The New Zealand Catholic bishops welcomed Pope Francis’ decision to appoint Cardinal John Dew of Wellington to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW).The bishops were informed of Cardinal Dew’s appointment to the CDW during their conference meetings in the last week of October.

On October 28, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has appointed 27 new members to the Congregation for Divine Worship.

In a statement, Cardinal Dew said he is looking forward to working with other members of the congregation.

The congregation, which deals with liturgical questions and the celebration of the sacraments, began as two separate offices until they were joined by Blessed Paul VI in 1975.

The Holy See announced the nomination by the Pope of ten cardinals, seven archbishops and ten bishops as members of the congregation.

Among the prominent new members of the congregation will be Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

According to Catholic World News, the most controversial new appointment is that of Archbishop Piero Marini, who clashed frequently with liturgical conservatives during the years when he served as master of ceremonies for papal liturgies under St John Paul II.

The NZ bishops were also pleased to see representation from Australia in the appointment of
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart. This comes soon after the announcement that the Oceania region will have another cardinal — Cardinal-elect Sir John Ribat of Papua New Guinea.

According to an article on the website of the UK Catholic weekly The Tablet, the appointments by Pope Francis will be seen as “the Pope’s attempt to rein in the cardinal [CDW Prefect Cardinal Robert Sarah] who has consistently called for priests to celebrate Mass facing East, something the Pope reprimanded him for earlier this year”.

Last year, Cardinal Dew was appointed to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.