Pope Francis Humiliates Cardinal Sarah In Public

Pope Francis Humiliates Cardinal Sarah In Public


Pope Francis issued on October 22 an open letter to Cardinal Robert Sarah in which he corrects Sarah’s recent statement that his congregation is still in charge of liturgical translations [Vatican Still in Charge Of Translations].

Francis insists that the document Magnum Principium indeed hands responsibility for liturgical translations over to the local bishops’ conferences. The former practice is no longer supported. Francis obliges Sarah to send a public correction to the webpages that reported about his statement, and to all bishops’ conferences.

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3 comments on “Pope Francis Humiliates Cardinal Sarah In Public

  1. As I commented on my posting of the Catholic World News’ report of Cardinal Sarah’s statement (Cardinal Sarah: Vatican still must approve liturgical translations): One figurehead Cardinal Prefect’s opinion; the CDW Secretary [Archbishop Roche] (who has the real power, most likely drafting Magnum Principium and definitely writing its official commentary) has the last word – or next-to-the-last, if the Supreme Pontiff wishes to act on his own (and over-riding) authority …

  2. “Why Was Pope Francis So Quick to Answer These ‘Dubia’?”


    John L. Allen asks this question on Crux (October 23) referring to Francis’ humiliation of Cardinal Sarah on who is in charge of liturgical translations. Allen believes that in this case “we may be dealing with differing levels of readiness by Francis to be precise.”

    Francis has had a tense relationship with Sarah although he is the only high-ranking member of the Roman Curia, Francis included, who hails from a “poor” family and has personally experienced poverty.

  3. In rebuke to Cardinal Sarah, Pope contradicts himself

    By Phil Lawler | Oct 23, 2017

    Once again Pope Francis has announced a change in canon law—without making a change in canon law.

    In his letter to Cardinal Sarah, made public on October 22, the Pope says that some provisions of Liturgiam Authenticam “have been abrogated,” and the entire 2001 document “must be carefully reconceived.” No one questions the authority of the Pope to amend or even annul a previous Vatican document. But in fact he has not amended or annulled Liturgiam Authenticam. On the contrary, in his latest document on liturgical translations, he announced that existing Vatican instructions “were and remain at the level of general guidelines and, as far as possible, must be followed by liturgical commissions as the most suitable instruments…”

    So the Pope is telling translators that they must follow the guidance of Liturgiam Authenticam, but some parts of that document (he does not identify which parts) have been abrogated and the whole thing needs to be reconceived. Then what guidance can they reliably draw from the Vatican instruction? Not much; they’re on their own.

    To be fair, in his letter to Cardinal Sarah the Pope does propose his own threefold test for liturgical translations:

    1. They must be faithful, he says, to the Latin original. Good; that’s the key lesson of Liturgiam Authenticam

    2. Next they must be faithful to the language into which they are being translated. That’s an awkward construction, but it seems to mean that a translation into English should be rendered in graceful, grammatical English. Fine.

    3. Finally, the Pope says that the translation must be faithful to the understanding of the audience. Here the papal “guideline” provides no guidance at all. Our understanding of a text is shaped by the translation. We—the readers or listeners—cannot possibly know whether the translator has been faithful to our understanding, unless we know the original language and check the translation ourselves. We can only know that the translator is faithful to his own understanding; we’re at his mercy.

    Liturgiam Authenticam gave lay Catholics the confidence that in any new liturgical translation, we were hearing a close approximation of the text prepared and approved by the universal Church—not merely a “dynamic equivalent” that represents what some ambitious translator(s) thought we should draw out of the text. Has that confidence now been abrogated?

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