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God or Nothing

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  632 ratings  ·  93 reviews

"The idea of putting Magisterial teaching in a beautiful display case while separating it from pastoral practice, which then could evolve along with circumstances, fashions, and passions, is a sort of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology. I therefore solemnly state that the Church in Africa is staunchly opposed to any rebellion against the teaching of Jesus and of

Kindle Edition, 285 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by Ignatius Press (first published February 2015)
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Dean I'm only 35 pages in, but I would say it is very accessible to the lay person. The book is in interview format, and Cardinal Sarah gives erudite and…moreI'm only 35 pages in, but I would say it is very accessible to the lay person. The book is in interview format, and Cardinal Sarah gives erudite and concise answers that show the reader the depth and beauty of his own journey and the faith in general. (less)

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Julie Davis
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I began this after a conversation with friends about the Catholic Church in Africa. I expected the entire thing to be biography, but the last 2/3 or so was Cardinal Sarah answering questions about the global Church today, evangelization, and connecting with God. As a result it was informative and inspirational in equal measures. Cardinal Sarah frequently quoted Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis which made for an interesting juxtaposition of papal styles, all with the same ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
How much I regret not reading this when it first came out! Or at least before now. There is much in it which is timeless and I would give those parts a clear hands-down 5 stars, but towards the end, there is also material relating to the clerical abuse scandals which is already historically-dated and appears well, hopefully optimistic? Innocent, even. It shows what a good and holy man he is. I tried reading some of it and then found it too difficult. I may come back to this again later. Kept ...more
Friar Stabin John Capuchin
We are living in a world where we see from every corner of the earth has doubts about the Christian vocation. Many questions are asked from various corners of the world. The holiness of the Christian priesthood and religious life have been questioned day by day. Though inside the seminary many eyes and mouths are reached up to us asking the same questions, challenging the vocations, mocking our decisions to adhere to God's call. I received the answer for all these from God through the book "God ...more
John O'Brien
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the most profound reflections on the state of the Church I have read in decades. More than that, Cardinal Sarah exhibits the spiritual vision of man of deep prayer and scholarship. The sections on contemplation are alone worth the book. In interview format, the book covers his childhood in the African nation of Guinea, his conflicts as archbishop with the dictator, and his eventual appointment to Rome. Cardinal Sarah shows himself to be one of the most literate, incisive, balanced, and ...more
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read-list
Absolutely spectacular read. Beginning with an account of his own upbringing in Africa, Cardinal Sarah touches on all aspects of the Church's life. He speaks with wisdom, consideration of the poor, and the strength and heroism of a man of God. His life is not about a particular ideology, but only the proclamation of the Gospel.

Africa is not mission territory. Africa is the missionaries. Let us hope they can have effect soon.
Luke Stamps
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Part memoir, part commentary on the state of the Church and of global Christianity, this wonderful book has so many highlightable lines you'll need a new system to underscore the really, really profound things Cardinal Sarah has to say. As a Protestant reader, I would obviously differ with some of Cardinal Sarah's teachings. And some sections are more germane to insider-Catholic conversations, but none of it was irrelevant, since the challenges facing Christianity in the twenty-first century cut ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
Cardinal Sarah's inspiring life story is a great read for anyone who wants to understand the Catholic church from a more global perspective. It also includes a great wealth of information about the teachings of the Church and the legacies of the several Popes prior to Francis, along with wonderful quotations from Scripture and Encyclicals, which Cardinal Sarah applies to all aspects of the faith, including sin, scandals, and helping the poor. I read this with my book club, and it sparked lots of ...more
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
A very good read, especially if you are a passionate Catholic and know a fair bit about the ins and outs of Catholic doctrine and theology. The story of Robert Cardinal Sarah's life is amazing, but the emphasis on doctrine can make this book somewhat of a slow read at times.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Third attempt at my review:
My first two reviews were deleted [not by me] and didn't 'save'.

Robert Cardinal Sarah is rumored to be someone who could be a future Pope of the Catholic Church With that in mind, I read this book, subtitled: A conversation on Faith with Nicolas Diat.

The format involves Diat asking questions of the Cardinal and his [mostly] lengthy responses. For instance, Do you think that John Paul 11 was a prophet? But many issues are discussed in the book that interest most
John Ray Catingub
Cardinal Sarah has quite the upstanding reputation in modern Catholicism. From a humble upbringing, a struggle against antagonist government in his early years of ministry, a catapulting to places of religious power, that the cardinal has retained his fidelity to Christ and the Church, espousing and promoting orthodoxy and adherence to the magisterium, prove that he is one of the good princes of the Church. Amid compromising bishops and cardinals, and the push of modernism and aggressive ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book. Beautiful man.

I heard recently that Africa will be the key to redemption of the Catholic Church. I believe Cardinal Sarah may be leading this revolution. Obviously written not long before the real extent of the scandals unfolded but a reflection of a very smart man with a heart for God.

I wish I was half the man of Cardinal Sarah, such an intellectual man of wisdom, faith, hope & love with exceptional knowing.

Much of the intellect and depth of this book is beyond my reach but
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by what I read in this book. I had only heard about Cardinal Robert Sarah. Not only did I come to know about his life, but it was put together in such a way that I believe it is helpful for spiritual growth. There's a great deal of info about the various popes and their work to protect the teachings of the Church and the care they have for God's people. Also, many of the saints are quoted which clarifies Church teaching. This was a selection for our spiritual book ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I know theology isn't everybody's thing and there's plenty of hot-button topics in here. But there's one very simple reason you should read this wide-ranging interview with Robert Cardinal Sarah, who grew up in a colonial Guinean village and today is close to the top of one of the world's oldest and largest organizations.

This man could very much one day be the first modern Pope from Africa.

Now that's what I call meritocracy.
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent glimpse into a very holy prelate of the Catholic Church. Amazing life story from a tribal youth to priest to bishop and now Cardinal, which I personally hope will ascend even higher. Timely as he presents the challenges the church is confronting today and frequently makes the point that we (the church) have been here before. The theological virtues are the key ingredients for both the clergy and the laity to overcome the materialism of our culture aka modernism.
Kevin Hughes
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, vatican
Make this man Pope! Ha ha.

The book was very good, especially on the topic of personal prayer, where it was inspiring to me. Yet it was also full of good content about the theological and philosophical outlook of the modern world, and of the Church itself.

I finished it feeling that I should read it again soon in order to absorb all the good content better, so I think that's worthy of a rare four-star rating.
Maria Koshute
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very thought-provoking, inspirational, and moving book. So many passages to underline and meditate on. Only criticism is that the interview format seemed to be a bit disjointed and repetitive...I felt like it could have been organized more succinctly. But still, would highly recommend for the exceptional content.
Elizabeth Krump
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A triumphant encounter with truth. Cardinal Sarah deftly answers the most troubling questions facing the Church today with clarity and an almost unnerving boldness that constantly points back to Christ. He lifts the Western reader out of a fascination with ourselves and our Western ‘issues’ and paints a much more multidimensional image of the Church and therefore, of Christ himself.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every Catholic needs to read this book. If you want to understand matters of faith, Church teaching, the beauty of Church Encyclicals, Catholicism in the news, how to live your life - this book has it all.

The interview style takes a chapter or two to get used to. Cardinal Robert Sarah is a very holy man, with a story you want to hear and a faith you want to share in.
Eye-opening and inspiring.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: catholic
A series of questions and answers. The Cardinal is an impressive guy. He does not hold the "West" in high regard. Faith in Africa is much different- more real.

The title is appropriate.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful presentation of the deep faith and spirituality of such a holy man.
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wish I could give it 10 stars. What a wonderful exposition of faith!
Chris H Koerber
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is done in an interview format; co-author Nicholas Diat asks questions of Robert Cardinal Sarah and the answers just keep coming; calling for us to live our lives in a much closer life to our Lord.

From p. 280, an excerpt:
“...How can we ignore the sorrowful cry of the prophet Isiah: The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart, devout men are taken away, while no one understands.” (Isiah 57:1)

While Christians are dying for their faith and their fidelity to Jesus, in the
Daniel Tanner
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
If I have one minor complaint it's that there's a lot of repetition from chapter to chapter where the interviewer essentially asks the same question but in a slightly different way or different context. But overall, this was an interesting biography which really gives you a unique view of the recent happenings in the Catholic Church and its struggles in the modern era.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“While Christians are dying for their faith and their fidelity to Jesus, in the West, men of the Church are trying to reduce the requirements of the Gospel to a minimum.”

And there’s a lot more where that came from
Jessica Sadowski
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it

Accessible combo of autobiography and commentary on the church past and present. Cardinal Sarah proves to be a grounded, level-headed, orthodox thinker. We should all pray for his continued active involvement in the church leadership.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic
I am in awe of this humble, straight-talking man. There can be no doubt that God did take him by the hand for a purpose. The book description pretty much says it all. I appreciated most his discussion on silence and prayer.
Jason Townsend
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is basically just a transcript of an interview the author did with the subject. That said, Cardinal Sarah is an extremely interesting subject, and the interview covers a wide array of subjects in which Sarah offers many illuminating and inspiring insights into.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cardinal Sarah is amazing. I highly recommend this book. This man is a prophet.
Tom Swift
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring words from Cardinal Sarah.
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Cardinal Robert Sarah is a Guinean prelate of the Catholic Church.
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“We need priests who are men of the interior life, “God’s watchmen” and pastors passionately committed to the evangelization of the world, and not social workers or politicians.” 9 likes
“Unfortunately, it is easier to destroy a country than to rebuild it.” 7 likes
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