Still No Prefect at the Congregation for Divine Worship

A Pray Tell reader just pointed out to me that tomorrow it will be two months since the appointment of Cardinal Canizares to Valencia, ending his term as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship in the Vatican. But still no appointment of a new prefect at the CDW. What’s going on? Such a two-month vacancy is unprecedented, is it not?

This is a possible precedent, but it’s rather different: when Cardinal Luigi Maglione died in 1943, Pius XII decided to be his own Secretary of State. And the pope remained so until his death in 1958.

As one wag has said, you don’t suppose that Pope Francis will become his own head of the CDW? Ha!

The group of 9 cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to reform the Roman curia are saying that the new Apostolic Constitution isn’t expected until June 2015. Is it possible that CDW remain vacant until then?

Or is an appointment of a new CDW prefect imminent? Maybe tomorrow, as I’ve said to myself every day for the past two months.



  1. One rumour a little while ago was that the Congregation would be merged with another one that already has a prefect, producing two secretaries: +Arthur Roche as secretary of the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments “section”, and the secretary of the other congregation as secretary of his new “section”.

  2. My speculation is that this is part of the downsizing. Perhaps the congregation will be combined with something else? Same with Burke going away. Perhaps the Signatura and Penetitiary will combined? Perhaps CDW and Saints will be combined and renamed? Maybe put under CDF?

  3. Perhaps people continue to decline the HF’s invitation. A friend with hierarchical connections told me that during the previous pope’s term, up to one-half of all clergy declined the assignment to a cathedra when it was presented to them.

    Jeffrey has a good point. What if the office remained, and no prefect was appointed?

    Finally, if bishops are turning down Pope Francis and have been for the past several months, perhaps the Holy Spirit is nudging him to select a lay person. And maybe he needs to listen.

  4. Is there somewhere a book that explains the physical structure of the Church’s hierarchy? The whole soap opera of rearranging things reminds me of the classic “Who’s on first?”:

  5. Following up on my role as a Lutheran Cardinal-Elector, as a Lutheran adviser to Francis I would suggest that he look for a Benedictine gifted in liturgical matters to take the helm of the CDW, to take Benedict of Nursia’s concern for the strangers and the guests who come to the community and include that concern in discussions and decisions around liturgy. It would help if this person also knows how to ride herd on theological discussions that threaten to get out of hand.

    I hear there’s a youngish Benedictine monk in Collegeville who might be a good fit. He’d probably be criticized for being a bit young for such a position, but he’ll grow out of that.

    Now what was his name? Andrew? Anselm? Anton? I know it was An-something . . .

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