Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tornando a Colombo

Early word from Rome on this last day of April forecasts a significant, long-tipped move in the liturgy world: Il Giornale's Andrea Tornielli reports that, possibly come Saturday, the Pope will transfer the #2 of the Congregation for Divine Worship Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith back to his native Sri Lanka as archbishop of Colombo.

First aired last October in the pages of The Tablet, the move for the B16 favorite would place the 60 year-old prelate (right) at the forefront of the crucial Asian church and possibly, Tornielli writes, in line for the cardinal's red hat, an honor given to just one previous Sri Lankan over Catholicism's centuries of history in the war-torn island-nation.

An auxiliary in the 700,000-member Colombo church before stints as a diocesan bishop, Vatican official and papal diplomat, Ranjith's become a flashpoint in church circles over his staunch support for the 1962 Missal and traditional practices such as receiving the Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue, all elements of Benedict XVI's liturgical program. While the archbishop was restored to the Curia months after his patron's election to Peter's chair as lieutenant to the then-CDW prefect Cardinal Francis Arinze, the dynamic atop the global church's liturgy office has shifted even more decisively in Benedict's favor since the arrival late last year of its new head Cardinal Antonio CaƱizares, a longstanding collaborator of the Pope's whose closeness to Benedict once earned him the nickname "Ratzingerino," the "Little Ratzinger."

With the Congregation overseeing the approvals for the revised translation of the Missale Romanum in English, Tornielli notes that Ranjith's successor at Divine Worship is "with all probability" likely to be "an Anglophone prelate." If the Colombo appointment proceeds as reported, the Curialist would succeed Archbishop Oswald Gomis, who reached the retirement age of 75 in December 2007.