The Vatican has managed to throw out a black cardinal who was seen by many as a good candidate for next pontiff.
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Robert Sarah, who often clashed with the current, left-leaning pope on theological matters, announcing the move on Feb. 20, according to a report at DailyMail.com.
Sarah, who is from Guinea, held various Vatican posts over the last two decades. His latest position was as head of the department that oversees concerns of worship and sacraments.
In 2019 he warned that Islam “would invade the world” if the Catholic Church did not take a stronger stance on mass illegal migration.
Sarah had actually turned in his resignation in June of 2020, when he turned 75, as Church law demands of all bishops, but the pope often allows Vatican officials to remain in their posts beyond this point.
Church conservatives had put Sarah on their list of candidates to one day succeed Francis as pontiff, but that possibility was seen as extremely remote because Sarah was regarded as highly divisive in a world – especially in the Vatican – of clubbish devotion to accepted dogma at the expense of strong views, high standards and even truth.
Along with openly disagreeing with Francis on several key theological issues, Sarah was involved in an episode in 2020 over a book defending priestly celibacy that he said was jointly written with former Pope Benedict. Days before publication, Benedict said he wanted his name removed from the cover because he had made only a minor contribution. Sarah publicly contested Benedict’s version but agreed to list Benedict as merely a contributor in future editions.