Because Pope Francis never confirmed Cañizares in his curial position but merely allowed him to remain in it, there has been much speculation since Francis’ election in March 2013 that Cañizares would be replaced.

Traditionalists were alarmed when Pope Francis met with Archbishop Piero Marini shortly after his election to the papacy, for Piero Marini is a disciple of Annibale Bugnini who carried out the liturgical reforms under Pope Paul VI. People on all sides of the liturgical disputes wondered, with shock or glee, whether Marini would be named Cañizares’ replacement. But since Marini is 73 years old by now, some doubt that he would be named to the important curial post.

John Thavis calls it a “new chapter in Pope Francis’ revolution” that Cañizares was sent back to a diocese after being a prefect in Rome. Thavis sees this unusual move as serving to “remind the prelates that their time in Rome is a sacrifice, not a career move.”

It will be very interesting to see whom Francis names as new prefect of the CDW, and whether the new guy is more in the camp of Cañizares or of Piero Marini.