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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.


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  • Posted by: rfr46 - Nov. 05, 2016 1:42 PM ET USA

    Stacking the college of cardinals is probably also underway, in order to set up a successor Pope who shares Francis's views.

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Oct. 30, 2016 12:31 AM ET USA

    "Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests." Our Lady of Akita, October 13, 1973

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Oct. 29, 2016 6:37 PM ET USA

    He had to do something drastic! St.Louis Jesuit music sales were down! :-)

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Oct. 29, 2016 11:52 AM ET USA

    I fear schism more every day Francis remains Pope. But could a successor be even worse?

  • Posted by: WNS3234 - Oct. 29, 2016 11:26 AM ET USA

    In the 3rd - 6th centuries, when Arianism was the "hot date" of lots of bishops and more than a few Patriarchs, the theological squabbles were much like the mud pools at Yellowstone -- super heated, bubbling over, fatal to jump into. The Orthodox faith was preserved by the lay faithful and "lesser" clergy. +Francis may be seeing the plight of the Church in SA and amping it up globally. It took centuries to strain Arianism from the Church. This looks to be an interesting millenium so far!

  • Posted by: Biscjim - Oct. 29, 2016 3:14 AM ET USA

    The news from Rome gets worse by rhe day. Pray for the Pope.

  • Posted by: Louise01 - Oct. 29, 2016 1:36 AM ET USA

    Are we all more Catholic than the Pope?

  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 28, 2016 9:32 PM ET USA

    Loumiamo, ... and why didn't he let the audit go forward if he is reform minded?

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Oct. 28, 2016 9:25 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Sarah made a bold move re liturgical worship and one that was sure to irritate this liberal Pope. But then, I doubt he needed an excuse to continue his purge of the conservative elements. Too bad; like our pols, he may speak diversity but acts uni-versity. It will be interesting to see just how far this pushes things that are already being pressed hard.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Oct. 28, 2016 8:11 PM ET USA

    This is very depressing. Yet another nail in the coffin of the epic papacies of John Paul and Benedict.

  • Posted by: mclom - Oct. 28, 2016 7:57 PM ET USA

    Feeling appalled and worried.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Oct. 28, 2016 6:45 PM ET USA

    Loumiamo,my question,exactly!

  • Posted by: loumiamo - Oct. 28, 2016 5:29 PM ET USA

    Glad to see proof that Francis knows how simple it is to clean house and sweep out all he considers to be dead wood. Trouble is, what's his new excuse going to be for why he couldn't have done the same thing with the Curia when he first took office? Or why he can't reform the Curia now, now that he's found the right touch?