By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY, (Catholic News Service) – Pope Francis accepted the resignations of 75-year-old Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, and 77-year-old Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica and vicar for Vatican City State.
While a new prefect of the worship congregation was not announced when news of the retirements was made public February 20, the pope did name Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, 55, to be the new archpriest of the basilica and his vicar for Vatican City.
Cardinal Gambetti, whom the pope elevated to the College of Cardinals in November, is a Conventual Franciscan who had served as general minister and custos of the Sacred Convent of St Francis of Assisi since 2013. He had also been episcopal vicar for the pastoral care of the Basilica of St Francis and other places of worship overseen by the Conventual Franciscans in the diocese. He has degrees in mechanical engineering, theology and theological anthropology and is among the youngest of the cardinals.
Like bishops, cardinals are required to offer the pope their resignations when they turn 75. Cardinals can still vote in a conclave until they are 80.
Cardinal Sarah, born June 15, 1945, in Ourous, Guinea, was appointed prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments by Pope Francis in 2014.
Though he often has been portrayed as a critic of Pope Francis, especially because of the cardinal’s cautious attitude toward welcoming Muslim migrants to Europe and his traditional approach to the liturgy, Cardinal Sarah said 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 in 2019.