Saturday, June 23, 2007

Concelebration and unconsecrated wine at ordinations in the Roman Rite

[A Guest Piece in response to a recent 'comments' discussion here on the NLM

by Dom Christopher Lazowski, OSB]

The whole question of concelebration at ordination Masses, and the slightly mysterious matter of a sip of unconsecrated wine when you would expect a drink from a chalice containing the Precious Blood, was raised by Msgr. Alliegro and others in the wide-ranging and fascinating comments thread to Shawn's second photopost about the recent ordination in St. Louis. It aroused my curiosity, and as soon as I had a free moment, I took myself, Hermione Granger-like, to the library. What I found, while it does not provide definitive answers, at least helped me to understand the historical background and general liturgical context better.

According to Dom Pierre de Puniet's 1930 commentary on the Roman Pontifical (a monk of Oosterhout in the Netherlands, founded as refuge for Wisques during one of the third French republic's outburst of anticlericalism), newly ordained priests concelebrate strictu sensu with the ordaining bishop at their ordination Mass, and are entitled to receive a Mass offering. He refers to a number of ancient precedents for concelebration in the Roman rite (in the sense of the local rite of the Roman Church). The entry in the Liber pontificalis for Pope Zephyrinus (198/9-217) says that the ministers hold glass patens (sic!) before each of the priests participating in the Holy Sacrifice. The version of the Ordo Romanus I contained in codex 349 of the Saint-Gall library says that the canon is sung, and that each priest says it aloud; the consecration having thus been carried out, and each priest having given himself Communion, the pontiff gives the priests other consecrated hosts for distribution to the people. The 9th century Ordo Romanus I says that the cardinal priests concelebrate with the pope at Easter, Pentecost, Christmas, and on the feast of St. Peter. The description is almost the same as the one in the LP, except that the cardinals hold corporals rather than glass patens :

“per has quatuor solemnitates, habent colligendas presbyteri cardinales, unusquisque tenens corporalem in manu sua...; et accendente pontifice ad altare, dextra laevaque circumdant altare,et simul cum illo canonem dicunt tenentes oblatas in manibus non super altare, ut vox pontificis valentius audiatur; et simul consecrant corpus et sanguinem Domini...”

As to concelebration at an ordination Mass, Dom de Puniet points out that William Durandus of Mende included it in his Pontifical, whence it passed to the first printed Roman Pontifical of 1485, and so to later versions. However, Puniet does not mention that around 1200, the Pontifical of Apamea and Pope Innocent III both mention eucharistic concelebration at episcopal consecrations. A slightly later document, the Pontifical of the Roman Curia, dating from the pontificate of Innocent IV (1243-1254) says:

“Veniente autem pontifice post offertorium ad altare, consecratus qui celebranti consecratori concelebrare debet, accedat ad dextrum cornu altaris et ibi se collocet, habens ante se librum missalem et iuxta se capellanum unum indutum superpelliceo, qui serviat ei. Pontifex autem officium misse prosequitur ex more et, cum elevaverit vocem ad dicendam prephationem, consecratus submisse pronuniet eadem verba et cetera legat et faciat que sequuntur in canone misse usque ad communionem.” (Michel Andrieu, Le pontifical romain au moyen-âge, vol. 2, p. 365)

As to the ordination of priests, the Pontifical of the Curia is less explicit:

“Qua oblatione facta, presbiteri vadant ad altare, ad standum a dextera et leva altaris cum missalibus suis et dicunt totum submissa voce, sicut si celebrarent [one manuscript omits “si”]...Post communionem vero pontificis, ante perfusionem, ordinati, facta confessione et osculata dextera pontificis, sacram communionem recipiant de manu pontificis, recipiendo osculum pacis ab eo, presbiteri scilicet et diaconi. Sanguinem autem recipient de manu diaconi qui cantavit evangelium.” (Andrieu, vol. 3, pp. 349-350)

So does does the Pontifical of the Curia consider priests to concelebrate at their ordination Mass? Not very clear! But it is clear that they receive Holy Communion under both kinds. In his own Pontifical, William Durandus also has the newly ordained priests recite the canon along with the bishop, but they receive Holy Communion under one kind only. However, unless I've missed something, Durandus, doesn't mention the ablution of the mouth with unconsecrated wine. I haven't been able to find out if this ablution was first prescribed by the Pontifical of 1485 (based on that of Durandus); it is certainly in the 1596 Pontifical of Clement VIII, a revision of the 1485 book, and in force until recently. My guess is that priests ordained with the ceremony laid down by Durandus received an ablution after Communion like everyone else; it was not considered necessary to prescribe it explicitly. In his comment, DF refers to this practice, long fallen into disuse in the Latin Rite. Perhaps it was considered useful to lay it down for ordination Masses at a moment when it ceased to happen on an everyday basis. Whether or not this was the case, its addition would certainly have been in line with the general drift of the changes to Durandus introduced by Augustine Patrizi (also known as Piccolomini, because he had been adopted by Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, Pope Pius II), in collaboration with the great Ioannes Burchard (probably the greatest papal master of ceremonies, and the author of the Rubricae generales reproduced by the Pian Missal) in 1585. These changes could be summed up a a sort of general rubrical tidying up and rationalisation; for example, the 1485 Pontifical gave for the first time a series of general rules as to when a bishop should wear, and when he should lay aside, his mitre.

One detail remains to be pointed out. The 1596 Pontifical of Clement VIII, which mentions explicitly an ablution of wine after communion under one kind, also contains a rubric instructing the newly ordained priests to take care to say the words of consecration at exactly the same time as the ordaining bishop. The obvious explanation is that the legislator intends them to concelebrate.

Overall, it seems reasonable to say that the liturgical evidence favours the idea that newly ordained priests concelebrate at their ordination Mass, without permitting a categorical response. St. Thomas says that it can and does happen, “secundum consuetudinem quarumdam ecclesiarum, sacerdotes, cum de novo ordinantur, concelebrant episcopo ordinati.” (S. Th., III, q. 82, art. 2) The modern rite clearly prescribes concelebration. I think that in the classical rite the Church probably intends priests to concelebrate at their ordination, and that they do in fact concelebrate if they have the intention to do so.

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