As Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW), Cardinal Sarah is responsible for overseeing liturgical practices for the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI strongly endorsed Cardinal Sarah in an afterword for an upcoming edition of the cardinal’s highly praised recent book The Power of Silence.
“With Cardinal Sarah, a master of silence and of interior prayer, the liturgy is in good hands,” Benedict wrote.
Cardinal Sarah was recently publicly rebuked by Pope Francis after writing that the pope’s motu proprio Magnum Principium did not transfer ultimate authority over liturgical translations from the Vatican to the local bishops’ conferences.
After Cardinal Sarah’s article on the motu proprio, the pope had ordered the cardinal to send his letter of rebuke to the same websites that had reported on the cardinal’s interpretation, along with all of the Church’s bishops’ conferences, and all members and advisors involved in the CDW.
The censure invited further public reproach from “progressive” forces in the Church.
Cardinal Sarah had warned a short time ago as well of “a grave risk of the fragmentation of the Church” due to a current push to decentralize authority on doctrinal and moral matters.
Last year the pope had given the Pontifical Congregation for the Liturgy a total overhaul with 27 new appointments - a move regarded by Vatican watchers as “purge” of its orthodox members, marginalizing the cardinal alone within the Congregation.
And last fall the pope abruptly replaced Cardinal Sarah as speaker for the opening of the academic year for the former John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome.
In September the cardinal told an international gathering on the liturgy that restoring the primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy was key in combatting and “increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death.”
Writing in his foreword to the book Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay earlier this year, the cardinal said in regard to withholding the full truth of the Gospel from individuals who experience same-sex attraction, “To omit the ‘hard sayings’ of Christ and his Church is not charity.”
Cardinal Sarah drew criticism and praise last year by calling for churches to adopt the ad orientem posture for Mass, with the priest the Lord. The Vatican press office subsequently sought to diminish the cardinal’s request.
In January 2016 after Pope Francis had given permission for women to be included in the public washing of feet during the Holy Thursday liturgical rite – a practice that signifies Christ’s institution of the male priesthood - the cardinal had clarified the change was optional and not a requirement.
Previously as president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (One Heart), the Roman Curia’s prior humanitarian aid and development division, Cardinal Sarah was also a frequent defender of Church teaching against Western governments perpetrating anti-Catholic ideals on African countries as a stipulation for humanitarian aid.
His Eminence demonstrates authentic humility and fortitude with his unwavering defense of Catholic teaching in the face of recurrent public admonishments of his work, offering powerful inspiration to faithful Catholics.
Sign the pledge of support for Cardinal Sarah, and thank him for his courageous stance.