Vatican City, May 27, 2021 / 05:37 am
Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Arthur Roche on Thursday as the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Roche, the current secretary for the congregation, succeeds Cardinal Robert Sarah, who served as its prefect for six years until the pope accepted his resignation in February at the age of 75.
The Vatican announced the English archbishop’s appointment on May 27, along with the nomination of Italian Bishop Vittorio Francesco Viola of Tortona as the congregation’s secretary and Spanish monsignor Aurelio García Marcías as under-secretary.
Roche, 71, has worked in the divine worship congregation since his appointment by Benedict XVI in 2012.
He was an auxiliary bishop of the English Diocese of Westminster from 2001 to 2002, when he was named coadjutor bishop of Leeds in West Yorkshire. He served as bishop of Leeds from 2004 to 2012, with his tenure marked by controversy over church closures.
He was also chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) from 2002 to 2012, helping to oversee a new translation of the Roman Missal.
In recent years, Roche has acted as a go-between for the pope and Cardinal Sarah in liturgical issues. He was entrusted with writing a commentary to the 2017 motu proprio Magnum principium, which shifted the responsibility of translating liturgical texts to bishops’ regional and national conferences. The commentary came out along with the publication of the motu proprio.
In 2019, the pope appointed Roche as a member of the team to examine appeals on delicta graviora, the gravest crimes dealt with by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which include the sexual abuse of minors.