From Whispers in the Loggia:
After several weeks of rumors of an impending Curial "earthquake" – ahead of schedule, the first throes of a sweeping, Francis-driven restructuring – the Holy See released a one-line statement that "At 9.30 this morning, the Pope presided over a meeting of the dicastery heads" who comprise the church's central government.
While whatever transpired remains to emerge, the most-awaited of the expected moves has been released with today's appointment of Cardinal Robert Sarah, the 69 year-old Guinean until now in charge of the Vatican's humanitarian efforts, as the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. (Above, Sarah is seen on a visit to the Philippines in the wake of last year's Super-Typhoon Yolanda, the catalyst behind the Pope's own planned visit in January.)
Ordained a bishop at 34, in the post overseeing the global church's formal life of prayer, Sarah succeeds Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, who was returned to his native Spain – by some accounts, at his own request – in late August as archbishop of his native Valencia.
Having served as head of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum – in the coming shuffle, likely to be merged with the body for Justice and Peace – since 2010 and before that as #2 at the Propaganda Fide, not much is known about Sarah's background or expertise in matters of worship; lacking a doctorate, the cardinal's final degree was a licentiate in the Scriptures. Then again, the CDW under Francis is not expected to continue along the office's path of recent decades, which saw the congregation preside over revolutionary shifts (e.g. the sweeping re-translation of the English Missal) alongside maintaining an intense disciplinary oversight of liturgical abuses – whether real or perceived – at the local level.
Instead, the office's new mission is likely to hew closer to Francis' own liturgical approach – as one op summarized it, "Go by the book. Don't make a fuss about it. And remember that liturgy's always a means to an end, not an end in itself."
Along those lines, the choice of a prefect whose ministry has been immersed in charity work and the perils of the missions – far removed from the ceaseless boutique "wars" so beloved by polarized Anglo-European elites (whose churches aren't necessarily thriving) – serves above all as a fresh pointer to the risks and messiness of the "peripheries," the concept which remains the key to everything in this pontificate.
MY COMMENTS: The best thing that Rocco Palma opines is that the good Cardinal will do what so many of us who are right minded about the Liturgy have been calling for: "Read the black and do the red" and don't make a fuss about it. It is the heterodox and progressive creatives of the liturgy who have made such a fuss over the liturgy changing it, imposing their personality on it and dumbing it down for decades now. Maybe all this nonsense will come to an end and the true reform of the reform will be actually to implement Sacrosanctum Concilium and do the modern missal as it is written and do the EF as it is written!
Finally, I think we will see the reforms of the Anglican Ordinariate Missal applied to the ordinary Latin Rite reformed missal as an option in the index, and here I mean the EF elements and bringing the two calendars for the Ordinariate and from the normal Latin rite into a unity. This would be the best news of all!
But when Praytell was opining if the new Prefect would be this cardinal, here are the first few comments, but go there to read others that will be added. That they will be weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth is simply delicious! I am sure they will add another post on this great news for them. Stay tuned!
Guinea is an overwhelmingly (85%) majority-Muslim country. It would seem to place liturgy in the context of evangelisation under challenging local conditions. Rather than aesthetics or First World-ruddered programs of social justice.
And, again if it comes to pass, points to people who forthrightly eat crow over the non-appointment of someone like Piero Marini.
Seeing this, the eminent Burke must be dying… again.
Seriously, though, there is a need for many prelates to be refreshed – or informed for the first time – as to what to wear… when… and with what.
I should hasten to mention that Africa and Asia are diverse continents with many different cultures. I also suspect that Pope Francis knows this, but he is forced to choose a secretary who has the greatest depth and breadth of liturgy across the worldwide church outside of North America and Europe. This is no small task for Pope Francis or his choice for the post.