WATCH: Cardinal Sarah Warns of Dangers of ‘Practical Atheism’ Even Within Church

More than 30 years ago, Pope St. John Paul II helped bring about the downfall of the Soviet Union, which had sought to impose its Communist atheism on his native Poland and the rest of the world.

“On one level, we won that war,” Cardinal Robert Sarah reflected in an address Thursday night at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Yet on another level, he added, that war “continues on a global and national level.” But instead of a hardened, ideological atheism, the foe today is a “practical atheism.” While it might not go so far as to deny that God exists, the senior African prelate explained, it deems him to be irrelevant to modern life.

In the decades since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, he said, this same “dangerous disease” has run roughshod across Europe, where the Catholic faith that for centuries shaped and defined not only the continent but Western civilization, is “dying or dead.” More worrisome to Cardinal Sarah, it has gained a foothold in the Church.

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