- War in the Vatican. Ecclesiastical celibacy confronts the two Popes
- Controversy: Benedict XVI asks Pope Francis to abandon the idea of ordering priests to married men
- 'From the bottom of our hearts' Benedict XVI demands that his name be erased from the book in which the celibacy of priests is defended
Robert Sarah (Guinea, 1945), cardinal and prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is one of the most authoritative voices in liturgical matters within the Vatican. However, his media interventions and extensive literary work have made him a sort of 'Pepito Grillo' of the current pontificate. The possible opening of Pope Francis to the priesthood of married men of recognized Catholic faith to deal with the lack of vocations in remote areas of the Amazon has made him the leader of the conservative current inside and outside the Vatican, contrary to the reforms promoted by Pope Francis.
Writer and brilliant speaker, the African cardinal arrived at the Vatican in 2001 as 'number two' of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. In 2010 Benedict XVI appointed him cardinal and president of the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council. And, in 2014, Pope Francis promoted him as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. As 'guardian' of the liturgy, Sarah has not hesitated to defend Catholic morality and tradition, even if that means opening a war with the progressives within the Vatican.
Sarah is considered a deeply traditionalist cardinal in dogmatic matters, but openly progressive on issues such as the environment or ethics in the global economy, arguments that bring him closer to Pope Francis. In fact, take any opportunity to declare your absolute loyalty to Bergoglio. However, his punctual interventions in defense of the family, Catholic morality or religious freedom, have confronted him publicly to the Pontiff.
In an interview with the 'Corriere della Sera', granted during the Synod of the Amazon held in October at the Vatican, the cardinal said that whoever was against the Pope "was out of the Church." But he had no qualms about criticizing the "ideological" drift of the institution. In particular, he referred to the ordination of married men or the creation of ministries for women, two proposals that were approved by the assembly of bishops and which, according to Sarah, represent "a break with the Catholic tradition." The conservative cardinal has not avoided publicly rejecting some of the reforms promoted by the Pontiff and has argued that the Church has to talk about God and not about migrants, because it is not an NGO.
The recent controversy over the book in defense of ecclesiastical celibacy written "four hands" with Benedict XVI has been a serious blow to the public image of the cardinal. Sarah has been accused by some sectors of the Vatican of manipulating Pope Emeritus for their own battle. "The attacks seem to imply a lie on my part. These defamations are of exceptional gravity," he wrote on social media.
The personal secretary of Pope Emeritus, Georg Gaenswein, said that Joseph Ratzinger was unaware that his text would be used for a book and demanded a correction to the cardinal and the publisher. The cardinal agreed to erase the German pontiff as co-author of the book, but said the Pope emeritus approved the manuscript, including the cover, the introduction and the conclusion that in the first version are signed by both.
"Considering the controversies that caused the publication of the book 'From the deepest of our hearts' , it is decided that the author of the book will be for future publications: Cardinal Sarah, with the contribution of Benedict XVI. However, the full text remains without changes, "explained the cardinal.
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ChurchWar in the Vatican: ecclesiastical celibacy confronts the two Popes
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