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.