Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

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The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Latin: Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum) is the congregation of the Roman Curia that handles most affairs relating to liturgical practices of the Latin Catholic Church as distinct from the Eastern Catholic Churches and also some technical matters relating to the Sacraments. Its functions were originally exercised by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, set up in January 1588 by Pope Sixtus V.

Current leadership[edit]


The congregation is the direct successor of the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments (Sacra Congregatio de Disciplina Sacramentorum) (1908–1969).

In 1975 it was given the title Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship (Congregatio de Sacramentis et Cultu Divino) and incorporated the functions of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship (Sacra Congregatio pro Cultu Divino) which had been created in 1969 to take on responsibility for the liturgical affairs previously handled by the Sacred Congregation of Rites (Sacra Rituum Congregatio) (1588-1969).

For an interlude in 1984-1988 it was briefly redivided into the Congregation for the Sacraments (Congregatio de Sacramentis) and the Congregation for Divine Worship (Congregatio de Cultu Divino), under one and the same Prefect.


The Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, issued by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988 laid down the functions of the congregation, including:

  • the regulation and promotion of the liturgy, primarily of the sacraments
  • the regulation of the administration of the sacraments, especially regarding their valid and licit celebration
  • promoting liturgical pastoral activity, especially regarding the celebration of the Eucharist
  • the drawing up and revision of liturgical texts
  • reviewing particular calendars and proper texts for the Mass and the Divine Office
  • granting the recognitio to translations of liturgical books and their adaptations
  • promoting the liturgical apostolate or sacred music, song or art
  • ensuring that liturgical norms are accurately observed, and that abuses are avoided and eliminated where they are found to exist.
  • examining the fact of non-consummation in a marriage and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation.
  • examining cases concerning the nullity of ordination.
  • regulating the cult of relics, the confirmation of heavenly patrons and the granting of the title of minor basilica
  • giving assistance to bishops so that the prayers and pious exercises of the Christian people may be fostered and held in high esteem

On August 30, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI issued the Motu Proprio Quaerit Semper[1] which modifies the competency of the congregation by taking away responsibility for unconsummated marriages and nullity of ordination cases. According to the Motu Proprio, this was done because "In these circumstances, it appeared adequate that the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments be dedicated essentially [potissimum] to a resumption of the Sacred Liturgy in the Church, according to the renewal that the Second Vatican Council desired, beginning with the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium."[2]

Cardinal Prefects[edit]


Vox Clara Committee[edit]

The "Vox Clara Committee" is a committee of senior bishops from episcopal conferences throughout the English-speaking world, formed by the Congregation itself, in 2001, to provide advice to the Holy See concerning English-language liturgical books, and to strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.

The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Cardinal George Pell (Prefect of the Holy See’s Secretariate for the Economy). The First Vice-Chairman is Bishop Thomas Olmsted (Phoenix, USA), its Second Vice-Chairman is Cardinal Oswald Gracias (Bombay, India), and its treasurer is Cardinal Justin Rigali (Philadelphia, USA, Emeritus). The Bishop Secretary is Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli (Paterson, USA).

The committee's other members are: Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I. (Chicago, USA), Cardinal John Tong Hon (Hong Kong), Archbishop Alfred Hughes (New Orleans, USA, Emeritus), Archbishop Michael Neary (Tuam, Ireland), Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. (Ottawa, Canada), and Bishop David McGough (Birmingham, England, Auxiliary).

The Commitee's Executive Secretary is Monsignor James P. Moroney (USA)

The Committee is assisted by the following priests: Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B (expert, USA), Reverend Dennis McManus (expert, USA), Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (advisor, England), Monsignor Gerard McKay (advisor, Rome), Reverend Joseph Briody (special assistant, USA) and Reverend Gerard Byrne (special assistant, Scotland).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]