Cardinal Robert Sarah has hit out at critics of Benedict XVI, accusing them of “vulgarity and baseness” in their responses to the former pope’s preface to the cardinal’s latest book.

“The arrogance, the violence of language, the disrespect and the inhuman contempt for Benedict XVI are diabolical and cover the Church with a mantle of sadness and shame,” Cardinal Sarah said. “These people demolish the Church and its profound nature.”

In a preface to Cardinal Sarah’s book The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, Benedict XVI wrote that Pope Francis deserved praise for appointing Cardinal Sarah to oversee the Church’s liturgy.

But critics have accused the former pope of meddling in Church politics and trying to undermine Pope Francis.

“A Christian does not fight anyone,” Cardinal Sarah said. “A Christian has no enemy to defeat. Christ asks Peter to put his sword into his scabbard [Mt 26: 52-53]. This is the command of Christ to Peter, and it concerns every Christian worthy of the name.”

In a speech at the Sacra Liturgia conference in Milan, the cardinal also lamented the practice of receiving Communion standing and in the hand.

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