In his first interview since Pope Francis accepted his resignation as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments last month, Cardinal Robert Sarah has revealed how ideological struggles over worship were a source of “great suffering” for him.
In comments to Matteo Matzuzzi of the Italian daily Il Foglio published on Wednesday (see below for an English translation provided exclusively to the Register), Cardinal Sarah says that in the Church today “too often we act as if everything is a question of politics, power, influence and the unjustified imposition of a hermeneutic of Vatican II that totally breaks and is irreversibly at odds with Tradition.”
The solution, he argues, is for the Church to return to placing God at the center of the liturgy, beginning by celebrating Mass ad orientem. “If God is not at the center of the Church’s life, then she is in danger of death,” he says, suggesting that the Church is “currently experiencing a Good Friday,” but adding that “Christ’s victory always comes through the Cross.”
Cardinal Sarah stresses that it’s unsound to view such matters as being ideological issues. “I don’t believe that the struggle between progressives and conservatives has any meaning in the Church,” he said, adding, “These categories are political and ideological. The Church is not a field of political struggle.
He also discusses his positive relationships with Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his time as prefect, his plans for the future, and how he sees the Church in the coming years.