Cardinal Sarah: To oppose the pope is to be outside the Church
Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, said the people who portray him as an opponent of Pope Francis are being used by the devil to help divide the Church.
“The truth is that the Church is represented on earth by the vicar of Christ, that is by the pope. And whoever is against the pope is, ipso facto, outside the Church,” the cardinal said in an interview published in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily.
The 74-year-old cardinal, who Pope Francis appointed in 2014 as head of the office overseeing liturgical matters, is often portrayed as a critic of Pope Francis, especially because of the cardinal’s cautious attitude toward welcoming Muslim migrants to Europe, his concern about the Church acting more like a social-service agency than a missionary Church and his traditional approach to the liturgy.
The Corriere piece was published to coincide with the release of a new book-length interview with Cardinal Sarah, The Day is Now Far Spent.
The cardinal’s book dedication reads: ‘For Benedict XVI, peerless architect of the rebuilding of the Church. For Francis, faithful and devoted son of St Ignatius. For the priests throughout the world in thanksgiving on the occasion of my golden jubilee of priesthood’, which was 20th July.
In the Corriere interview, the cardinal was asked what the “truth” was about his relationship with Pope Francis.
“The truth is that many people write not to give witness to the truth, but to place people against one another, to damage human relationships,” he said. “The truth doesn’t matter to them.
“Those who place me in opposition to the Holy Father cannot present a single word of mine, a single phrase or a single attitude of mine to support their absurd – and I would say, diabolical – affirmations,” Cardinal Sarah said. “The devil divides, sets people against each other.”
Cardinal Sarah said it is normal for the Church to experience difficulties and divisions, but every Christian is called “to seek unity in Christ”.
“I would add that every pope is right for his time,” the cardinal said. “Providence looks after us very well, you know.”
Picture: Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, leaves a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment is pictured at the Vatican in this 5th October 2018 file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).