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Never? Well, almost never.

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Nov 14, 2003

The bishops' Guidelines for Concelebration are now available online. On balance they're not bad; the overall thrust is in the direction of restored transcendence. But of course they're skillfully americanized. In many places they state a norm and then provide the loophole through which a locomotive that contravenes the norm will inevitably be driven (for example, concelebrants are to wear a chasuble except for "a good reason," such as, "a large number of concelebrants or a lack of vestments"). Any guesses?

It'll be interesting to see how many bishops put their muscle behind the norm (45) that says, or comes close to saying, that concelebrants are not to remain idle while extraordinary ministers distribute Communion:

When sufficient concelebrants are present, they assist the principal celebrant in the distribution of Holy Communion. When the number of ordinary ministers of Holy Communion is insufficient, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may assist in the distribution of the Eucharist. Such extraordinary ministers do not receive Holy Communion in the manner of concelebrants. Rather, they receive the Body and Blood of the Lord after the principal celebrant and the deacon.

Note the deliberate ambiguity about the manner, contrasted with the sequence, of reception. When it comes to crafting an unenforceable law, nobody does it better.

The bellwether dioceses will be Los Angeles and Chicago. If they weaken at the knees, forget it. Of course the pertinent situation occurs when unusually large numbers of priests are assisting, but these are precisely the occasions when the news cameras are present and when the diocesan liturgy office wants to make a political statement by parking the concelebrating priests off in the bullpen and spot-lighting the lay ministers.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 14, 2003 8:32 PM ET USA

    Sort of like "for the health of the mother...?"

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