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Shakeup at Congregation for Divine Worship Described as a “Purge”

As several outlets have now reported, on 28 October 2016 – just before his going to Lund, Sweden – Pope Francis replaced all the members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. That is the dicastery currently (but perhaps only temporarily) headed by Cardinal Robert Sarah. Several Catholic authors from around the world – clergy and laymen alike – have responded with a measure of indignation about this unprecedented papal decision. Many see the shakeup as a sign that the pope disapproves of Cardinal Sarah’s recent attempts to encourage priests to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass ad orientem – more reverently facing God.

Father Brian Harrison, theologian and author, commented as follows:

Pope Francis, in one fell swoop has today carried out a stunning mass removal … of all conservative cardinals and bishops from the Vatican’s Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship. On the hit list are Cardinals Burke, Scola, Pell, Ouellet, Ranjith and many others. The Pope has ousted all of the prelates who, together with the Prefect, make up the current membership of the Congregation, replacing them with 27 new and more ‘progressive’ members.

Father Harrison points out that one of the new voting members of the Congregation for Divine Worship is Archbishop Piero Marini, former papal Master of Ceremonies under Pope John Paul II, who is a “disciple and admirer of the chief architect of the post-Vatican II liturgical reform, the late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini,” according to Father Harrison. Marini has been responsible for “liturgical novelties” which include a “bare-breasted lectoress” and “pagan dances” at papal Masses. The Australian priest who now works in St. Louis, Missouri thus fears for the liturgy, especially for the future of the Tridentine Latin Mass. Harrison says, as follows:

This almost total clean-out of an entire Congregation’s voting members in a single hit – unprecedented in Vatican history, so it seems – is also in effect a sharp rebuff to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the centerpiece of whose pontifical legacy was a restoration of tradition, dignity, and Latin in the Sacred Liturgy. One is filled with a deep sense of foreboding as to what changes to the way we are expected to worship, and what possible undermining of Benedict’s liberation of the Traditional Latin Rite, are portended by today’s breathtaking papal purge.

Father John Hunwicke, a British Catholic priest and a convert from Anglicanism and a vivid commentator on Church matters, posted a comment on 29 October on his own website. His comments read:

The personel [sic] changes at the Congregation for Divine Worship look like very bad news for the heroic figure of its Prefect, Cardinal Sarah. It looks as though some crude revenge is taking place …

Bishop Alan Hopes, a former Anglican, is the only piece of good news I can see on the new list. But, as a bishop with a large diocese, he will not be able to be often in Rome.

But Bad Marini lives in Rome and has a minuscule job … Eucharistic Congresses … quid dicamus …

Marco Tosatti, the untiring and always well-informed Vatican specialist published on the same day his own report on his new website Stilum Curiae, calling this papal decision an “unprecedented purge” as well as a “torpedo against the Prefect of the Liturgy Congregation.” Among the new more progressive members of the Congregation, Tosatti mentions Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, “president of the Papal Council for Culture who has made himself immortal by participating in a dance for the ‘Pacha Mama’ in San Marco Sierras in Argentinia.” The Italian journalist also points out that the newly appointed Archbishop Marini had been earlier removed from his office as chief papal liturgist by Pope Benedict XVI himself, similar to the new member of the Congregation, Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino,who had also been removed from his position as secretary of the Divine Worship Congregation under Benedict. Thus a conscious reversal seems to be taking place. Tosatti also points out that the new Congregation member Archbishop John Dew of Wellington, New Zealand had been prominent at the recent Family Synod “for proposing that the Church should change her attitude that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil.”

Marco Tosatti concludes that this is an “extraordinary purge,” saying that dismissals and replacements in such a scale are absolute exceptions in the practice of the Roman government. “Cardinal Sarah seems now to be very alone, and there are no voices anymore which would contradict the politically correct dominant liturgy.”

Armin Schwibach, the conservative Rome Correspondent for the Austrian news website, has made similarily strong comments on his own twitter account. In one of his two entries about this topic, he said: “What happened at the Divine Worship Congregation, one can indeed only sum up with the word (unique) ‘purge’.” Schwibach continues in his second comment, as follows: “Fascinating: again it becomes clear where the real game takes place. The rest is eyewash and spectacle for the large audience.”

These different comments from Europe as well as from the United States, as they are presented here make it clear that the concurrent indignation against the recent papal move goes beyond certain traditional groups and reaches deep into the center of the Catholic Church.

It may be now more realistically hoped that this dispersed and concurrent indignation over Pope Francis’ revolutionary methods will help more Catholics to open their eyes and understanding to realize what kind of destructive work he has been conducting and is still conducting to the Catholic Church. It is also to be hoped that Cardinal Sarah finds some consolation in seeing so much sympathy flowing to him from people who know that he now suffers for all of us, especially those who are determined to remain faithful to the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Update: As Edward Pentin reports on 4 November, 2016, the membership of nine cardinals was renewed by Pope Francis. Thus, not the whole Congregation was dismissed, as first was assumed by many observers. According to Pentin, however, “the majority of the Pope’s new choices have a distinctly preferential approach to Blessed Paul VI’s Novus Ordo Missae, the “ordinary form” of the liturgy most widely used in the Latin Church today.”  

59 thoughts on “Shakeup at Congregation for Divine Worship Described as a “Purge””

  1. We have word from Lund now that Pope Francis and the Lutherans plan on a ‘Shared Eucharist.’

    Who wants to bet that this purge is so that Francis and co. can now construct a new Catholic/Lutheran rite with a new ‘Eucharist’?

    One that probably doesn’t ‘Transubstantiate’ but rather vaguely just occurs as a symbol of unity and ecumenism and sharing and caring. Specifically made not only for joint Catholic/Lutheran worship but just about anyone. Heck maybe even the public adulterers will be allowed to partake of this bread.

    And make no mistake, the only thing there will be bread. But oh boy, can’t wait to see the praise and worship adoration sessions in front of this Abomination of Desolation.

    And you think the Novus Ordo was bad? Where we’re going, you won’t need Tabernacles.

      • Since when have facts ever mattered to Francis? If this is what he wants, then he and his underlings will devise some cockamamie mumbo-jumbo doublespeak to try and square the circle. Whether or not a Lutheran “consecration” is valid and effective (it’s not, of course) is irrelevant. If the past 50 years have taught us anything, if a pope repeats something often enough, the majority of Catholics will accept it without question.

        • That is not true. What is called sensus fidelium, meaning the whole of the faithful of the Church from the time of the apostles, is much more than some sociological majority. The Pope cannot change defined teaching by the Council of Trent or any other council or Pope. If he attempted to do such a thing, he would forthwith cease being Pope. I don’ think he is that reckless.

      • While I am still reading your link, thank you for providing it here. I had not heard of Marie-Julie before, but so far WOW.

        • You’re welcome! I know, she’s not that well known outside of France until recently, her biography and warnings are starting to spread in the English-speaking world. I stumbled upon her story on French websites and was literally stunned! So, I’ve taken everything I can find and put it one huge book, translated from the French, “We Are Warned: The Prophecies of Marie-Julie Jahenny”. You can read it online can download a copy here:

          I think download is an easier option, click on ‘Download Ebook’ next to the book details, it will go straight to your browser and you can read it in Adobe Reader. Not to mention, you can add it to an email attachment and send it to anyone you think might want to read it.

          • I have come across your work on the mystic M-J J. I find her words coming from Christ about the Mass terrifying and also about the Muslim hoard overrunning France (I have a house in the South of France). I read somewhere, maybe not in your book that the Good Monarch would, after coming to the aid of France would pacify England that would be in a civil war, and that the “queen” would abdicate. Can you confirm this? Our Queen is already 90!


          • Hi Paul, yes, it’s in the book, there would also be a civil war in England and the Great Monarch will come to the aid of England when he settles the troubles in France, however, if I’m not mistaken, (trying to remember things off the top of my head here) there will be a king when this happens, and he will be killed during the war. (So we can guess she will have either have stepped down or will have passed away before / during the civil war). The only prophecy I hear about the Queen in particular is that when she will enact things during her reign that heaven will not be happy with, (I think allowing the rule of succession to be changed, when kingship was always recognised via the male line is probably one issue) and there is another prophecy England will be divided into “four parts”, (I’d say ‘Home Rule’, “Brexit”, etc. is already starting this.) We can only try and read things as best we can.

          • Thank you very much for replying. Yes Brexit has/will unleash passions and disturbances. The United Kingdom is barely three hundred years old, the seperate kingdoms are far older. My take on Brexit is that it was the greatest revolt on behalf of the common man since the Pilgrimage of Grace under King Henry VIII. My fear is that the South of France, where I have a second home, is going to be under the Muslim invasion. Marie Julie Jahenny is overlooked in the Catholic world. But her prophecies are fascinating.

  2. When Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI first issued Summorum Pontificum, then Archbishop of Buennos Aires, Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, was the among the first to institute a traditional Tridentine Mass at his cathedral. So I think the Latin Mass is safe…at least for now

    What bothers me more is this constant talk of intercommunion with the Lutherans. I think this purge has more to do with innovations in that area than in which way the priest faces when offering the Holy Sacrifice

    • Except that what he instituted was actually a hybrid Mass, in which the celebrant priest mixed and matched parts of the Novus Ordo with the 1962 missal. Which, not surprisingly, turned out to be not very popular at all with its supposed audience. Protests were made, attendance collapsed, and it was discontinued within a year or so.

      For the time being, however, I don’t see any effort made to revoke or circumscribe Summorum. Any efforts made at against it will continue to be at the local level – making life difficult for priests or laity attempting to celebrate it per their canonical rights, etc.

    • Intercommunion with Lutherans is impossible because they don’t have the true faith in the Eucharist, the faith which was characteristic of all the Fathers of the Church. Luther invented a false doctrine about the Eucharist which is called impanation or consubstantiation. Our Lord would be pesent in the bread, but the bread remains. Luther was totally against the doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass, which is also universally held by all the Fathers of the Church and therefore false. The only ones who can have intercommunion are the Eastern Orthodox, as they have the true doctrine on the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Order, but that is not posisble yet until, with God’s grace they come to accept the doctrine of the Primacy of the Church of Rome.

  3. Although we must wait for even more proof, I don’t believe that it is possible for a Catholic who pays attention not to realize what is going on. It struck me today scanning headlines I saw that they want to attribute more miracles to this Romero liberation/communist theology guy and how in some eschatological scripture there’s something about working false miracles by which people are amazed although they are trickery. Again, if we look for subtle and metaphoric fulfillment of scripture, we can find it.

  4. Bishop Fellay and the SSPX just got the definitive answer as to whether or not they should take any deal offered by Francis. If the TLM ends up suppressed, Francis is to blame. He will bear the responsibility for having driven out droves of truly faithful Catholics who will have no choice but to go to the SSPX. I am one of them. Please God, take this man home to yourself!

    • Don’t be ridiculous. What are you saying? God is going to reward Bergoglio for apostasizing? Unrepentant apostates go to hell.

      • I am not being ridiculous. I said nothing in my post about God rewarding Bergoglio for apostasy. This all about Modernism’s effect on the Divine Liturgy for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. The Novus Ordo is a an absolute unmitigated disaster. Now we have Francis wiping out the last vestiges of liturgically minded sane prelates who have tried their best to maintain some sort of semblance of holiness and sacredness in the liturgy. The schism is coming. It is only a matter of time. The Modernist’s wildly succeeded in not only changing the words in the prayers of the Mass, but also in the pastoral practice of the Church. Show me the true good fruits of the Holy Spirit that resulted in the aftermath of Vatican II, and I will sell you the Brooklyn bridge.

        • My comment was in reference to your last sentence – Please God, take this man home to yourself…..which can only mean – take Bergoglio home to “heaven”. The problem is that sin has terrible consequences. Even one unrepented mortal sin at death dooms a soul. And Jorge is an apostate. I can no longer avoid that conclusion. If you disagree, I’d love to hear your reasons. Also, over some months, someone would comment on fear of schism. And I never gave it a second thought. But the sad truth is the church is already in schism. It’s just not official. There’s the Bergoglion “church” and there’s the true, faithful authentic church which Trads presumably belong to. Regarding Vat ll, I agree. The truth is there has been no “…good fruits of the Holy Spirit…” Even though the merits and problems of the 16 documents can be debated, pro and con.

          God bless.

          • I do not disagree with you. Yes, perhaps the cardinal to succeed the current pope might be much worse. But, with the stacking of the College of Cardinals by Francis, more than two-thirds of them will have his views. Sad. A great spiritual tribulation is upon us. How God will remedy all of this, only He knows. For the time being, I and my family continue to pray, do penance, and receive the sacraments as often as we can.

    • Take heart, the Church is the Body and the Bride of Christ and despite many calamatous popes it has survived and at the same time as they were popes, there were many great saints. The Church is more than any pope. It is the Church of thousands or martyrs, many great doctors and saints of all kinds. They are much more important to the Church than any fumbling by a pope who seems to be directing things in the wrong way.

    • But there are many who are truly priests who put Christ first and His teachings.
      They are out there……may God give you the grace to find one.

      • You’re right, and I’ve enjoyed the blessing of knowing quite a few. Unfortunately, I’m not able to change parishes, for reasons I can’t go into, but do have faithful priests available for weekday Masses, spiritual direction and confession. And in the mean time, I pray for my parish priest, that his eyes will be opened.

  5. This pope’s actions are becoming more and more brazen against any traditional teaching or the need for right worship. When will Benedict speak out?

    • Why would Benedict speak out? He supports Bergoglio in his plan to dismantle Christ’s church. They are both apostates by way of the heresy of Modernism.

  6. Christ said the Gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. So true, there are 3 places where the Catholic Church exists, heaven, purgatory and this.e worldly pandora’s box where we live. Heaven will always remain. We can well nigh empty purgatory by prayer. That is if we all pull our weight. It is a forgone conclusion that as more and more of us reject the Church teachings and practices, the sacraments etc, the rituals etc and thus we reject the Holy Spirit and the other and most important part is if we do not defend the Mystical Body of Christ.we will loose any acts of grace for God will not share his temple with his enemy, and the church on earth will be lost until reparation and atonement are made. I do not look forward to that sort of suffering and I think there are not many who will do the necessary acts for forgiveness. The desecration of the Eucharist was true message of Fatima. The grand finale in Oct all those years ago was Heavens seal of approval, no matter what all the pundits say. I mean those whom cklaim to know what Fatima was all about..
    Christ did not say to ‘the end of the world’ he said to the ‘end of the age’ (EON) a greek word only used twice in the original bible. We are in what age? Since the advent of the Advocate the tongues of Fire at the first catholic Pentecost started the age of the Holy Ghost, the eternal Divine Spirit of supernatural love and sanctifying grace. we can end that age and we are by cowardice and accommodation and the insulting way we, the majority, treat the Eucharist.

    • What a well-reasoned, well-articulated argument. You have contributed mightily to the intellectual integrity of this forum.

      (sarcasm off)

  7. The evidence mounts that Bergoglio is a leftist ideologue, exactly as appearances would suggest. Unfortunate indeed.

    p.s. “bare breasted lectoresses”? Really? Is that a thing now? Can’t think of too many of our local women I’d like to see up there in that position lol. Let’s see if we can get Melania to convert and become a reader. JK ppl. Lighten up. Forgive a little levity in such dour times;)

  8. We have a pope who does not like faithful Catholics nor the traditions of the Church. I cannot say with any certainly that he even believes in the Real Presence.

  9. Any reasonable person would call such an action a purge. One need not be a ‘conservative’ or ‘traditional’ Catholic, or even a Catholic at all, to see this.

    Anyone in the role of a ‘boss,’ with the capacity to ‘fire’ or otherwise remove those working ‘under’ him or her (whether this is a business, a government, a political campaign, whatever the context), who suddenly removes the entire ‘staff’ of a ‘department’ all in one move, and immediately replaces them with a new group having a very obvious difference of position, can be described as executing a ‘purge.’ If a President suddenly replaces their chief of staff and everyone linked to that person; if a CEO suddenly replaces all of the management in a certain branch of the company, this is an obvious sign of displeasure with those removed, and a deliberate 180 in policy/approach.

    The Church is neither a business, nor a government, nor an NGO; it is the Body of Christ. But the simple fact is that Francis is cutting the legs out from under Cardinal Sarah, as a very public rebuke / punishment / threat.

    I wouldn’t put it past him to actually remove someone from the college of Cardinals, to take away their red hat, if he felt they were a danger to the program.

    As I try to come to terms with the things unfolding, my mind often turns to this passage from Tolkien:

    ‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.

    ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    • Once Cardinal Sarah has completed the five year period for which he was appointed, I think he will get the boot just as Cardinal Burke did. He might be put in charge of the Vatican library or some other ceremonial post, just as Cardinal Burke was. PF also gave the Archbishop of Rosario in Argentina, one of the main dioceses after BA, the boot. Another offered his resignation in time before receiving the same treatment. They were part of the the opposition to Bergoglio. He seems to be ruthless.

      • Bitterly ironic that a man who loves to pass himself off as the great champion of ‘decentralization’ exercises the Petrine ministry like a dictatorship.


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