English Bishop to lead Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Arthur Roche as Prefect of the Holy See’s department for liturgy (CDW), making him the highest ranking English priest in the Vatican Curia. His appointment is widely seen as an overhaul of the office which oversees the practice of worship across the global Church.

The former Bishop of Leeds was born in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, England. He served as general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales in 1996, and auxiliary bishop of Westminster from 2001, before becoming bishop of Leeds, his home diocese. He was called to Rome in 2012 to be secretary of the CDW and now succeeds Cardinal Robert Sarah.

Sources say that the English archbishop developed a good working relationship with Pope Francis, because of his ability at navigating difficult situations as well as his loyalty and commitment to the Second Vatican Council.

As Prefect of the congregation, he may be expected to be made cardinal at the next consistory as all his predecessors have been.

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