Arthur Roche (born 6 March 1950) is an English archbishop of the Catholic Church. On 26 June 2012, he was named by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, at which time he was raised to his current rank.
Roche had served as the ninth Bishop of Leeds, having served previously as Coadjutor Bishop of Leeds and, before that, as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster, England's principal Catholic diocese.
Arthur Roche was born in the village of Batley Carr, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Arthur and Frances Roche. He attended St Joseph's Primary School, St John Fisher High School and Christleton Hall. From 1969 to 1975, he studied at St Alban's College in Valladolid, Spain, where he obtained a degree in theology from the Comillas Pontifical University. Upon his return to England, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop William Wheeler for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds on 19 July 1975.
Roche's first appointment in the diocese was as assistant priest at Holy Rood Church in Barnsley until 1978, when he became private secretary to Bishop William Gordon Wheeler. He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the diocese in 1979. From 1982 to 1989, he served on the staff of St Anne's Cathedral in Leeds, and helped to organise the visit of Pope John Paul II to York in May 1982.
Roche was the diocesan Financial Secretary from 1986 to 1991, during which time he was also named parish priest St Wilfrid's Church in January 1989. In 1991, he furthered his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he was awarded a Licence in Theology (STL), and later became spiritual director of the Venerable English College. He was appointed General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (April 1996) and raised to rank of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness.
On 12 April 2001, Roche was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Titular Bishop of Rusticiana by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 10 May in Westminster Cathedral from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, with Bishops David Konstant and Victor Guazzelli serving as co-consecrators.
Roche was named Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Leeds on 16 July 2002 and succeeded upon the resignation of Konstant on 7 April 2004, becoming the ninth Bishop of Leeds. In July 2002, he was elected chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, which oversees the translation of the Mass into English.
Roche's name had been mentioned as a possible successor to Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster and thus leader of the Church in England and Wales. He was even said to be the cardinal's favoured candidate. His name had also been mentioned as a possible successor to Archbishop Kevin McDonald as Archbishop of Southwark. However, he was not appointed to either of those posts.
As the official chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, Roche announced that the new translation of the Mass into English was ready. This new translation of the Roman Missal was introduced into Catholic parishes in the United Kingdom in September 2011.
On 26 June 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Roche as Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, raising him to the dignity of Archbishop at the same time. Along with the dignity of archbishop, he was also given the title Bishop Emeritus of Leeds. He was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Leeds on his new appointment to the Holy See to ensure that what was already in place or had been planned and authorised would go ahead.
On 29 March 2014 Pope Francis named Roche as new member to the Pontifical Council for Culture