Pope Accepts Resignations of Cardinals Sarah & Comastri

While No Successor Named for Worship & Sacraments Dicastery, Pope Names Cardinal Gambetti New Vatican City Vicar General

Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Comastri, Cardinal Gambetti
Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Comastri, Cardinal Gambetti © Vatican Media & Vatican.Va

In a shakeup of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General for the Vatican City State, President of the Fabric of Saint Peter, and Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, both of whom had reached age 75.

The Holy Father’s acceptance was communicated in a Feb. 20 bulletin published by the Holy See Press Office, which announced Pope Francis’ nomination of newly-created Cardinal Mauro Gambetti to be Cardinal Comastri’s Successor.

However, no successor was announced for Cardinal Sarah, leaving the prefect role of the dicastery momentarily vacant.

The New Fabric President, Cardinal Gambetti, born in Emilia, Italy, has been the custodian of the Sacred Convent of Assisi since 2013. The Franciscan of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual was ordained a priest in 2000.

Pope Francis announced his appointment as cardinal at the Oct. 25, 2020, Angelus, and his nomination marked the first Conventual Franciscan since 1861. On Nov. 22, he was consecrated bishop in Assisi, and at the Pope’s Nov. 28 consistory in the Vatican, he was created cardinal.

His predecessor, Cardinal Comastri, was born in Sorano, Tuscany, in 1943. Known for a great spirituality and with very popular televised daily rosaries from inside the Basilica during the pandemic, the Italian prelate served as Archpriest and Fabric President for roughly 16 years. Prior to this Vatican post, he served as Bishop of Massa Marittima-Piombino from 1990 to 1994 and Territorial Prelate of Loreto from 1996 to 2005. In 2007, Comastri was named a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.

Born on June 15, 1945, in Guinea, Cardinal Robert Sarah, would discern his call to priesthood at a young age. Following middle school, he left home in order to continue his studies at the minor seminary in Bingerville, Ivory Coast. Following the African nation’s independence in 1958, he returned home and completed his studies.

On July 20, 1969, he was ordained priest. After his ordination, he earned a licentiate in theology at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a licentiate in Scripture at Jerusalem’s Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. He later was nominated rector of the minor seminary of Kindia, and served as parish priest in various localities.

On Aug. 13, 1979, Sarah was appointed Archbishop of Conakry at the age of 34, making him the youngest bishop in the world and called “the baby bishop” by John Paul II. On Dec. 8, 1979, he was consecrated.

To follow was a long career in the Roman Curia: in 2001, he was appointed secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”; in 2014, he was nominated Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

He remained Prefect of the Congregation until 20 February 2021 and following this news thanked many, who via Twitter, expressed gratitude for his service to the Church and encouraged him to write more books.