Cardinal Robert Sarah attends a mass at the St. Peter’s Basilica on March 12, 2013, at the Vatican. The Holy See Press Office announced that Sarah stepped down from his leadership position.Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea as head of the Vatican’s liturgy department, removing a conservative who was seen as an opponent of the pontiff’s vision for the church.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Holy See Press Office announced that Sarah stepped down from his leadership position. The Vatican did not provide any reason for his resignation or name a successor.
Sarah submitted his resignation as required by church law last June when he turned 75. But cardinals are often allowed to remain in their posts for a few years longer, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Shortly after the announcement, Sarah posted a statement on Twitter in which he alluded to his retirement age. “I am in God’s hands. The only rock is Christ. We will meet again very soon in Rome and elsewhere,” he wrote in French.
Cardinal R. Sarah@Card_R_SarahAujourd’hui, le pape a accepté la renonciation de ma charge de Préfet de la Congrégation pour le Culte Divin après mon soixante-quinzième anniversaire. Je suis entre les mains de Dieu. Le seul roc, c’est le Christ. Nous nous retrouverons très vite à Rome et ailleurs. +RS
By accepting the cardinal’s resignation, Pope Francis ousted a proponent of more traditional Catholic liturgy. Sarah is considered a staunch conservative, and has been seen as a possible future pontiff.