Today the Holy Father has announced a new slate of appointments to the Congregation for Divine Worship. Gone are prelates known to be sympathetic to traditional liturgy and orthodox doctrine, such as Cardinals Bagnasco, Burke, Ouellet, Pell, Ranjith, and Scola. In their place are prelates like the well known Archbishop Piero Marini, formerly responsible for so many of the most unforgettable liturgies of St. John Paul II, along with many of the Holy Father’s recent, characteristic cardinals. In other words, the Holy Father has cleaned out quite a few of his ideological and liturgical opponents and brought in men who are very much simpatico with his outlook.
The immediate consequence of these appointments is that Robert Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, finds himself without many notable allies among the membership of the Congregation. His principal deputies, also selected by the Holy Father, are, we suspect, on a very different page in many important regards. And this, of course, follows the public rebuke he endured as a result of his suggestion that priests celebrate versus apsidem more often. But more than that, the so-called reform of the reform under Benedict is finally over. Whatever Cardinal Sarah hoped to accomplish, we suspect that those plans are on hold for the foreseeable future.