Francis Purges Conservatives from Divine Worship Congregation

By Father Brian Harrison, 29th October, 2016, Catholic Family News:

white_st-josaphat_detroitemsPope Francis, in one fell swoop has today carried out a stunning mass removal (see link below) of all conservative cardinals and bishops from the Vatican’s Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship. On the hit list are Cardinals Burke, Scola, Pell, Ouellet, Ranjith and many others. The Pope has ousted all of the prelates who, together with the Prefect, make up the current membership of the Congregation, replacing them with 27 new and more ‘progressive’ members.

The noble Cardinal Robert Sarah, who recently aroused the Holy Father’s ire by daring to promote a return to the priest’s versus orientem position at Mass, remains at the head of the congregation; but his days there are clearly numbered, and he will now be considerably hemmed in by all the new and more liberal prelates who are to advise him and vote on all important decisions.

These include Archbishop Piero Marini, papal Master of Ceremonies for some years under Pope John Paul II. As a young priest he was a disciple and admirer of the chief architect of the post-Vatican II liturgical reform, the late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini. Coming from that background, it is unsurprising that Marini has been a long-time outspoken foe of traditional trends in liturgy. In John Paul II’s time he orchestrated such liturgical novelties as a bare-breasted lectoress at a papal Mass in Papua New Guinea, and various other dubious forms of “inculturation”.

In the 1995 papal Mass at Sydney for Australia’s first-ever beatification (for Blessed, now Saint, Mary McKillop), in collusion with the liberal, habit-free nuns who dominate the now-dwindling congregation founded by Mother Mary, Marini replaced the Creed by a made-up eco-friendly litany, replaced the penitential rite by a pagan dance by a near-naked, paint-daubed Aboriginal man in which he drove away evil spirits with the help of a smoking tin can, and had the multitudes of lay Eucharistic Ministers hold up ciboriums full of Hosts during the consecration, almost as if they were “concelebrating”.

This almost total clean-out of an entire Congregation’s voting members in a single hit – unprecedented in Vatican history, so it seems – is also in effect a sharp rebuff to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the centerpiece of whose pontifical legacy was a restoration of tradition, dignity, and Latin in the Sacred Liturgy. One is filled with a deep sense of foreboding as to what changes to the way we are expected to worship, and what possible undermining of Benedict’s liberation of the Traditional Latin Rite, are portended by today’s breathtaking papal purge.


• • •

From Catholic World News:
Pope makes complete overhaul of Vatican liturgical congregation

October 28, 2016
In a stunning move, Pope Francis has replaced all of the members of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, the body in charge of liturgical questions.

It is routine for the Roman Pontiff to appoint a few new members to each Vatican congregation, rotating out members who have served for several years. But on October 28 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has appointed 27 new members to the Congregation for Divine Worship, completely transforming the membership of that body.

The new appointments give a distinctly more liberal character—as well as a more international complexion—to the congregation. The changes seem likely to curtail the work of Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation, who has been a leading proponent of more reverent liturgy and of “the reform of the reform.”

Among the prominent new members of the congregation will be Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Probably the most controversial new appointment is that of Archbishop Piero Marini, who clashed frequently with liturgical conservatives during the years when he served as master of ceremonies for papal liturgies under St. John Paul II. The only American prelate named to the congregation is Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, who chairs the US bishops’ committee on liturgy.

The more conservative prelates who have been removed from the congregation include Cardinals Raymond Burke, Angelo Scola, George Pell, Marc Ouellet, Angelo Bagnasco, and Malcolm Ranjith.

For an update and further reading go to Rorate Caeli.

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4 Responses to Francis Purges Conservatives from Divine Worship Congregation

  1. The reaction — one could say hysterical overreaction — of many otherwise sane and sensible people to this announcement of new appointments, invariably dubbed a “clear-out” by those concerned, seems to be being dictated by only one thing: the appointment of Archbishop Piero Marini. And yet, first of all, there is no suggestion in the announcement of any “clear-out” since no present members were said to be retiring or resigning, never mind being sacked. One can but presume, then, that they will see out the remainder of their quinquennia (which are staggered).

    Secondly, setting aside Archbishop Marini, it is unclear what one can accurately say as to whether any, some, never mind all of these new appointees are liturgical non-conservatives. Being drawn, and being rightly drawn, from all over the Catholic world, I would reckon that most are a wholly unknown quantities to those most vociferously pontificating. So if anybody out there actually knows anything about any of them, could you share that knowledge, calmly, with the rest of us?


  2. Apologies, although it is clearly implied by my initial comment, I meant to add to make it absolutely clear that contrary to what is said by the author of the Catholic World News report, those he labels as being the “more conservative prelates” — Cardinals Raymond Burke, Angelo Scola, George Pell, Marc Ouellet, Angelo Bagnasco, and Malcolm Ranjith — have not so far as is known “been removed from the congregation”. As I said, no mention was made of any departures.


  3. mmvc says:

    Here’s a more detailed report from Rorate Caeli:

    IMPORTANT: Congregation for Divine Worship membership overhauled. Cardinals Burke, Pell, Ranjith out, Piero Marini in. (Updated)

    Today’s Vatican Bollettino announced the appointment of 27 prelates as members of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW), a major overhaul that obviously has a direct impact on the policies and overall directions of the CDW. In the CDW, as with all other Roman dicasteries, all “matters of major importance” and all “questions involving general principles” are reserved to the “extraordinary plenary” meeting (usually held once a year) to which all members are summoned (see Pastor Bonus). Furthermore, all members who happen to reside in Rome also take part in the more frequent “ordinary plenary” meetings. Membership in a Curial dicastery is retained until a member is removed from such membership, or turns 80. As such, Archbishop Piero Marini, who is now 74, will remain a member of the CDW either until he is removed / replaced or until he reaches his 80th birthday on January 13, 2022.

    The PrayTell blog has helpfully provided a list of the new members:


    Rainer Maria Woelki, Cologne, Germany;
    John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Abuja, Nigeria;
    Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State;
    Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Québec, Canada;
    Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso;
    John Atcherley Dew, Wellington, New Zealand;
    Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, Valladolid, Spain;
    Arlindo Gomes Furtado, Santiago de Cabo Verde, Capo Verde;
    Gianfranco Ravasi, Pontifical Council for Culture;
    Beniamino Stella, Congregation for Clergy;

    Dominic Jala, Shillong, India;
    Domenico Sorrentino, Assisi‑Nocera Umbra‑Gualdo Tadino, Italy;
    Denis James Hart, Melbourne, Australia;
    Piero Marini, President of pontifical committee for Eucharistic congresses;
    Bernard‑Nicolas Aubertin, Tours, France;
    Romulo G. Valles, Davao, Philippines;
    Lorenzo Voltolini Esti, Portoviejo, Ecuador;


    Arthur Joseph Serratelli, Paterson, NJ, USA;
    Alan Stephen Hopes, East Anglia, Great Britain;
    Claudio Maniago, Castellaneta, Italy;
    Bernt Ivar Eidsvig, Oslo, Norway;
    Miguel Ángel D’Annibale, Rio Gallegos, Argentina;
    José Manuel Garcia Cordeiro, Bragança‑Miranda, Portugal;
    Charles Morerod, Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, Switzerland;
    Jean‑Pierre Kwambamba Masi, auxiliary of Kinshasa, Congo;
    Benny Mario Travas, Multan, Pakistan;
    John Bosco Chang Shin‑Ho, auxiliary of Daegu, Korea.

    PrayTell reports that up to now, Cardinals Burke and Pell had remained members of CDW. With the new wave of appointments they have lost their membership. [UPDATE Oct. 29, 2016: According to Catholic Culture, other conservative Cardinals who had been members of the CDW up to now, but are now removed, are Bagnasco, Ouellet, Scola and Ranjith. Cardinal Piacenza was also removed according to PrayTell.]

    Among the new members, Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishops Hart and Aubertin, and Bishops Morerod, Serratelli and Hopes have participated in or celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass as bishops, and are known to be friendly to Traditional Catholics. However, none have been vocal about the need for a “Reform of the Reform” and Serratelli is among those who doused cold water on Cardinal Sarah’s call for the celebration of Mass ad orientem beginning the first Sunday of Advent this year, or at least in the near future.

    Among the new CDW members, of particular concern are Cardinal Dew and Archbishops Marini and Sorrentino. Cardinal Dew was one of the most radical figures in the Synods of 2014 and 2015, with his advocacy of the view that the Church needed to “change its language” and his opposition to describing homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered”. Archbishop Piero Marini is well-known and the reasons for our concern need not detain us here. (He resides in Rome, which means that he will also be involved in the ordinary plenary meetings.) Archbishop Sorrentino was the Secretary of the CDW from 2003 to 2005; his removal in 2005 and his demotion to the Diocese of Assisi (although he kept the personal title of Archbishop) were attributed at the time to his opposition to the liturgical vision that Benedict XVI wanted to pursue, and his Bugninist thinking.

    Cardinal Robert Sarah remains the Prefect of the CDW. However, the new membership of his Congregation makes him virtually isolated; it is hard to see how he can still push forward his hopes for some measure of “Reform of the Reform” in the years left to his tenure (he is now 71) — not that we’ve entertained any hopes for the “ROTR” for a long time. His second-in-command, (the Secretary of the CDW), Abp. Arthur Roche, is anything but traditional-friendly in his liturgical leanings (see his bizarre commentary on the footwashing reform earlier this year). Shortly before Sarah’s appointment as CDW head, Pope Francis had unceremoniously removed the CDW’s two Benedict XVI-era undersecretaries, Msgr. Anthony Ward and Msgr. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, and replaced them with Fr. Corrado Maggioni, SMM, who is reportedly close to Abp. Piero Marini. (Ferrer Grenesche was known for his strong traditional leanings in liturgy and sacred music and concrete proposals for a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy were attributed to him.)

    Finally, as events proved this year, Pope Francis, for all of his supposed “indifference” to the liturgy, retains the last say on matters liturgical and will not hesitate to use his authority to enforce a certain line. We saw this when he ordered Cardinal Sarah to decree the permission for women to have their feet washed during Maundy Thursday, and when Cardinal Sarah’s suggestion that priests offer Mass ad orientem beginning this Advent was disowned, as it were, by the Holy See Press Office with unaccustomed rapidity. This round of appointments is already being reported (and celebrated by liberals) as Cardinal Sarah being “reined in” by Pope Francis and it is hard not to agree with that assessment.


  4. Pingback: Disrespect of Tradition, Scary Here – Katherine Appello – Inspiration

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