Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Bishop 16-17

After the gospel, as in the other ordination rites, the candidate is presented before the homily:

16. One of the priests addresses the principal consecrator:

Most Reverend Father, the church of N. asks you to ordain this priest, N., for service as bishop.

If the bishop-elect is not to be ordained as a residential bishop:

Most Reverend Father, our holy mother the Catholic Church asks you to ordain this priest, N., for service as a bishop.


The principal consecrator asks him:

Have you a mandate from the Holy See?

He replies: We have.

Principal consecrator: Let it be read.

Everyone sits while the document is read.

The consent of the people is given:

17. After the reading, all present say: Thanks be to God, or give their assent to the choice in some other way, according to local custom.

In the olden days, the people would elect the bishop. No more undignified episodes of the candidate bishop hiding in a flock of geese to avoid the affirming throng. A bit later today, I’ll post the canned homily for the episcopal ordination, and we can sift through that for insights on the role and duties of the bishop.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Bishop 16-17

  1. Jake Buettner says:

    Why does it say “the Church of N asks you …” when the diocese had nothing to do with the selection of the bishop? As you say at the end, the people (or at least the priests or canons) used to elect the bishop. This is the way it should be today.

  2. Liam says:

    Don’t idealize the election of bishops by the people. That was a mechanism that often produced control by local elites, not the local oppressed. (Think of who has the most influence, and least influence, in US elections today – and that’s with written constitutions with checks and balances and bills of rights – and you would do well to think most popular elections of bishops did not fare any better, and often worse. Remember, local Christian communities were often so riven as to make current US politics seem harmonious. People really need to get over imagining the early Church as sweetly serene – it was very often a boiling kettle.)

    The current selection process is anomalous in Church history and I am all in favor of changing it. But I would not be so naive as to think local election is the silver bullet. Hell, no. To avoid hijacking this thread, I will forego a repetition of my ideas on better approaches.

  3. Jimmy Mac says:

    Catholicism could adopt the Anglican model: election from a short list of candidates by the House of Priests and House of Laity, with consent by the House of Bishops.

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