Robert Cardinal Sarah spoke last month in Paris at Église Saint François-Xavier as part of his tour for The Day is Far Spent, his latest book:
To refuse God the possibility of entering into all the aspects of human life results in man condemning himself to solitude. He becomes nothing but an isolated individual, without origin or destiny. He is doomed to wander the world like a nomadic barbarian, without knowing that he is the son and heir of a Father who created him in love and calls him to share eternal happiness with him.
Behold modern man: alone, wandering about in a field of ruins. This is what I found yesterday when I visited Notre-Dame in ruins.
The spiritual crisis I describe involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. Rejection of God was conceived in Western minds. The current spiritual disaster thus has distinctively Western features. In particular, I would like to emphasize the rejection of fatherhood. Our contemporaries are convinced that, in order to be free, one must not depend on anybody. There is a tragic error in this. Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices.
This understanding of dependence and transmission was deeply etched into the hearts of those who built Notre-Dame. They worked for decades and centuries, for their descendants, in many cases without seeing the end of their work for themselves. They knew they were heirs and wanted to transmit their heritage.
Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalization in which individual interests confront one another without any law to govern them besides profit at any price.