ordination he transformed me from nothing into his humble servant, into his beloved son. What I have become is truly the work of God and the fruit of the enormous sacrifices and heroic renunciations of Spiritan missionaries.

What I have become I also owe to my parents: Alexandre and Marie Claire. The priest – here is the most magnificent work, the most generous gift that God has given to humanity – is the most precious and inconceivable treasure that exists on earth: the Curé of Ars, Saint John-Mary Vianney was deeply convinced of it.
He said: “If we had faith, we would see God hidden in the priest like a light behind the glass, like wine mixed with water. How great is the priest! If he really understood (this), he would die. … God obeys him: he says two words and Our Lord descends from heaven at hearing this voice and closes himself in a small host.” The priest is “a man who stands in the place of God, a man who is clothed with all the powers of God. …Look at the power of the priest! His tongue makes God of a piece of bread!”

However, this happens only if we priests agree to be crucified with Christ, if each of us is ready to say, like Saint Paul, in the concrete web of our existence: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (cf .Gal 2.19-20). Christ, the Son of God, only through the Cross and at the end of an extraordinary descent into an abyss of humiliation, comes to confer on priests the divine power to celebrate the Eucharist and to tear men, his earthly brothers, from the slavery of sin and death, to make them partakers of his divinity.

The Eucharist takes place only if our life is marked by the Cross. According to St. Josemaría Escrivà, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the vital motivation of the priest, the pillar on which his priestly existence is built. In his motto he wrote it this way: “in laetitia nulla dies sine cruce: in joy, no day without the Cross”. The priest lives joy in its fullness in the Holy Mass, which is the raison d’être of his existence, what gives meaning to his life.
During the Mass, on the paten and in the chalice, the priest is close to the Host, he is truly before and together with our Lord Jesus Christ: Jesus looks at him and he looks at Jesus. Are we really fully aware of what the real presence of Christ himself really means before our eyes, under the Eucharistic species? During daily Mass the priest comes face to face with Jesus Christ and at that precise moment, he is identified, he becomes identified with Christ, becoming not only an Alter Christus, another Christ, but he is really Ipse Christus, Christ Himself. He is conscious of being invested by the Person of Christ himself, configured in a specific sacramental identification with the High Priest of the eternal Covenant (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia n.29).
St. Josemaria says again: “All priests – whether we are sinners or saints – when they celebrate Holy Mass are no longer themselves. They are Christ who renews his divine Calvary Sacrifice on the Altar.” In fact, on the altar I do not preside over anything, not even this Eucharist that gathers us here today. Although unworthily, Jesus is truly in me, I am Christ: what a terrifying statement! What a fearful responsibility! It makes me tremble with terror, but it is true: I am at the altar in His name and in His stead. It is in persona Christi that I consecrate the bread and wine, after having given him my body, my voice, my poor heart, profaned so many times by my many sins and that I ask him to purify.
On the eve of every Eucharistic celebration, the Virgin Mary, who welcomes us as children in her arms, prepares us herself and urges us to consign ourselves, soul and body, to Jesus Christ so that the miracle of the Eucharist may be fulfilled. The Cross, the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary shape, structure, nourish and consolidate our Christian and priestly life. You will understand why all Christians, but especially priests, must build their inner life on these three realities: CRUX – HOSTIA and VIRGO; Cross, Eucharist and Virgin Mary. The Cross makes us born into divine life. Without the Eucharist we cannot live and the Virgin watches over our spiritual development as a mother and educates us to grow in faith. Jesus reveals to us the secret of this heavenly food, in which His very flesh that nourishes us allows us to live in his own life, in the unheard-of intimacy of friendship with him. Priests and faithful Christians are truly Jesus’ friends.
The term “friend” introduces us to today’s Gospel. Jesus addresses these wonderful words to us: “You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I no longer call you servants … but I have called you friends, because all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you”(Jn 15,14-15). Of course, we often have the feeling of being useless servants (cf. Lk 17:10), an absolute and incontestable truth, but the Lord calls us his friends, he makes us his friends, he generously offers us his friendship.
Note that the Lord defines friendship by emphasizing two essential aspects. First of all He teaches us that among friends there are no secrets, friends say it all, with the utmost confidence and transparency. Precisely because we are his friends, the Lord told us priests what He learned from his Father. He then explains to us that friends trust each other blindly: Jesus therefore has complete trust in us and for this reason offers us a perfect knowledge of Himself and his Father, reveals his face and his heart to us, shows us his tenderness and his passionate love that will reach the folly of the cross.
He trusts us completely, giving us the power to speak on his name and in his place: for this we can say: “This is my Body … This is my Blood. Take it and eat it all … Take it and drink it all …”. He entrusts in our hands his body, his Church, the unfathomable mystery of the One and Triune God, the God who so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son as a ransom for many (Cf. Jn 3, 16; Mk 10:45).
If God has loved and chosen us, are we able to understand all the consequences that derive from being his friends and therefore introduced into his intimacy? Do we understand that if he has loved us and chosen us as priests, it is to go and bear much fruit? The Love, Friendship and Faith received from God must be revealed to others: we have received the faith to pass it on to others. We are priests to be humbly at the service of God and our brothers and sisters up to the oblation of our lives.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Pray for priests, pray for me, because today the priesthood is going through a deep crisis. In this Eucharist we entrust the Church and all priests to the maternal goodness of the Virgin Mary, our Mother and Mother of the Church. Once again, thank you very much for being present at this Mass of thanksgiving and God bless you. Amen.


He we see a cleric with full blown clericalism describing himself as

A man who stands in God’s place.

A man clothed with all God’s powers.

How great is the priest.

God obeys the priest.

Two words from the priest and God is forced down from heaven to lie at the priests hands.

The priest’s tongue turns God into a piece of bread.

At the consecration of the Mass the priest is ipse Christus – Christ himself.

What a dangerous medieval theology this African has?

To go from being a bush baby to being ipse Christus – Christ himself.

I am just waiting to hear Cardinal Sarah announce a new dogma


This is clericalism at its essence – The priest is God and God must be obeyed.


After everything that has happened (every public revelaton of child rape and sodomy by these precious men of God, every revelation of their cover-up by these very men, every sordid exposure of personal and financial corruption, hedonism, and God-knows-what-else), these disgusting Romanist creeps will not humble themselves, but choose obdurately to remain upon their clericalist plinths, not just expecting, not just asking, but behoving the lay faithful to express to God never-ending gratitude… for the gift of these monsters of self-aggrandisement.
I think even Satan must be open mouthed at such flagrant Romanist arrogance.
But still, thank you Cardinal Sarah: you will simply have strengthened determination to turn backs on the Romanist priesthood, in utter and irreversible disgust, as one would turn from freshly defacated dog shit on a public footpath.
I can’t wait for all the ‘good’ priests I’m told exist to disavow PUBLICLY and OPENLY this kind of priestly self-adulation, the seedbed of the criminality and scandals that have slowly been poisoning the Church for years now.
Yes, I can’t wait. 😕


Bishop Pat, whenever you have spoken of the priesthood in the past it has been edifying. When you make comments like these, about someone who is expressing his love for the same reality, using a more pious language it lets you down. The unique role of the priest has to be acknowledged and it doesn’t take from the equally immense dignity of the Baptised.


What a load of tripe. This guy has it bad. He needs to look up the meaning of the word HUMILITY. We would not be able to find a bigger pedestal than the one this guy puts himself on. They will never ever get it. They just cannot move from Clericalism. What a very sad sad Clerical Boys club it is.

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Tom Surlis is suffering from Collins’s bad behavior. Collins has reverted to more disturbing behavior patterns.


I hope that Tom Surlis is being allowed to do his job and not being blocked by the disgraced old guard.


Looks like something from an old flash Gordon film hi. Whatever the theology yon cardinal is forgetting about sacrament no 8 the church. But perhaps his heart is in th right place. Is he on the planet of the daleks. Dr who knows hi


Define ‘clericalism’ cos its an overloaded word.
Priest represent christ but he is not god. Priests are only human beings with flaws. Its dangerous notion that any priest is god. The only thing that priest has is his hands that is it. I experienced healing from one priest now deceased.

Problem with priests who think they are god or special would turn into judge, jury and executioner as they deals with people. Heard one story of one priest who sent a woman into mental hospital based on his word/judgement. His word was sacred etc as hospital beleived his word NOT hers..

The was nothing wrong with that woman who got 6 ‘A’ in her exams (leaving) which her. priest didnt believe her. So she was sent to Mental hospital and came out and lived up to age of 93.

That very thing that led priests to being special and above the rest (ie God) is a very dangerous notion. That said, it could lead to right wing ideas, unaccountable check of their power, authoritarian ( example of this is infalliablity),extreme views , collusion with the evil forces such as the fascists such as Mussloini,vichy regime, Pavelic.Even they celebrated Hitler’s birthday. How sick was the German bihops/Popes that time?

It led me to conclude that Vatican ‘s thoughts are fascists, homprobia, anti disabled, discriminatory even though some of them are homesexuxals (pope PPVI ?). Their pious words mean MOTHING as its their actions that DEFINE them.

Feel that ‘whore of Babylon ‘ is that of the Vatican itself.


Is it any wonder that this kind of priestly superiority leads so many in to believing they can do what the want and not be accountable ? We have seen the results. Sara should be ashamed of himself touting such dangerous nonsense.


Conor Gannon, or any seminarian / ex seminarian is welcome to tell his truth here on this blog.


Monsignor Ciara tried to get the seminarians to sign a confidentiality agreement…they refused.
The whole thing stinks Pat


10.37: Their biggest mistake wiuld be to tell you anything, Pat. You’d only abuse their experiences for your own agenda. You’d drop them like hit potatoes after their uselessness to you. You exoit other people’s stories, vulnerabilities and emotional frailties a’ll too often. I trust these men will have wisdom both to approach you. You are not at all genuine or sincere in your motivations.


You would be quite shocked to learn of those who have approached me and had their issues resolved without mention on this blog.

Depending on the issue I operate BOTH ABOVE AND BELOW the radar.


Pious triumphalist clericalist claptrap, an ideology which has fueled the Rcc ‘crisis’, and is now bringing the Rcc to its knees. Some of these people seem to think, they can trump God.


Hi Pat.

It’s sad to see you write, “I am just waiting to hear Cardinal Sarah announce a new dogma The dogma that GOD IS NOW THE POPE’S VICAR IN HEAVEN.”
And you an ordained priest!
BLACK MARK, Buckley.
Don’t you know that it’s official RC teaching already?
The Pope is Head of ALL Catholics; on Earth, in Heaven and in Purgatory. That’s the significance of the three crowns on the Papal Tiara.
Even in Heaven God will still rule Catholics by way of the Pope.
The Roman Catholic asserts that it is the only earthy organisation not to lose members by mortality.
I heard that from a priest around twenty years ago, at an evening talk to laypeople.
I won’t name the cleric but he was one of the staff at Allen Hall, probably one of the better ones, and a very decent sensible man.
He was saying it as the Magisterium. the Party Line. I got the idea it might not have thought so himself.


What a load of rubbish ! Truly. I sincerely doubt if God himself believes it. He’s probably having a good laugh at the stupidity of people like you and Sara. Papal Crown, my arse !


Anonymous 19th Nov 2019 — 4:21 pm, said = “What a load of rubbish ! … Papal Crown, my arse !”
The people posting here are certainly weak on their theology!
You’ll be saying next that the Holy Father doesn’t have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Pope of Rome must rule over the entire Church – Militant, Triumphant and Suffering – or else how could he give out Indulgences and how could his clergy move the dead from Purgatory to Heaven, by saying Masses?
And while it’s been dropped (not that long ago) from Denzinger’s Enchiridiion it’s probably still officially HERESY to deny that if the Pope were to excommunicate a dead man already in Heaven then God would have to put him out and send him to Hell.


The Enniskillen curate knows a lot about the Irish College…….if the walls in his room could talk. Phew!!!


I am not publishing your comments because I do not let people, especially clerics, try to bully and intimidate me. Simplest 😊


Next Saturday Cardinal Sarah will have reached the five-year mark in his current role.

Cardinal Müller will be able to tell him a thing or two about that significant moment.


Just checking on your recent postings: according to screen captures sent to us, the original title for this blog contained a reference to a ‘watering hole’, a ‘glory hole’ and the term ‘Africano’ (a disparaging term for native populations used in the past by Irish missionaries). The implication behind the expression ‘glory hole’ is clear, but the use of ‘watering hole’ is still opaque. Was this intended as a further racist trope? What prompted this change?


The charity Water Assistance International – AAI – asked me to remove the reference to the water hole and of course I acquiesced


Does this man truly believe this clap trap? This is a cult. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is symptomatic of everything that these idiots believe. Yeh right Cardinal. And all those abusers out there in your ranks were sent to us by God and all your cover up merchants are taking the place of God as well ! I need to lie down in a darkened room and tell myself that this is all a bad nightmare!!


Bishop Pat, is it true that the SPR is trying to branch out in N. Ireland?We hear the Father General of SPR (an organisation a tad dormant of late) is keen to branch out here. Their motto apparently is dossing.


My understanding is that they are having an annual convention in a Ballymena hotel as we speak?


Bishop Pat, how did you know about the Ballymena event? You know too much. It had lots of great food and beverages. You obviously had a tip off. I hear they are trying to encourage you into the SPR!


I need very little encouragement 😊

Is the president wearing his cerise mozetta in Ballymena tonight?


He’s wearing the said mozetta and pontificating. They want to make you an honouray member Bishop Pat. Any other Cleric can apply to the Father General via the blog. Canon McSweeney would highly approve, the founder.


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