Irreversible

In his first public lecture as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche left no doubt as to the direction the congregation will take under his leadership. He did so by quoting Pope Francis’ words, referring to the reform of the liturgy approved by the Second Vatican Council: “We can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” He spoke not only as prefect of the Vatican congregation but also from 46 years experience as a priest, 20 as a bishop (10 as a diocesan bishop, almost 10 as secretary of the congregation) and as a Catholic who “straddled the pre- and post-Vatican II eras.”

In the inaugural address to staff and students for the opening of the academic year at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm in Rome, Archbishop Roche emphasis on the need for “prepared and balanced” people who think with the church reflected the concern of many bishops that not infrequently today, new priests lack “preparation and balance” in liturgical matters or succumb to “ecclesiastical ideologies” or simply go their own way in terms of their vision of church and liturgical practice. Such concerns were also part of the background that gave rise to Pope Francis’ July 16 decree, “Traditionis Custodes,”restricting celebration of the pre-Vatican II, Tridentine Latin Mass.

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