The prominent African Cardinal Robert Sarah said in a recent address in Belgium that by forgetting its Christian roots the West is committing suicide, “because a tree without roots is condemned to death.”
In his meeting in Brussels in early February, the outspoken prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments had strong words both for the leaders of European nations and for certain cardinals and bishops who distort the Catholic faith.
“Not only is the West losing its soul, but it is committing suicide, because a tree without roots is condemned to death,” Sarah said. “I think the West cannot renounce its roots, which have created its culture, its values.”
The signs of this suicide are everywhere, the Guinean cardinal declared, and all boil down to a loss of the sense of the dignity of the person as well as a loss of respect for God and his laws.
“There are chilling things happening in the West,” he said. “I think that a parliament that authorizes the death of an innocent, defenseless child commits a serious act of violence against the human person.”
“When abortion is imposed, especially in developing countries, saying that if they do not accept it, they will receive any more aid, it is violence,” he continued.
This is all to be expected, he said, since the West has also lost its sense of the divine.
“When one has abandoned God, one abandons man, one no longer has a clear vision of man,” he said. “There is a great anthropological crisis in the West today. And this leads to treating people as objects.”
The cardinal said that some Church leaders are also at fault in this suicide of the West, accusing certain high-ranking prelates from “opulent nations” of perverting Christian doctrine regarding life and marriage.
“High-ranking prelates, especially from opulent nations, are working to bring about changes in Christian morality concerning absolute respect for life from conception to natural death, the problem of the divorced and civilly remarried, and other problematic situations,” he said.
“The great drift became evident when some prelates or Catholic intellectuals began to give ‘a green light for abortion’ or ‘a green light for euthanasia’ in their speeches and writings. Now, from the moment that Catholics abandon the teaching of Jesus and the Magisterium of the Church, they contribute to the destruction of the natural institution of marriage as well as the family and it is now the entire human family that finds itself fractured by this new betrayal on the part of priests,” he said.
Cardinal Sarah has been called the “standard bearer for Catholic orthodoxy” and was the world’s youngest bishop in 1979, when Pope John Paul II summoned him for episcopal ordination at only 34 years of age. He is now one of the most important cardinals in the Church, and his name often comes up on the short list of “papabili”—or papal candidates to eventually succeed Pope Francis.