Pope Francis on Saturday [Feb. 20] accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Sarah, who turned 75 in June 2020, was the most senior African prelate at the Vatican, appointed head of the liturgy department by Pope Francis in November 2014.
He had previously served as the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The Guinean cardinal has written a trilogy of books read widely throughout the Catholic world: God or Nothing (2015), The Power of Silence (2016), and The Day Is Now Far Spent (2019).
Sarah said in a Tweet Feb. 20 that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation after his 75th birthday.
“I am in God’s hands. The only rock is Christ. We will meet again very soon in Rome and elsewhere,” he wrote on Twitter.
During his tenure at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Sarah built a reputation for outspoken commentary on the Church and the world.
In 2016, he encouraged priests to celebrate Mass facing east, prompting a Vatican spokesman to say that his words had been “misinterpreted.”
During the first Synod on the Family in 2014, Cardinal Sarah opposed what he said were efforts by the media “to push the Church [to change] her doctrine” on homosexual unions.
At the 2015 family synod he said threats to the institution of marriage and the family claiming “what Nazi fascism and communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today.”
Sarah was also at the center of a controversy over the presentation of a book, From the Depths of Our Hearts, as a co-authored work by himself and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in January 2020.
The book, subtitled “Priesthood, Celibacy, and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” elicited conflicting statements on the extent of the pope emeritus’s involvement in the project.
Sarah defended himself in statements on Twitter, saying Jan. 17, 2020 he met with Benedict and “there is no misunderstanding between us.”
The book contains a chapter credited to Benedict, a chapter credited to Sarah, and an introduction and conclusion, which have been attributed to the two men jointly….
The above comes from a Feb. 20 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.