12 May 2015

Money and Concelebration.

Benedict XIV (1740-1758) concludes his argument that concelebrants are, each of them, true celebrants (pariter concelebrant) by dealing with the question of concelebrants accepting Mass-stipends. This is the acid test. You are stealing from the laity if you accept a Mass-stipend but do not say the Mass for the intention of the donor. So the question is: if a hundred priests concebrate, can a hundred priests accept, each of them, a Mass-stipend for that same Eucharistic celebration? Now ... traddies among you had better hold on tightly to something fixed to the ground, because you are not likely to enjoy what follows ... the answer given by the Sovereign Pontiff is an unambiguous Yes. In other words, each concelebrant has precisely the same sacramental standing as a priest saying his own private Mass. Watch my lips: Each : one : is : saying : Mass.

It is not surprising that, for the next two centuries, manualists concurred with this weighty papal judgement. Benedict XIV, Prospero Lambertini, had an immense reputation, based equally upon his own erudition and his papal status. In the last expiring months of the Old Rite (which had at that point received only two or three trifling modifications), on March 7 1965, a Rite of Concelebration was promulgated for use with the old rite. In accordance with actual words of the Council, the document was less than whole-hearted in its endorsement of daily Concelebration when all the concelebrants are presbyters, but the rite was intended to be used universally at Ordinations, Consecrations, Abbatial Blessings, in Councils, Synods, and Episcopal meetings, and at both Masses on Maundy Thursday.

As far as Maundy Thursday Concelebration is concerned, this is something which had not lost its last foothold in the Latin Church until our own time. The Rite of Lyons, which survived until the Council, provided that on that one day six presbyters had the right to sit with the Archbishop and concelebrate (honor sedendi et offerendi). This was but the last survival of a widespread practice of such concelebration in French cathedrals during the Counter-Reformation period.

So those 1965 provisions seem to me a thoroughly 'organic' liturgical development. They seem to me to draw, not as revolutionary liturgical subversives so often and so cheerfully do, upon dubious, impobable, and unedifying reconstructions of "what the Early Church did", but upon a broad consideration of the Latin Church's whole liturgical tradition; upon the Magisterium, and especially (when the meaning of the Roman Rite is concerned) that of Roman Pontiffs; and upon the consensus of reliable manualists.They seem to me to rest on the consistent and reiterated teaching of Popes and Doctors over the last millennium. They are not some load of rubbish dreamed up by archbishop Bugnini's generation.

And (paragraph 10) they concur with the judgement on Mass-stipends of Benedict XIV and those who followed him: Singuli concelebrantes stipendium legitime percipere possunt ad normam iuris.

The mature and settled inheritance, the auctoritas, of the Latin Church prescribes that, normally, each presbyter should celebrate ('presidentially') daily, and do so privately if he is not obliged to serve a pastoral need. This needs to be upheld and, where necessary, restored.

But the notion which one sometimes meets among traditionalists who have not informed themselves of the facts, that any form of concelebration is a treacherous sell-out to the 'Spirit of Vatican II', contradicts the traditions of the Latin Churches and the Magisterium of Popes Innocent III  and Benedict XIV and the considered judgement of S Thomas Aquinas ... and a lot of Counter-Reformation manualists.


Hierodeacon said...

Realizing you may not get to this comment any time soon, I have a question regarding ceremonial. In the old rite, particular with its altars of long but shallow shape, where do the concelebrants stand – and particularly so as not to get in the way of the ministers, who presumably remain very near the celebrant?

In the Byzantine Rite, with our more square-shaped altars, the concelebrants line up the north and south of the altar, facing each other. If there are, say, three concelebrating bishops, they alone will stand to the front of the altar, facing east. But with more than three bishops, even the junior among them must stand to north and south, along with the presbyters. The deacons stand at the presiding celebrant's right and left, but somewhat behind him, also facing east.

ansgerus said...

It would be great if traditionalist circles revived concelebration acc. to the traditional rites resp. uses. As it was never abandoned, the prescriptions of 1965 are not to be regarded as a novelty, and could be understood just as an explanation of how to proceed, could they? For me, it is always very disappointing to see priest sitting in the pew during traditional masses, reading the breviary, and paying no attention to the ongoing celebration around them. At least - if they celebrated an own mass already the same day - they should help their priestly colleagues as altar servers, when there is no one available.

Formendacil said...

Bringing this into the realm of practical consequences, where does the 1965 provision leave the possibility of concelebration in the traditional form? Does it still hold force, given that an earlier date (1962) has been set as normative? Or have we reached a stage where the Novus Ordo is the proper concelebratory rite in the same sort of way in which it makes the most fitting ecumenical rite?

papabear said...

Thank you, Father, for this instructive series of posts on concelebration.

Konstantin said...

Thank you, Father, that was a really interesting series. I've read in a lexicon that during Papal Mass in the Middle Ages where the Pope and some Cardinals concelebrated, each of them would be holding three hosts on a corporal and say the Canon as well as the words of consecration. Is there more information on the rubrics of concelebrated Pontifical Masses available? I guess it was quite different from what we see today.

anon said...

It might be too late to comment on this, but those interested in this topic should look into this recently published book (the best ever-written on the subject) by Gracewing Publishers: