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BELGIUM, February 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – High-level prelates looking to change Catholic Church teaching on life, marriage, and the family are guilty of a “new betrayal,” said Cardinal Robert Sarah.  

Such clerics “contribute to the destruction of the natural institution of marriage as well as the family,” he said in a talk to a church full of people during his February 6-7 visit to Belgium. His remarks were translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino. 

Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, accused some unnamed top-ranking prelates of “working to cause modifications to Christian morality.”

“Some high-ranking prelates, above all those coming from opulent nations, are working to cause modifications to Christian morality with regard to the absolute respect for life from conception until natural death, the question of the divorced and civilly remarried, and other problematic family situations,” he said. 

“These ‘guardians of the faith’ however ought not to lose sight of the fact that the problem posed by the fragmentation of the ends of marriage is a problem of natural morality,” he continued.  

“The great derivations became manifest when some prelates or Catholic intellectuals began to say or write ‘a green light for abortion,’ ‘a green light for euthanasia.’ 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 which finds itself fractured by this new betrayal on the part of priests,” he added. 

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The Cardinal referenced Humanae Vitae,  an encyclical issued 50 years ago that many have found to be prophetic in its prediction of destruction in society owing to the advent of artificial contraception.

“The Church needs to turn to the encyclical Humanae Vitae of Paul VI as well as to the teachings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI on these vital questions for the human race,” said Sarah. 

“The Church needs to affirm with strength and without ambiguity the Magisterial weight of all of this teaching, display clearly its continuity (with the Tradition) and protect this treasure from the predators of this world without God in which we live,” he said. 

The cardinal made his remarks before a full church with several senior Belgian churchmen present, including Cardinal Jozef De Kesel archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Belgium’s apostolic nuncio and Abbot Philippe Mawet, the Church’s local head of the French-speaking pastoral ministry. 

The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Sarah has several times made forthright statements in support of Catholic principles, most recently calling upon Catholics to return to receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling.

His upholding of Church teaching in both the areas of doctrine and liturgy has drawn liberal ire and apparent rebuke from other Church leaders

While in Belgium, Cardinal Sarah also gave an interview with Catholic media outlet Cathobel in which he was also critical of Church leadership for departing from the Church’s teaching to remain relevant in today’s culture.

He said the Church today should face up to important questions, but especially to “her fidelity to Jesus, to his Gospel, to the teaching which she has always received from the first popes, from the councils…and this is not evident, because the Church desires to adapt herself to the cultural context, to modern culture.”

“Faith has become lacking, not only on the level of the people of God but also among those responsible for the Church,” Sarah said. “Sometimes we can ask ourselves if we really have faith.”

The deficiency of faith is killing Western culture, he added.

“Not only is the West losing its soul, but it is committing suicide, because a tree without roots is condemned to death,” he said. “I think that the West cannot renounce its roots, which created its culture and its values.” 

Cardinal Sarah continued that, “There are chilling things happening in the West.” He criticized governments who hold foreign aid over the heads of developing nations for their acceptance of abortion.

“I think that a parliament which authorizes the death of an innocent baby, without defense, is committing a grave act of violence against the human person,” he said. “When abortion is imposed, especially on nations in the developing world, saying that if they do not accept it they will no longer receive aid, it is an act of violence.”

This comes from forsaking God, said Cardinal Sarah, and leads to objectifying human beings.

“And it is no surprise. When God is abandoned, man is also abandoned; there is no longer a clear vision of who man is,” he said. “This is a great anthropological crisis in the West. And it leads to people being treated like objects.”