Speaking at the Europa Christi Congress in Poland Sunday, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments lamented that Europe's abandonment of the Faith is fueling the worldwide attack on the family.
Cardinal Sarah observed that the 1989 collapse of Communism seemed to herald a new dawn for Europe, as more than a dozen nations reclaimed their freedom.
But, he noted, Europe chose not to return to the Christian roots of its civilization. Instead, it began to build the institutions of the fledgling European Union on abstractions like "the free market, equality of individuals and individualist human rights." Its values sprang not from God but from man himself.
"Europe," Cdl. Sarah lamented, "built on faith in Christ, cut off from its Christian roots, is now in a period of quiet apostasy." And in "withdrawing from the Christian faith," Europe "does not know what it is or where it is going."
The cardinal underscored that Europe's falling away is not unfolding in isolation. Its impact is being felt globally.
"Europe's spiritual crisis has led to a serious anthropological crisis," he warned, which manifests most visibly in the accelerating attack on the family.
"Under the guise of fighting discrimination, some want to obliterate the difference between family and homosexual relationships, promoting very diverse models that are not based on a stable relationship between a man and a woman," Cdl. Sarah noted.
He explained that "if a homosexual relationship is recognized as a marriage and a family, then we will witness the disappearance of the [divine] image of man and of the human person."
Homosexualist and gender ideology afflict not just Europe, Sarah rightly observed, but the West as a whole and beyond.
The West, he explained, "Is undergoing a crisis, organizing a rebellion against God." And, unsatisfied with re-engineering their own societies, he said Western secularists are targeting traditional family structures in Africa and Asia.
In Africa, family "is the center of life. It's not just a relationship between a man and a woman but the relationship between families and clans. It is reinforced by common values, the time spent jointly and the marriage vow."
But the Western secularist "ideology of gender" distorts the true vision of the family, Cdl. Sarah said.
Efforts to impose these godless sexual norms on the developing world, the Church's chief liturgist suggested, is a new form of colonialism. By dictating gender ideology, the West is reducing Africa and Asia to ideological colonies.
"African governments have been forced to set up gender ministries. They are approached ... about homosexual marriages" and put under financial pressure. "These initiatives are aimed at killing the spirit of Africa."
While pointing to Europe as the epicenter and source of the crisis, Cdl. Sarah suggested that one corner of the continent may be called on to turn back the present darkness.
Poland must "bear witness that the heart of the nation is its culture and that the soul of this culture is faith in God. Poland must be a guardian of Europe, to warn Europe of the dangers resulting from the silent apostasy."
Poland, Cdl. Sarah declared — the land of St. Faustina, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Bd. Jerzy Popiełuszko and Pope St. John Paul II — must "promote Christocentric humanity in Europe today."
Poland's strength of faith has enabled the country "to face heroically different ideologies of evil in the past," and today gives it "the strength to face new anthropological and moral challenges."
If it is faithful to its baptism, Cdl. Sarah affirmed, "The Polish soul contains within itself the strength to resist the sirens of the new atheistic messianism."