In a Washington prayer breakfast Tuesday, a high-ranking Vatican cardinal denounced same-sex marriage, transgender bathroom laws, and attacks on the family as “demonic.”
In his forceful address, Cardinal Robert Sarah (pictured), who runs the Vatican’s powerful liturgical department, said that these are “portentous times” for the Church and for the world, while slamming gender theory as “ideological colonization” and decrying the “insidious” dismantling of religious freedom in the United States.
Regarding same-sex marriage, Sarah said that what is at stake is not an ideological war about “abstract ideas” but rather the protection of “ourselves, children, and future generations from a demonic ideology that says children do not need mothers and fathers.”
The outspoken African cardinal, who has been dubbed “a standard bearer for Catholic orthodoxy,” was the world’s youngest bishop in 1979, when Pope John Paul II summoned him to don the miter at only 34 years of age.
He is now one of the most important cardinals in the Church, as the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, and his name often comes up on the short list of “papabili”—or papal candidates to eventually succeed Pope Francis.
As keynote speaker at the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast held in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Cardinal Sarah said that modern society has descended to the point that “good becomes evil, beauty is ugly, love becomes the satisfaction of sexual primal instincts, and truths are all relative.”
“The battle to preserve the roots of mankind is perhaps the greatest challenge our world has faced since its origins,” Sarah told the large crowd that included numerous Catholic bishops and members of Congress.
“The legalization of same-sex marriage, the obligation to accept contraception within healthcare programs, and even ‘bathroom bills’ that allow men to use the women’s restrooms and locker rooms. Should not a biological man use the men’s restroom? How simpler can that concept be?” he asked.
Sarah said that cohabitation and same-sex unions are “distorted impositions of the family” and together with separation and divorce leave “a deep wound that closes the heart to self-giving love” while often leading to “cynicism and despair.”
These situations “cause damage to the little children through inflicting upon them a deep existential doubt about love,” the cardinal said. “They are a scandal—a stumbling block—that prevent the most vulnerable from believing in such love.”
The cardinal also criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for imposing same-sex marriage on the nation, observing that it “can never be a truthful solution” but is rather “like putting bandages on the infected wound.”
“All manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, but even promoted as a social good,” Sarah said. “The result is hostility to Christians, and, increasingly, religious persecution.”
“I encourage you to truly make use of the freedom willed by your founding fathers, lest you lose it,” the cardinal said.
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