Pope Appoints New CDW Leadership

Today Pope Francis made three important appointments at the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

Archbishop Arthur Roche, 71, is the new prefect. He was previously secretary (i.e., second in charge) at the CDW. Roche has served as bishop of Leeds, England, and head of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy from 2002 to 2012, during which the revised translation of the Missal came out. He is seen to be a company man with a quiet, ‘can-do’ ability to get things accomplished. This served him well as CDW secretary since he was in line with Pope Francis’s vision for liturgy in a way that his boss, CDW prefect Cardinal Sarah, was not.

Bishop Vittorio Viola, 55, is the new secretary. He is a Franciscan (Order of Friars Minor) and, since 2014, bishop of Tortona, Italy. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Luca Brandolini, one of the closest collaborators of Archbishop Bugnini who expertly supervised the reform of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council. Viola had been mentioned as a possible candidate to become prefect.

Msgr. Aurelio García Marcias, 56, is the new under-secretary. He is from Spain and has been serving as an office head in the CDW. His doctorate in liturgy from Sant’ Anselmo in Rome was on “presbyters in every church” (Acts 14:23).

It seems the Pope Francis is slowly but surely moving liturgical renewal to be more aligned with the Second Vatican Council and its reform of the liturgy. In replacing all the consultants to the office for papal liturgical celebrations in 2013, and in naming new consultors to the CDW in 2017, Francis has reversed the previous trend of appointing figures skeptical of the liturgical reform or interested in reinterpreting it in a traditionalist vein. This redirection is a delicate task for Francis to carry out, for traditionalist currents have grown quite strong in recent years.


  1. The new Prefect may be English-speaking, but I don’t recall that he stood up for the English-speaking bishops over the revised translation of the Missal.

    1. I don’t have it to hand, but I think I recall Archbishop Roche expressing disapproval of the process by which Vox Clara extensively revised the supposedly approved final texts of the Missal.

  2. Speaking of the 2008 translation, does anyone know where this can be found online? 1998 is relatively easy to find.

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