Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Bishop 1-5

Recapping our examination of the Catholic ordination rites thus far, chapter I covered the admission to candidacy of deacons and priests. Chapter II diaconate ordination and III the ordination of a priest. We’ll skip chapter IV, which combines the ordination of deacons and priests–nothing of significance for the overall peek at liturgy and theology.

Before we get to the “red and black,” there is a ten-section introduction which, for people who bother to read it, gives a few insights worth consideration:

1. The ordination of a bishop should take place on a Sunday or holyday when a large number of the faithful can attend, unless pastoral reasons suggest another day, such as the feast of an apostle.

Episcopal ordinations these days usually take place on a weekday, at least in the US. Large numbers of the faithful do attend, but the emphasis seems to be on the clergy.

First, you need three bishops:

2. The principal consecrator must be assisted by at least two other consecrating bishops, but it is fitting for all the bishops present together with the principal consecrator to ordain the bishop-elect.

And two priests to assist:

3. Two priests assist the bishop-elect.

Some words on concelebration:

4. It is most appropriate for all the consecrating bishops and the priests assisting the bishop-elect to concelebrate the Mass with the principal consecrator and with the bishop-elect. If the ordination takes place in the bishop-elect’s own church, some priests of his diocese should also concelebrate.

And a point of liturgy depending on which church the bishop’s ordination takes place.

5. If the ordination takes place in the bishop-elect’s own church, the principal consecrator may ask the newly ordained bishop to preside over the concelebration of the eucharistic liturgy. If the ordination does not take place in the bishop-­elect’s own church, the principal consecrator presides at the concelebration; in this case the new bishop takes the first place among the other celebrants.

Any comments as we start off down this road, especially regarding the choice of an ordination day?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Bishop 1-5

  1. Liam says:

    I assume the fact that norm is honored mostly in the breach is a function of the old “Eek! It’s the HIGH Mass! Flee!” mentality.

    That is, it is probably designed to avoid conscripting the faithful and screwing up their usual Mass schedule in favor of a really long liturgy they did not bargain for.

    There is also a 90-day canonical window, if I recall correctly, that starts to run from the publication of the bull of election or whatever form the documents take today. (I am too tired to go check my copy of the Code….)

    Btw, one thing we have not commented on is the former practice of reserving ordinations for Ember Saturdays (the Ember Saturday of the Pentecost Octave being especially favored in the past, IIRC).

  2. FrMichael says:

    I’ve noticed in my province (San Francisco) that at priestly ordinations, only one bishop lays hands upon the candidate, regardless of the number present. I was told that was done so that nobody would think that a surreptitious episcopal ordination was going on.

    Seems a bit overdone, but that’s the only story in town.

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