Monday, April 30, 2007

Cardinal Journet, Concelebration and the Unicity of the Mass

One of our scholarly readers, who is writing under a "nom de plume" (a pen name) submitted this article for the NLM's consideration on a particular aspect of concelebration.

The piece is a few pages long, so I will suffice to begin you with the first few paragraphs and you may read the entire article in PDF format.

Concelebrated Mass—One or Many?

By “Etienne Raton”

Cardinal Charles Journet once wrote, in an article in Nova et Vetera, the following words:

Allow me to say a word about concelebration. Let us imagine several persons coming together to baptize simultaneously a little child. There would be several baptizers but only one baptismal action, plures baptizantes, una baptizatio. In concelebration, one equally finds several “consecraters,” plures ex aequo consecrantes, but only one consecrating action, una consecratio.

The above words express an important theological fact regarding the Holy Mass, one which is rooted in the teaching of the Magisterium and the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, and which is important for all to understand, namely the unicity of a concelebrated Mass, indeed of any Mass.

The holy Cardinal Journet always had the good of God’s Church in the forefront of his mind; his love for the Church was as a principle from which flowed all his priestly activity, be it preaching retreats, hearing confessions or writing theological tracts. It was this love of the Church which urged him to clarify this small but extremely important point regarding the concelebrated Mass, a point which was and is still at times misunderstood. Being a faithful disciple of the Angelic Doctor, Journet knew that a small error made in the beginning often leads to a graver one later on; and hence he was quite aware of the disastrous conclusions which would follow from a misunderstanding of this seemingly insignificant point. Inspired by his efforts to proclaim sound teaching in this area, we hope to present the Catholic doctrine, ever ancient ever new, concerning the unicity of a concelebrated Mass.

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