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Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

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Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Latin: Dicasterium de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum
Italian: Dicastero per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti
Coat of arms of the Holy See

The twin Palazzi delle Congregazioni facing one another in Piazza Pio XII (in front of St. Peter's Square) house a number of departments of the Roman Curia
Dicastery overview
FormedMarch 1, 1989; 35 years ago (1989-03-01) (as a Congregation with the same name)[1]
Preceding agencies
  • Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship
    (formed May 8, 1969; 55 years ago (1969-05-08))
  • Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments
    (formed June 29, 1908; 116 years ago (1908-06-29))
  • Sacred Congregation for Rites
    (formed January 22, 1588; 436 years ago (1588-01-22))
HeadquartersPalazzo delle Congregazioni, Piazza Pio XII, Rome, Italy
Dicastery executives

The Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Latin: Dicasterium de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum) is the dicastery (from Greek: δικαστήριον, romanizeddikastērion, lit.'law-court', from δικαστής, 'judge, juror') of the Roman Curia that handles most affairs relating to liturgical practices of the Latin Church as distinct from the Eastern Catholic Churches and also some technical matters relating to the sacraments.

Prior to June 2022, the dicastery was officially named the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (only the first word being different). This former name has often been shortened to Congregation for Divine Worship, further abbreviated as Divine Worship or CDW.[2][3]

Establishment of status quo Years in effect Dicasteries by competency
Pope Decree Sacraments Liturgy Canonizations of saints
Pope Sixtus V[4] Immensa Aeterni Dei 1588–1908 Sacred Congregation of Rites[4]
(Sacra Rituum Congregatio)
Pope Pius X[5] Sapienti consilio 1908–1969 Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments[5][6]
(Sacra Congregatio de Disciplina Sacramentorum)
Sacred Congregation of Holy Rites[5]
(Sacra Congregatio sacrorum Rituum)
Pope Paul VI[7] Sacra Rituum Congregatio 1969–1975 Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship[7]
(Sacra Congregatio pro Cultu Divino)
Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints[7]
(Sacra Congregatio pro Causis Sanctorum)
Pope Paul VI[6] Constans nobis 1975–1984 Sacred Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship[6]
(Sacra Congregatio pro Sacramentis Divinoque Cultu,[6]
later Sacra Congregatio pro Sacramentis et Cultu Divino[8])
Pope John Paul II[8] Quoniam in celeri 1984–1989 Sacred Congregation for Sacraments[8]
(Sacra Congregatio pro Sacramentis)
Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship[8]
(Sacra Congregatio pro Cultu Divino)
Pope John Paul II[1] Pastor bonus 1989–2022 Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments[1]
(Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum)
Congregation for the Causes of Saints[4][1]
(Congregatio de Causis Sanctorum)
Pope Francis[9] Praedicate evangelium 2022–present Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments[9]
(Dicasterium de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum)
Dicastery for the Causes of Saints[9]
(Dicasterium de Causis Sanctorum)

List of accorded responsibilities


The Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus, issued by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988, established the congregation's functions:

  • Regulation and promotion of the liturgy, primarily of the sacraments
  • 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
  • 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 in a diocese or locality
  • The valid authorisation of canonical coronations for venerated Catholic images decreed from a Pope
  • The elevation of sanctuaries to 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 30 August 2011, Pope Benedict XVI transferred jurisdiction over unconsummated marriages and the nullification of ordinations to the Roman Rota to relieve the congregation of administrative burdens and allow it to focus on liturgy, its principal responsibility.[10][11] In 2012, the congregation added an office devoted to liturgical architecture and music.[12]

From 2001 to 2017, the congregation had primary authority over a nation's liturgical translations.[13] On 9 September 2017, Pope Francis weakened the congregation's authority with his motu proprio titled Magnum principium,[14] ensuring that, starting 1 October 2017,[14] the nation's Conference of Bishops will manage local liturgical translations.[15][14] On 22 October 2017, the Vatican released a letter that Pope Francis had sent to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament, Cardinal Robert Sarah, clarifying that the Vatican and its departments would have limited authority to confirm liturgical translations recognized by a local Conference of Bishops,[16] thus retracting a commentary which Sarah had published on 13 October 2017.[17]

In March 2021, following Sarah's retirement, Pope Francis charged Claudio Maniago, leader of the Italian Episcopal Conference's liturgy programs, with undertaking a canonical visitation of the Congregation of Divine Worship in anticipation of the appointment of a new prefect.[18][19] Francis then named Arthur Roche prefect on 27 May 2021.[20]

Cardinal Prefects

Prefect of the
Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Arthur Roche
since 27 May 2021
Member ofRoman Curia
AppointerThe Pope
Term lengthFive years (renewable)
Constituting instrumentPastor bonus (1988)
Praedicate evangelium (2022)
PrecursorPrefect of the S.C. for Divine Worship
Prefect of the S.C. for Sacraments
Inaugural holderEduardo Martínez Somalo
FormationMarch 1, 1989; 35 years ago (1989-03-01) (as prefecture of the Congregation with the same name)



Vox Clara Committee


In 2001, the congregation established the Vox Clara Committee, composed of senior bishops from episcopal conferences throughout the English-speaking world. It advises the congregation on English-language liturgical texts and their distribution. It meets in Rome.[21]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d Pope John Paul II (28 June 1988). "Pastor bonus". Holy See.
  2. ^ Besmond de Senneville, Loup (28 May 2021). "Arthur Roche named prefect at Divine Worship". La Croix.
  3. ^ "Pope Francis names Cardinal Cupich a member of Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship". Catholic News Agency. 1 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Congregation for the Causes of Saints". vatican.va.
  5. ^ a b c Pope Pius X (29 June 1908). "Sapienti consilio" (in Latin). Holy See.
  6. ^ a b c d Pope Paul VI (11 July 1975). "Constans nobis" (in Latin). Holy See.
  7. ^ a b c Pope Paul VI (8 May 1969). "Sacra Rituum Congregatio" (in Latin). Holy See.
  8. ^ a b c d Pope John Paul II (4 April 1984). "Quoniam in celeri" (in Latin). Holy See. [C]onstituimus ut Sacra Congregatio pro Sacramentis et Cultu Divino in duas Congregationes dividatur, quarum altera pro Sacramentis, altera pro Cultu Divino nominetur. [We decree that the Sacred Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship is to be divided into two Congregations, one of which is "for Sacraments," the other "for Divine Worship."]
  9. ^ a b c Pope Francis (19 March 2022). "Praedicate evangelium" (in Italian). Holy See.
  10. ^ "Apostolic Letter: Quaerit Semper". Holy See. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  11. ^ Tornielli, Andrea (14 November 2012). "Congregation of Divine Worship undergoes reform". La Stampa. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  12. ^ Wooden, Cindy (14 November 2012). "Vatican congregation sets up office for art, architecture, music". The Catholic Register. Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 13 January 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  13. ^ Horowitz, Jason (9 September 2017). "Pope Francis Shifts Power From Rome With 'Hugely Important' Liturgical Reform". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Horowitz, Jason (9 September 2017). "Pope Francis Shifts Power from Rome with 'Hugely Important' Liturgical Reform". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio "Magnum Principium" Quibus nonnulla in can. 838 Codicis Iuris Canonici immutantur".
  16. ^ "In letter to Cardinal Sarah, pope clarifies new translation norms".
  17. ^ "Cardinal Sarah Confirms Vatican Retains Last Word on Translations".
  18. ^ Wooden, Cindy (15 March 2021). "Before naming Cardinal Sarah's replacement, Pope Francis wants an outside review of the congregation for worship". America. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  19. ^ Cernuzio, Salvatore (17 March 2021). "Vaticano, visita interna al Dicastero del Culto Divino prima della scelta del nuovo prefetto". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  20. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 27.05.2021" (Press release) (in Italian). 27 May 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  21. ^ Wooden, Cindy (8 February 2011). "Vox Clara, advising Vatican on English liturgy texts, gets new members". Catholic News Service (archived). Archived from the original on 1 August 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2020.