Worship congregation head reassigned out of Rome by Pope

Pope Francis has reassigned one of his predecessor’s key appointments to a position out of Rome.

After six years as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera has been appointed Archbishop of Valencia in Spain.

Cardinal Canizares told Vatican Insider that he had asked for a diocesan appointment.

Valencia is his home archdiocese and the cardinal said he told Pope Francis he wanted to live with the “smell of the sheep”.

Cardinal Canizares said the congregation under his leadership has “worked to carry on the liturgical renewal prompted by the Second Vatican Council”.

“We need to keep on working so that the Council is fully implemented in the liturgical field, according to what Benedict XVI stated: God is the subject of liturgy, not us. Liturgy is not an action of man, but an action of God,” he said.

The cardinal said Pope Francis supported the work the congregation has been doing.

It is highly unusual that Cardinal Canizares’s successor was not named when his Valencia appointment was announced.

According to a Catholic News Agency story, the next prefect at the Congregation for Divine Worship could be disclosed after an upcoming meeting of the council of cardinals advising Pope Francis.

That meeting is scheduled for September 15-17.

Another possibility is that the worship and saints causes congregations could be merged.

Supporting this proposition is that fact that Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, has been only confirmed “ad interim” by Pope Francis, yet he has passed the age of retirement and his successor has not yet been appointed.

The current Archbishop of Valencia, Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra, has been appointed Archbishop of Madrid, making him the de facto leader of Spanish Catholicism.

Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, 78, has retired as Archbishop of Madrid.

Many saw Cardinal Canizares as his logical successor, so the way Pope Francis has made these appointments is telling.

Writing in the Boston Globe, John Allen stated there has long been a split among the Spanish bishops between those who favour dialogue with secularism and those who want to fight it.

While Cardinal Rouco embodied the confrontational option, Archbishop Osoro is associated with the moderate line and Cardinal Canizares was seen as a “little Ratzinger”, Allen wrote.

Francis wants bishops who are orthodox in doctrine, but who are committed to dialogue and outreach, Allen added.


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