Cardinal Sarah did not, and does not, want to encourage polemics.
A new book From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War examining Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis Custodes has been published without informing certain authors of the full contours of the editorial project, I.Media has learned from several sources. The book includes contributions from several cardinals, including Cardinal Robert Sarah.
Cardinal Sarah, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and journalist Christophe Geffroy, another contributor, said they were not made aware that a text by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who is a vocal opponent of Pope Francis, would be included in the volume.
The book, published November 1 by the American journalist Peter Kwasniewski, brings together 70 texts from 45 authors and is intended as a compilation of responses to the recent motu proprio of Pope Francis, Traditionis custodes. The contributions are drawn mostly from previously published newspaper or blog articles, including texts by Cardinals Robert Sarah, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller and Joseph Zen.
There are also several more controversial texts, including a contribution by the former papal nuncio in the United States, Archbishop Vigano, who has become known as one of the Pontiff’s fiercest critics. Vigano has positioned himself as a commentator in the American political scene, as well as continuing to weigh in on Church matters, even calling for Pope Francis to resign.
Pope Francis’ July publication of Traditionis custodes repealed the Motu proprio Summorum pontificum of Benedict XVI and restricted the norms for the celebration of Mass according to the traditional form of the Roman rite.
Cardinal Sarah “very distressed”
A source very close to Cardinal Robert Sarah told I.Media that the cardinal had simply agreed that an interview given to Le Figaro on August 13, 2021, be translated into English for the volume. This long interview was only partly devoted to liturgy.
Cardinal Sarah, the source insisted, “did not want and does not want controversy.”
“If he had seen Vigano’s name, he would have refused immediately,” the source assured, explaining further that by learning of the nature and “bellicose” title of the publication, the Guinean prelate had been “very distressed.”
The cardinal, this close friend assured, gave his agreement without imagining that his words would be “instrumentalized” by a “politicized group” with which he is “in total disagreement.” He pointed out that Cardinal Sarah has already had problems with the entourage of Archbishop Vigano.
Editor of Le Nef voices discontent
French journalist Christophe Geffroy, editor of the Catholic monthly La Nef, whose contributions have also been published in the book, told I.Media that he too learned of Archbishop Vigano’s presence in the publication only when he received a copy of the book.
“When I was approached to include several of my articles concerning the motu proprio Traditionis custodes, I did not think I would find myself in the midst of these names; I was not informed,” he stated. Geffroy assured that he has also informed the publisher of his dissatisfaction.
The publisher, meanwhile, has so far not responded to I.Media’s requests for comment. Kwasniewski, a theologian specializing in liturgy and a composer of sacred music, regularly collaborates with several conservative American Catholic websites.