Appointments to CDW

The Holy Father appointed as members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:

Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, Poland;

Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka;

Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B.;

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy,

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

From Vatican Information Service.


  1. Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke (American & a native English speaker) & both have demonstrated a true love for the Church & her liturgy so many times … we are in good hands!

    Cardinal Burke just pontificated in the EF on the feast of Stephan ( where he talked about the need for beauty in the liturgy. The Cardinal went on to quote the Holy Father on the EF & OF : “It is not appropriate to speak of … two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were ‘two Rites’. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.” Food for thought.

    1. Between Cardinal Ranjith’s float and Cardinal Burke’s cappa magna should be some great theater anyhow. Maybe they can come up with someone who knows Latin and English to fix up that little Missal problem.

    2. What a wonderful pair of possibilities for the next prefect of the CDW! Given that the position now requires a love for—and strong qualifications for overseeing—both forms of the Roman rite.

    3. “The Mass was in honor of Father Stephano Maria”

      What’s with a “reformed” Franciscan having a Pontifical Solemn High Mass by a Cardinal in his honor?

  2. I have an idea. What if all the members of the Congregation, particularly the elite leadership, were actually people who had specialized expertise in liturgy? Why do universities demand professors with academic degrees in their fields? No, degrees do not guarantee perfection, but when people who are not highly qualified are put into important leadership positions, then critical projects (liturgical translations) are endangered by their incompetence. I don’t know anything about the liturgical expertise of either Burke or Ranjith, but I’ll bet neither one has any advanced liturgical expertise. Why are they there?

    1. ”. . . actually people who had specialized expertise in liturgy?”

      Don’t tell me! You’re thinking of Bishop Arthur Serratelli. Right? I’m reminded by his perspicuous explanation in

      The New Missal – Opening the Gateway to New Evangelization

      of why “some are still voicing their dissent” even though “In the final texts, there has been much collaboration at all levels of Church life.” Apparently it’s not really about liturgy, but more about ecclesiology and the fact that some just want to “do it my way”. A choice insight:

      “And, so even today, children of the ’60s who have not grown up will find some difficulty in praying any text as it is written.”

    2. Henry do you think the little group of revisers who were chopping up 2008 while the bishops were still doing their canonical duty to approve it were an example of “much collaboration at all levels”? I don’t think it’s really about liturgy but I don’t think it’s really about ecclesiology either. It sure is about just “doing it my way” but those actually doing that are the revisers with their own agenda of politics ambition payback and all the other stuff that’s been documented on this blog for months now. Do you think Bishop Seratellis statement with all it’s iffy timelines was leadership? Wow. Reading your posts reminds me of the lines from the old Rod Stewart song: “If I listened long enough to you I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true. Knowing you lied while I cried. Still I look to find a reason to believe.” like I said before it’s going to be interesting when the missal comes out to see if the translation mistakes and English mistakes aren’t corrected whether some of the trad blogs and people like Card Burke defend the Missal anyhow just because it’s official or have the honesty and integrity to point out the errors.

      1. Jeremy, sounds like you’re trying to blame me for Bishop Serratelli’s words. At any rate, I’m interested in liturgy and a good translation, not ecclesiology or Church politics.

    3. Does the 3.5 years Ranjith spent as Secretary at Divine Worship count as advanced liturgical experience?

      I thought there was a tendency toward matching those with expertise and those without in the top two positions in some of the congregations?

  3. Let’s pray for them and realize we don’t know the scope of their potential or how this experience will affect them. Maybe if they are all birds of a feather, they will get on each other’s nerves.

  4. I’m so comforted by these appointments.

    Futhermore I think the Holy Father should continue his run of excellent appointments by declaring Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels director of Vatican Communications.

    Fr Cody, I’m (nearly) ready to join your flock!!

    1. Your last remark, Elias, brings to mind the old saw-line, “The Episcopal Church: Roman Catholic lite. All of the ritual, none of the guilt.”


      Just being silly, of course. . . no need to turn that into an ecumenical incident.

  5. Apart from his penchant for wearing the cappa magna and celebrating mass using excessively ornate pontificalia, I didn’t know archbishop Burke was considered an expert in the liturgy.

    Then again, as THE advance man for B16 in this country, should we be surprised? As in the case of most bureaucrats, it is who you know rather than what you know that generally earns you the honors.

    1. These cardinals have, among them, advanced degrees, in sacramental theology, philosophy, canon law, and sacred scripture. All these are areas that are useful for liturgical study. They have experience at the Congregation for the Clergy, the CDF, the Churches legal arm, the Congregation for Saints and at the CDW.

      However, remember that these men are the governors of the sacred liturgy, not the experts. The Congregation has a separation of roles of staff/consultors and members for a reason. The consultors and staff are the liturgical “experts”. The members role is to apply liturgical expertise, but also to put it in the broader context of the church.

      To use a military metaphor, General James N. Mattis is a Marine. He’s never been a ship captain or an Air Force pilot, but he commands these (and other forces) as head of USCENTCOM because at a certain point in leadership heirarchies, we broaden out the desired experience.

      1. This is true, as far as it goes.

        Another aspect is that the system does not operate on the assumption that governance requires expertise. Prefects and secretaries of dicasteries are not necessarily appointed because of their knowledge of the field, but in large part because of their (rising) place within the ecclesiastical hierarchy. One hopes that the expertise comes from the consultors.

        Many of the unspoken assumptions behind our system are monarchical. One prince rules this part of the realm, another prince rules that part of the realm – not because they’ve been elected to these roles or have shown their expertise – but because the emperor has appointed his sons. And, failing a monarchy-toppling revolution, they remain princes for life, apart from their job performance.

        This probably explains why Pope Benedict has not removed Cardinal Law from the powerful congregation which appoints bishops, or Cardinal Sodano as dean of the college of cardinals. Doing so would imply a type of accountability which is at odds with the monarchical sytem.


  6. Fr Ruff: your post placing these appointments in the context of a monarchical power structure makes a great deal of sense…. and leaves us, who yearn for a more humble church, in despair

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