Now that Cardinal Gerhard Müller has been removed from his post at the Vatican, the main target of the circle around Pope Francis is Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Their latest coup is the release of a letter of “correction” aimed at Cardinal Sarah and signed by Francis. Published on Sunday, the letter was celebrated as a just humiliation of the cardinal and accompanied by calls for his resignation.
Earlier this fall, Pope Francis issued Magnum Principium, a document granting bishops’ conferences greater latitude to make their own translations of sacred texts and liturgy. Cardinal Sarah replied with a letter that offered a narrow reading of the document, preserving as much as possible the power of Rome to guard against mistranslations (such as the desire of German bishops to translate pro multis as “for all,” rather than as the correct “for many”). Pope Francis has now publicly declared that Sarah is wrong, and that Magnum Principium has indeed reduced Rome’s power of oversight.
This is a calculated humiliation of Cardinal Sarah—and not only of him. Of Pope Benedict XVI, too, since he is the great champion of the “reform of the reform,” an attempt to correct the liturgical innovations that followed the Second Vatican Council. And of St. John Paul II, who in 2001 issued the document Liturgiam Authenticam, which Francis has sought to gut with Magnum Principium.
Cardinal Sarah suffered a similar humiliation a little over a year ago, after he urged bishops and priests to celebrate the Mass ad orientem, facing east, according to the ancient practice of the Church. This was another effort to advance “reform the reform.” The cardinal stated that he had talked with the pope about the topic, and that the pope had given his assent to the proposal. If so, the Vatican made no acknowledgment of this fact in its note of blunt denial.
Read the full article titled, The War Against Cardinal Sarah | First Things