Head of Vatican liturgy office moved back to Spain (UPDATED)

As Rocco puts it, “the bomb falls.”

The Vatican confirmed the rumors today and announced that Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has been named bishop of the archdiocese of Valencia in Spain. Cañizares was appointed head of the CDW by then-Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, and he is seen as a “little Ratzinger” in his views on liturgy.

Because Pope Francis never confirmed Cañizares in his curial position but merely allowed him to remain in it, there has been much speculation since Francis’ election in March 2013 that Cañizares would be replaced. Traditionalists were alarmed when Pope Francis met with Archbishop Piero Marini shortly after his election to the papacy, for Piero Marini is a disciple of Annibale Bugnini who carried out the liturgical reforms under Pope Paul VI. People on all sides of the liturgical disputes wondered, with shock or glee, whether Marini would be named Cañizares’ replacement. But since Marini is 73 years old by now, some doubt that he would be named to the important curial post.

John Thavis (a St. John’s grad, btw) calls it a “new chapter in Pope Francis’ revolution” that Cañizares was sent back to a diocese after being a prefect in Rome. Thavis sees this unusual move as serving to “remind the prelates that their time in Rome is a sacrifice, not a career move.”

It will be very interesting to see whom Francis names as new prefect of the CDW, and whether the new guy is more in the camp of Cañizares or of Piero Marini.





  1. Two or three years of++Piero may indeed be a tantalizing possibility, given what His Holiness said about himself.

  2. And may the day not be far distant when our talk of “camps” is able to cease (cf. I Cor. 10ff).

  3. Alan (one l not two…#5) wouldn’t that be great but the camp talk will not stop until this EF and OF is set aside by both camps…look to the shaking in Rome under the guise of reconciling the Church in bringing back the Tridentine riite with heavy handed instructions as to how it would get carried out.

    When as a praying unified community we as Church can drop that…the camps will split off and go another route to heaven’s door.

    Yes Alan when we allow camps more voice than the unifying prayer of Christ, and Paul’s Corinthian letter reminds us of, then we will have to listen to reminders like yours that this really is not doing the Church any good.

    Keep appointing Francis, keep appointing. Sorry, school’s starting …a little punchy this evening.

    1. @Ed Nash – comment #7:
      With respect, Ed, your comment contradicts the sentiment of aggiornimento (sp?) Alan calls for. You aren’t calling for “cease fire and peace,” you’re calling for triumph by subtraction.

    2. @Ed Nash – comment #7:

      look to the shaking in Rome under the guise of reconciling the Church in bringing back the Tridentine riite with heavy handed instructions as to how it would get carried out.

      Ed, I’m not really sure what you mean. What legislation is heavy handed? I would say that the new legislation on the use of the Tridentine Mass can be abused if a priest uses it to refuse the faithful access to the Ordinary Form, especially on Sundays. However, the legislation is not per se abusive of those who prefer the postmodern rites, in my view.

      I am convinced that the game has now changed. The clash is not merely between two sets of liturgical books, but rather between pietism and a structured, academically forged sacramentality. In other words, there is a stark difference between the EF, whose sacramental practices cannot be distinguished easily, and the OF, where the sacraments are designed to have distinctive rites and well demarcated theologies. EF adherents do not merely go to hear Latin Mass periodically — rather, their life is Tridentine. I do not know if the same can be said for postmodern Catholicism.

      So far, Pope Francis has walked a very fine line between these two outlooks, and I doubt he will appoint someone who, despite his allegiances, will seek to anathematize either way of life.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #12:

        These appointments tell another story. The retiring culture warrior, theCardinal of Madrid, is not being replaced by ‘little Ratzinger’ but by the more pastoral Osoro, bp of Valencia. I do not think this says anything about EF/OF controversies, but about pastors being with their people.

        Whoever is appointed to CDW will not anathematize as you say, but he will make these controversies irrelevant so that they fade.

  4. Why is this a bomb?

    Really, as the fable of the boy that cried wolf illustrates, there is a danger in over-dramatizing. As if this decision were earth-shaking news destined to change the course of history. Please. Let’s keep some perspective.

    I think “the shoe falls” would be a better expression. Because now… we shall “wait for the other shoe to drop” as the saying goes!

    1. @Rita Ferrone – comment #9:
      I fully agree, Rita. I also find it inappropriate that — in a world where real bombs fall and real people are killed by them — militaristic images continue to be used with such ease for what constitutes intra-ecclesial shuffles of posts. 🙁

  5. If I remember correctly, when the word came from Rome about the Tridentine Rite, it used language something like “to foster reconciliation in the Church” or it’s equivalent. When The word reconciliation gets used, to me, there is an assumption of hurt, or harm, or healing needed. So my question is where was the hurt or the harm to people in not using the TR and then following that… Who gets to say where healing can take place and where it doesn’t?

    I would buy the abuse question (#12) if each camp honored with equality each rite now in use in the Church. My lived experience is that I too may be guilty of the camp language Alan #5 speaks of…and #12 Jordan speaks of in his second paragraph.

    Sorry, still punchy after living with 1200 students today and today they all got IPads.

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