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Questions around Pope Francis’ acceptance of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s resignation – Vatican News

Was Cardinal Sarah, as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, ideologically acting in opposition to (effectively sabotaging) the reforms of Pope Francis? There was a 12 months lag between the Pope’s written request (14/12/2014) for Cardinal Sarah’s decastry to effect changes to Holy Thursday ritual of washing of feet to include women and the actual publication of the decree In missa in Cena Domini (21/01/2016). Was it an intentional delay? Pope Francis, in his “motus proprio” of 09 September 2017, Magnum Principium (“The Great Principle”), restores the central role of Episcopal Conferences in the authorization and approval of liturgical translations for their local church realities in the spirit of Vatican II. Cardinal Sarah published a reaction to the papal document in a French journal which contained a statement that the 2001 document, Liturgiam authenticam, which reposes on the Vatican the power to authorize and impose Liturgical translations for the Episcopal Conferences, remains normative. Pope Francis issued a letter publicly correcting the Cardinal and reaffirming that Magnum Principium with its changes corrects and/or abrogates relevant articles of the 2001 document. Or is the Cardinal schemed out from the next conclave by forces around the Pope who identify him among conservative tendencies aligned against Pope Francis’ reforms? An African cardinal, bishop, or church leader who questions a “motus proprio” document (which are statements based on the own initiative) of a pope is an interesting development for African Christianity. But it becomes difficult to understand when such statements or changes they introduce concern reforms which can play to the advantage of the church in Africa? The long struggle of the Zairean mass and the suffered requests of African theologians for theological paradigms more suited to the exigencies of Africa ought to teach African christians and catholics in particular to embrace any reforms that seek decentralization of powers in favor of local churches or episcopal conferences.

Pope Francis on Saturday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah from the post of prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Born in Guinea in 1945, Cardinal Sarah Guinea, turned 75 on 15 June last year. He was ordained a priest on 20 July 1969, and was appointed Archbishop of Conakry by John Paul II in 1979, at the age of 34. In 2001 he was named secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and in 2010 Benedict XVI appointed him president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”. The same year he was created Cardinal with the title of the Diaconia of St. John Bosco in Via Tuscolana, Rome. On 23 November 2014, Pope Francis appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He participated in the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis.

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