The future of the Congregation for Divine Worship

From the site Palazzo Apostolico we find this bit.  Keep in mind this is consistent with the usual back halls murmuring anytime the main chairs of dicasteries come into play.  The following is typical of Roman curial speculation.  My translation:

Benedict XVI will have to decide who will go to replace the 75 year old Francis Card. Arize at [the Congregation for] Divine Worship.  If the present Secretary of the Congregation, the Sri Lankan [Archbishop] Malcolm Ranjith seem to be the favored candidate – he enjoys the good opinion of the Pope – his acts of spending himself in defense of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum could have crated not a few enemies for him among those monsignors of the Curia who, even today, are close adherents of the dictates of the late Annibale Bugnini, are not look with a favorable eye on a liturgical "reform of the reform".

 

During my December time in Rome, I had quite a few conversations about the Congregation.  I am pleased that there are some personnel developments there which are very encouraging.  There are certainly the old guard in the CDW who would just as soon still have a portrait of Paul VI on their office wall, rather than these other Pope’s who have come along.  They are senior officials now and have some clout.  However, the top positions of the Congregation will be picked by the Holy Father.   Archbp. Ranjith is not Secretary by accident.  He is the man the Holy Father wanted in that chair.  It is unlikely that Pope Benedict will now forget about him. 

At the same time, while Card. Arinze is 75 now, and at the age where his mandate comes up for review by the Holy Father for reasons of age, nothing is going to compell the 80 year old Pope to replace Card. Arinze before he is good and ready.  Until he does, Card. Arinze is the Prefect of that Congregation and no one else.  With Ranjith in the second chair, the Congregation still has a very strong leadership despite the machinations of the aging hippie types whose ranks are also being thinned by the biological solution.

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22 Responses to The future of the Congregation for Divine Worship

  1. I hate to be a wet blanket, but after over a quarter century of working in the bureaucracy of the Federal government, it seems to me that a change at the top positions doesn’t always effect overall change, so long as those at upper- and mid-level career management positions insist on maintaining the status quo. I fear that whomever gets the nod as Prefect of the CDW is going to need the gift of fortitude in abundance. That, and a few good men as a “braintrust” by his side.

  2. Matt Q says:

    David L Alexander wrote:

    “I hate to be a wet blanket, but after over a quarter century of working in the bureaucracy of the Federal government, it seems to me that a change at the top positions doesn’t always effect overall change, so long as those at upper- and mid-level career management positions insist on maintaining the status quo. I fear that whomever gets the nod as Prefect of the CDW is going to need the gift of fortitude in abundance. That, and a few good men as a “braintrust” by his side.”

    Thanks, David. Your observation is quite true. At the same time, am I missing something here? Like any CEO of a company, he is free to change the staff as he sees fit. If his executives are managing contrary to his directives for the company, he replaces them. Period. What is the matter with this Church and the long-sufferings of the Popes? No Pope is under any obligation to keep any prelate or any priest in any position. In this case, the Church is not bound by contractual restraints and obligations when a bishop or cardinal is put into a certain position. The Faithful suffers, souls are lost, treasures of the Church as smashed and destroyed… but for some sort of false piety about handling people the Catholic diaspora continues. Really, no one has ever been able to explain or offer any insight as to why a Pope cannot clean house.

  3. “What is the matter with this Church and the long-sufferings of the Popes? …the Church is not bound by contractual restraints and obligations…”

    When an employer terminates an employee, the end of the latter’s compensation follows. But what to do with dozens of curial operatives who are replaced, who are still on the dole whatever their usefulness? Many are bishops and archbishops by title, so giving them “a real job” in parish work is unlikely. My comparison was intended to explain the current state of things. It has its limits.

    It is also not new to the history of the Church, or did you think the Borgia popes arose out of a vacuum?

  4. Guy Power says:

    David: But what to do with dozens of curial operatives who are replaced, who are still on the dole whatever their usefulness?

    In the army, and in the federal agency where I currently work, those positions are called “Special Assistant to the Commander [or Center Director].”

    How ’bout, “Special Assistant to the Holy Father”?

    :^D

  5. Little Gal says:

    “But what to do with dozens of curial operatives who are replaced, who are still on the dole whatever their usefulness?”

    We have a priest shortage. What about sending these folks back to their primary mission as priests? Send them back to the parishes.

  6. “What about sending these folks back to their primary mission as priests?”

    Already answered that. See above.

    “How ‘bout, ‘Special Assistant to the Holy Father’?”

    In my agency, we call that “getting kicked upstairs.” There’s only room for so many, though.

  7. Little Gal says:

    David:

    As someone who has worked for the government myself for 7 1/2 years, I can tell you that there are some government employees (not yours truly) who have perfected the art of doing absolutely nothing. Bumping them upstairs creates more of a problem in getting thru new policies and programs. Sending these guys back to the parishes would be hard work.

  8. Matt Q says:

    See, again, the question goes unanswered, and again, more excuses and speculations why not. Just CLEAN HOUSE. Like the corporate way, go find something else to do. There all kinds of ministries and what-not in the Church, and a lot of schlock jobs also. Since they are still on the dole, get a bloody move on. Look at what Piero Marini got. These men think they are so wide, let them have it and see what they can do with it.

    No prelate is ENTITLED to have a Curial or other Vatican position. They serve at the pleasure of the Pope and should be dismissed at his displeasure.

  9. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Father:

    I remember reading somewhere that there was a rite for the unmaking of an archbishop. Is there, similarly, some rite for the unmaking of a curial official?

  10. Matthew Mattingly says:

    Arinze was pretty much a “Do NOthing” Prefect. Ranjinth is the powerful force in that curial Office. I hope He’s the next Prefect.
    What I would hate to see (and I hope it won’t happen), is somehow Arinze stays on for 2 years and Benedict XVI replaces him with……PIERO MARINI.
    I think alot of people would be up in arms angry if that happened.

  11. Jim says:

    The Church is not the usual bureaucracy. To say it is ignores the role of the Holy Spirit and reduces the Church to a purely human institution governed. Nevertheless, it is apparent to me that a significant group of Catholics in middle to top “management” posts are in rebellion to the goals of the Holy Father. Not “open” rebellion mind you, but rebellion nevertheless. It is a short leap from quiet rebellion to open schism, and that may explain the reluctance of some pontiffs to abstain from imposing discipline where it truly is appropriate. Time will tell whether Benedict has the moral courage to reign in some of the most outspoken dissidents. The toppling of a few might do wonders to make the others change their tune. Only the Holy Spirit knows. Let us pray for our Holy Father and all orthodox bishops.

  12. “Sending these guys back to the parishes would be hard work.”

    Little Gal, you’re probably right. But people who make these decisions are not always around to live with the results. Earlier, I wrote: “Many are bishops and archbishops by title, so giving them ‘a real job’ in parish work is unlikely.” Perhaps it is not wise to raise curial officials to the espicopacy, in the event that they may be needed elsewhere. But what’s done is done, and I wonder if reducing a titular archbishop to being a parish priest is wise for the dignity of the office, not to mention the genuine needs of the parish.

    Would you want your parish to be where bishops take charge when they’ve been bad?

    Even if the Curia is “not the usual bureaucracy,” its operatives are subject to the usual human failings. I guess what I’m trying to say here is, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and reforming its inner workings won’t happen any quicker.

  13. Little Gal says:

    “Would you want your parish to be where bishops take charge when they’ve been bad?”

    I wish there were a better word than ‘bad’. I think many times that people-including priests- are promoted out of their range of talents. I also think that with the vocation of priest that it’s possible for some not to continue renewing their sense of their primary mission as priest and that is when a type of spiritual disease- for want of a better word- overtakes them. Although, I know of priests who regularly take time for a week or two of silent retreats to refocus themselves, it doesn’t seem that many do this.

    I believe in redemption and the power of the Holy Spirit.
    I also believe that no one can advance in holiness unless they are humble. Being reassigned to me, should not be seen as a demotion of a job, but as an opportunity to grow spiritually. Change can be a great teacher and so from my perspective, I don’t think that receiving a pastor or assistant pastor with this situation would bother me at all. If it did, I would have the problem.

    I’m reminded of that movie, The Cardinal, where the main character, Fr. Fermoyle is demoted by his bishop to the humble position of assistant pastor to the character played by Burgess Meredith. Meredith’s character thinks he is a failure as a priest, but in fact he is a holy man. Fermoyle learns from his ‘demotion.’ and it makes him a better priest. And, he goes on to greater things.

  14. “I’m reminded of that movie, The Cardinal, where the main character, Fr Fermoyle is demoted by his bishop to the humble position of assistant pastor to the character played by Burgess Meredith.”

    Oh yeah, I really love that movie. I wanna get it on DVD, ‘cuz I wish real life was like that.

    Maybe it CAN be…

  15. TNCath says:

    The movie version of The Cardinal is wonderful, and the book is even better. The scene when Cardinal Glennon (played by John Huston) comes to administer Extreme Unction to a dying Msgr. Halley (Burgess Meredith) is especially touching. Perhaps at the next meeting of the USCCB, they could have a “movie night” and show it? I know this sounds silly, but perhaps in this visual age, they need some visual reminders.

  16. Louis E. says:

    It is certainly a done thing for a bishop to serve as a pastor as part of his duties as an auxiliary/episcopal vicar.
    That said,only the most senior officials of the Curia(Prefects/Presidents,Pro-Prefects/Vice Presidents,Secretaries,Adjunct Secretaries) generally receive episcopal consecration…Undersecretaries and below (Capo Ufficio,Aiutante del Studio,Minutante,etc) are generally monsignori or simple priests.
    I can imagine seeing that one’s pastor is an “exile” can lead to trepidation.Cardinal O’Connell assigned the future Cardinal Spellman,named as his auxiliary,to a distant parish because he wanted a free hand running the archdiocese despite his nephew the chancellor having run off with a chunk of church funds,and like the fictitious Fermoyle Spellman went “on to greater things”.On the other hand a disgraced Capo Ufficio coming and adding Heavy Metal Gay Striptease Mass to the calendar and renovating the church to accomodate it…

  17. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Louis E., I think somewhere on this blog you did claim to be a theist, but that you want nothing to do with the Catholic faith. I’m sorry for us priests, because we are missing what could be your very powerful prayers graced by the Sacraments of the Church. You seem to want the right thing, but the more you hesitate, the more you can slip into a cynicism that will only hurt you more and more.

  18. Little Gal says:

    ” I can imagine seeing that one’s pastor is an “exile” can lead to trepidation.”

    One of the things that we learn to do is reframe ‘failure’, in terms of our faithwalk. I know that when I began seriously asking God to show me my faults (so that I could change), I started to judge others less. The sacrament of Confession is a wonderful sacramental ‘vehicle for change.’ So, for myself, this has had significance for how I view our priests and many aspects of the faith. You know, both priests and the laity are students of and teachers for each other.

  19. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Actually, Little Gal, the greatest prophet had the words “You brood of vipers” ready on his lips, and any reprimand from him was a great act of charity.

    Overlooking the sinful actions of others who are, then, clearly risking going straight to hell, is no progress on any “faithwalk”. It merely helps to ensure that more go to hell. That isn’t what you are doing, is it? Just a question, considering so many of your other posts on this site.

    One has to wonder, then, what you mean by Confession as a ‘vehicle for change’… It is good to know that each of us, without God’s grace and given the circumstances, would be right there on Calvary with all the hatred, violence, torture and death against our Lord. Knowing that helps us to bring others back to God, those who may be doing just that. That’s true. However, ignoring the sins of others because you know that you would do the same thing as them, given the circumstances, is wrong. But this is precisely what is done by so many. You don’t do that, do you?

  20. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I’d like to ask everyone the $100,000 question:

    What is the liklihood that Benedict XVI would turn around and replace Arinze with PIERO MARINI?

    A) Impossible- considering his record as Papal MC and his views.
    B) Unlikely – but Benedict XVI has caved in before.
    C) A Certainty. Ranjith’s an outsider and there’s no one else.
    C)

  21. “[O]nly the most senior officials of the Curia(Prefects/Presidents,Pro-Prefects/Vice Presidents,Secretaries,Adjunct Secretaries) generally receive episcopal consecration…”

    My point exactly.

  22. Sean says:

    I am hearing utterances that Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne Australia is tipped as a replacement for Cardinal Arinze….would be an interesting choice…..