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
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.
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
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.