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Father Brian Harrison: Francis Purges Conservatives from Divine Worship Congregation

Pope 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.


Pope makes complete overhaul of Vatican liturgical congregation

(Catholic Culture)- 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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