Robert Cardinal Sarah attests to how botched preparation for the liturgical reform had devastating effects on the Catholic population

God or Nothing, Cardinal Robert Sarah with Nicolas Diat


Robert Cardinal Sarah
Robert Cardinal Sarah

In 1958, therefore, you were at the seminary when John XXIII was elected pope?

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On the other hand, I stilled lacked the maturity needed to understand the scope of the council desired by that pope. I knew, however, that Archbishop Tchidimbo represented my country and that he traveled regularly to Rome for discussions with the bishops from the other countries of the world. Although he did not really speak to us about the content of debates, I nevertheless relate an event that impressed the Catholic faithful of Conakry.

The cathedral in Conakry had an elegant, ornate choir, with a beautiful replica of the Bernini baldachin, surrounded by very beautiful angels. At the time of the first discussions about liturgical reform, archbishop Tchidimbo returned to Conakry and ordered the destruction of the baldachin and the main altar. We were angry, incredulous at this hasty decision. Rather violently, we passed without any preparation from one liturgy to another. I can attest to the fact that the botched preparation for the liturgical reform had devastating effects on the Catholic population, particularly on the simpler people, who scarcely understood the swiftness of these changes or even the reason for them.

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