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Cardinal Cañizares calls for ‘moderation’ of concelebration in Latin Rite

March 06, 2012

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said on March 5 that the “widening of the faculty to concelebrate needs to be moderated.” The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy extended permission for concelebration to certain cases; this permission was widened in subsequent years.

“Concelebration, in the genuine tradition of the Church, whether Eastern or Western, is an extraordinary, solemn and public rite, normally presided over by the bishop or his delegate, surrounded by his presbyterium and by the entire community of the faithful,” said Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera at the presentation of a new book on the topic by Msgr. Guillaume Derville, a priest of Opus Dei.

“But the daily concelebrations of priests only, which are practiced ‘privately,’ so to speak, in the Eastern Churches instead of Masses celebrated individually or ‘more privato’ [in a private manner], do not form part of the Latin liturgical tradition.” the cardinal added. “Moreover, the author seems to me to succeed fully when he examines in depth the underlying reasons mentioned by the Council for extending concelebration. This widening of the faculty to concelebrate needs to be moderated, as we can see when we read the Council texts.”

Quoting Pope Benedict, Cardinal Cañizares stated:

For my part, I have to say, it remains a problem because concrete communion in the celebration is fundamental, and I do not consider that the definitive answer has really been found. I also raised this question during the last Synod but it was not answered. I also had another question asked regarding the concelebration of Mass: why, for example, if a thousand priests concelebrate, do we not yet know whether this structure was desired by the Lord?


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  • Posted by: ColmCille - Mar. 06, 2012 11:11 PM ET USA

    It seems to me that the manner and circumstances under which concelebration was done in the traditional Roman Rite was appropriate. I don't really see why it was extended at all, though the Council Fathers may have had good reasons of which I am unaware. However, the current practice of concelebrating whenever more than one priest is present, rather than having the other priests in choir, strikes me as excessive.