The sweeping replacement of many conservative members of the Congregation for Divine Worship is viewed as a major purge.
All 27 members of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) and the Discipline of Sacraments have been replaced with exception of its prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah. Cardinals Burke, Ranjith, Pell, Piacenza, Scola, Ouellet, and Bagnasco have been officially ousted.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the congregation of the Roman Curia that handles most affairs relating to the Liturgy and the Sacraments of the Latin Church.
Among the new members, Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishops Hart and Aubertin, and Bishops Morerod, Serratelli, and Hopes have participated in or celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass as bishops, and are known to be friendly toward traditional Catholics.
Among those who have been appointed, of particular concern are Cardinals Paroli, Dew, and Ravasi, along with Archbishops Piero Marini and Serrentino. Cardinal Dew was one of the most radical figures in the Synods of 2014 and 2015, advocating that the Church needed to "change its language"with respect to describing homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered."
Archbishop Piero Marini was the secretary of Annibal Bunigni and shares the same spirit in implementing the liturgical revolution that has been ongoing since the Council. Archbishop Sorrentino was the Secretary of the CDW from 2003 to 2005, but he was removed in 2005 because of his opposition to then-Pope Benedict's XVI's liturgical vision.
Cardinal Robert Sarah has now become increasingly isolated in his own Congregation. His second-in-command and Secretary of the CDW, Archbishop Arthur Roche, is anything but traditional-friendly in his liturgical leanings. Recent support for Cardinal Sarah's proposal that priests begin celebrating ad orientem during Advent was met with strong resistance from inside the Vatican despite Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI's support.
It is legitimate to fear that Pope Francis will make use of the newly revamped CDW to push more sweeping liturgical reforms on the Church. It must be remembered that the Pope previously ordered Cardinal Sarah to grant permission for women to have their feet washed during Maundy Thursday. Given Pope Francis' recent overtures to Lutherans, the new members of this congregation will undoubtedly be more responsive to a softened approach in matters of liturgy.