QUAERITUR: concelebration and seeing the elements – and Fr. Z rants

From a priest reader:

I’ll get right to the point: is it not required that a concelebrant be able to see the matter he is consecrating? I am certain that it is, but I am not able to defend this thesis with citations.

I would ask this: 

What about the blind?

Can a blind priest say Mass?

Does a priest validly consecrate hosts in a ciborium on the corporal, clearly intended to be consecrated, if the ciborium is left covered?

So, a priest does not have to see the elements to consecrate them validly.

However, should a priest see the elements?

Ideally, I suppose, yes.  I don’t know about legislation that requires that.  Perhaps a reader knows.

What if the priest concelebrant is so far away that he can’t see the elements?  What if he is just one of a big crowd stuck behind a taller priest who blocks his view?

I think this also gets us into the icky question of what the effective range of a consecration is. 

How far does a priest launch his valid javelin-like consecration, along with all those other sort of simultaneous launchings, in mega-concelebrations?

I don’t know the answer to that.  God does.

Some say that concelebration underscores the unity of priests in the priesthood, or of priests with the bishop.  Ironically I have found that the priests who have treated me the worst are the priests who insisted on concelebration the most, while the priests who were themselves less inclined to concelebrate or press it on others were the most fraternal.  They would set you up for Mass and sometimes even serve it for you, as well.  That is a sign of unity in my book.

Concelebration will be around for quite a while.  So, let it be done with dignity and respect for individual priests.

Concelebration should be safe, legal and rare.

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41 Responses to QUAERITUR: concelebration and seeing the elements – and Fr. Z rants

  1. Konichiwa says:

    Why would anyone mistreat you, Fr. Z?

    I’m not sure why exactly, but I don’t feel comfortable when I see concelebration.

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    How far does a priest launch his valid javelin-like consecration, along with all those other sort of simultaneous launchings, in mega-concelebrations?

    The question to me is not how each of thousands of priests — as in the most recently televised spectacular from St. Peter’s square — launches his javelin-like consecration, but what are the separate and/or collective effects of all these thousands of javelins.

    If it’s a single host sitting on the paten, would not the first javelin to arrive do the whole job of confection, leaving nothing to be done by the next few thousand javelins to arrive?

    Or if there are thousands of ciboria sitting full of hosts sitting somewhere, one for each of the priests to distibute, is it assumed that each priest’s javelin somehow finds precisely his own ciborium, with no interference from any javelins on the way.

    More or less tongue in cheek, of course. But seriously, just having finished the last century’s perhaps most precise exposition of the Eucharistic mystery, Abbot Vonier’s A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist, I wonder whether even St. Thomas Aquinas himself could make sense of this business. Or whether he would think it consistent with real belief in the Real Presence.

    Really, what on earth or in heaven does concelebration actually mean in terms of consecration of specific hosts? Merely that it somehow happens, and that each priest who launches a javelin get’s “credit” for the whole thing? If so, what precisely does that mean?

    Has anyone thought about these things? Or has theological thought itself gone by the boards since Vatican II, along with all other artifacts of a bygone age.

  3. Father S. says:

    In order to understand concelebration, it is helpful to look at the specific causes of Transubstantiation, and, per Mr. Edwards’ comments, use the thought of St. Thomas. In this, the formal cause is Jesus Christ the High Priest, i.e., that which brings into being. At every Mass, the individual priest is the instrumental cause, i.e., what is used to bring something about. In concelebration, the number of instrumental causes is increased, while the Formal Cause remains the same. To preempt what other may ask, the fruits of the sacrifice (i.e., the intention of the Mass) are results of the instrumental cause. As such, each individual priest may offer a Mass for a different intention.

  4. MarkJ says:

    Another question to ponder – is the grace flowing from one concelebrated Mass with 100 priests doing the consecration equal to the grace obtained from 100 Masses each celebrated by a single priest?

  5. cheyan says:

    If I had to guess, I would say that it probably depends on the reason the concelebrating priest can’t see the elements, right? I mean, suppose three priests are concelebrating, and they’re all within two feet of the elements, but one can’t see anything more than ten inches away. If he had the best vision a human could hope to have, he could have seen them, so it doesn’t seem problematic (besides whatever problems might be associated with concelebration in general).

    On the other hand, suppose a priest is so far away that even with the sharpest vision a human can have, even if no one were standing in front of him, he wouldn’t be able to see them. *That* seems like something’s not quite right. (Even to me, who has been happy to see priests concelebrate, if only because it’s so very rare in Montana, so it always seemed like a special event…)

    I don’t think consecration works like a hold queue, where prayers are answered in the order they were received, at any rate – otherwise, how to make sense of the idea of an entire congregation praying together for something? Obviously when I’m praying while the priest is consecrating I’m not participating in the same way that a concelebrating priest might be, but I don’t imagine God going “Well, Fr. So-and-so has already offered Me that sacrifice for such-and-such an intention, Cheyan, so your offering won’t have any effect. Maybe if you were faster? You could practice calling into radio shows…”

  6. Rachel Pineda says:

    I do not understand concelebration. I do not know if it is because I am a convert or what but it is very confusing and disturbing, not in the digusting sense I mean in the way that it makes it difficult to concentrate on the beauty and mystery of the consecration.

    To me it’s like sending the message that the more priests the better. Sort of like the Eucharist will be more holy, more powerful, more consecrated than if just one priest were saying the mass. It is actually distracting. I am 33 and young enough to be used to a whole lot of niose in daily life. This just seems to add more noise that is unnecessary.I just do not understand how all of the priests and lay people would not want to have concelebration considering the awe inspiring fact that one single creature by the power of God can consecrate the bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord!
    To me, just one priest celebrating the mass speaks even louder as to the great mystery that is the Holy Eucharist. That’s why my heart sinks just a bit when I see concelebration because it just seems to send the wrong message, even if it is “valid.”

  7. Rachel Pineda says:

    Ooops, correction: I do not understand why anyone would want concelebration considering the reasons I stated in my previous post.

  8. arotron theou says:

    How far does a priest launch his valid javelin-like consecration, along with all those other sort of simultaneous launchings, in mega-concelebrations?

    Boy, talk about your milites Christi! Does that make the principle celebrant the “primipilus?”

  9. Rachel Pineda says:

    Father S.:
    “At every Mass, the individual priest is the instrumental cause, i.e., what is used to bring something about. In concelebration, the number of instrumental causes is increased, while the Formal Cause remains the same. To preempt what other may ask, the fruits of the sacrifice (i.e., the intention of the Mass) are results of the instrumental cause. As such, each individual priest may offer a Mass for a different intention.”-Father S.

    Call me dense and please correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that at the one mass 50 different priests are concelebrating there can also be 50 different mass intentions? Or that it is as if 50 different masses are being said? I am even more confused now.

  10. Rachel Pineda says:

    Do the concelebrating priests actually have to say the words of the consecration like other sacraments to be valid? If so, what if one priest in the crowd actually says the words a little faster, or in a different language which sometimes ends up faster naturally. Does that mean the hosts are consecrated before the main clebrant actually thinks they are?
    So confusing, I give up.

  11. TNCath says:

    I think God fills in the gaps that any sloppy form of concelebration lacks. That said, I’m not against concelebration per se. I can see where it would be proper on the following occasions:

    1. A Mass where the bishop is the principal celebrant with the priests of his diocese as concelebrants at ordinations, the Chrism Mass, funerals of priests, and other special events.
    2. Masses where the principal celebrant is an elderly or infirm priest who might need the assistance of concelebrants
    3. Other special events as needed.

    However, at the same time, I don’t think a priest should be looked down upon or excluded from his proper place in choir if he chooses not to concelebrate, especially if the concelebrant must vest in only an alb and stole because there aren’t enough chasubles available. I think many priests look down on priests who choose to assist at Mass in choir because they are wearing a cassock and surplice. I find concelebrating in only an alb and stole to be not only sloppy looking but also insulting to the individual priest. If a priest is going to concelebrate, then he needs to be fully vested and not looking like a second class citizen half dressed.

  12. jgq says:

    Perhaps the issue is not concelebration after all, but he place of the priest at the mass itself. It looks to me as if the very issue of concelebration places an emphasis on the priest as the center of attention of the mass, rather than placing the focus on Jesus himself. I think that is why the question starts to sound a bit silly when we ask question such as “ do you have to see the matter”, “what happens if a big priest is in front of little priest”, or even “what happens if everyone thought someone else had intent, and nobody actually had intent”. (…maybe the last question is not so silly)

    No, it seems to me the questions are pointing to the larger issue. Concelbration is just a bad idea. It’s a bad idea because it de-emphasizes the focus on Jesus himself. It’s a bad idea because it starts to suggest a shift in theology; it is a bad idea because it promotes laziness on the part of the clergy.

    In our world, we need the grace injected by the Holy Sacrifice of the mass now more than ever. We are better off with 10 masses said individually rather than 1 mass said by 10 priests.

  13. “I think this also gets us into the icky question of what the effective range of a consecration is.”

    That depends. Do priests come in different calibers? If so, I imagine Fr. McBrien as a sort of pea shooter. Archbishop Burke, on the other hand is an M2 “Ma Deuce” .50 caliber machine gun.

  14. Kieninger says:

    This is my first post on your site. I am a new priest, ordained just over a year ago. With regard to concelebration, I am not overly fond of the practice. On the occasions where I have concelebrated with other priests, the main celebrant will sometimes alter the prayers or pray the words of institution much faster than I would. It becomes very difficult to concentrate on the miracle taking place in front of me. Likewise, when I am the principal celebrant, a visiting concelebrant will sometimes alter the words as he would in his own parish, to my great distraction. Concelebration is a valid means for a priest to offer his daily Mass, but I will opt to say a private Mass when I have a choice.

  15. TJerome says:

    Fr. Kieninger, I like your thoughts and instincts. I’m also glad you’re a newly ordained priest and I hope you are representative of the thinking of other young priests. I am sick and tired of all of these old liturgical lefties. They can’t exit the scene fast enough. They did untold damage to the Faith. Best wishes, Tom

  16. Athanasius says:

    There is another problem to consider, namely that “this” and “that” are different concepts. If a priest were seated in some mega church extending his hand to something 50 feet away, can he really say “this”? Normally it would be that, but “that” is something different enough to make the matter invalid. So if he is fifty feet away saying “this” to something he cannot touch, what he is saying is contrary to what he is doing.

    Another thing, which to me is just a pious fraud, is that concelebrants will ask for a stipend and claim that every priest present just celebrated a “mass”, but this is sacrilege, not to mention theft. If there is one host there is one Mass which they share in.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    I like concelebrations at monasteries or the mother-houses of orders, even at Notre Dame on the patronal feast of the Congregation of Holy Cross, as that type of concelebration means something-that is solidarity and brotherhood, the oneness of those who share the same vow-on a special feast, even though each priest is offering up the Mass individually, with his own intention. Otherwise, I do not understand the need. As to the mega-Masses, I have never liked these, as these seem irreverent and cause the priests to act in ways they may not if celebrating on their own.

  18. ghp95134 says:

    From an old Field Manual … perhaps someone still in the service can update with the newer?
    ———–
    FM3-22.68 (M60 Light Concelebration).

    The M60 Light Concelebration is a crew-served general purpose gas-operated, air-cooled, automatic celebration that fires from the open-mouth position. The concelebration features adjustible head space, which permits rapid changing of rubrics. It has a maximum rate of fire of 550 Hosts per minute. Hosts are disbursed into the hand from a 100-round leaded-glass salad bowl. It can be administered from the shoulder, hip, or underarm position; from the narrow stance biped-steadied, polyester covered position; or from the wide-stance felt-mounted position.

    The M60 Concelebration provides the heavy volume of close and continuous disbursal needed to accomplish the mission. It can engage targets beyond the capability of individual blessings with controlled, accurate bursts of the 200cm Host.

    Cababilities. In the urban environment, the M60 Concelebration provides high-volume, variable-range, automatic distribution for the suppression or destruction of targets. The M60 Concelebtation is cumbersome, making it impossible to use for a traditional/orthodox-minded celebrant. However, it is useful outside to impress and awe observers. The M60 Concelebration can be delivered from either the shoulder or the hip to provide a high volume of assault and suppressive fires and save valuable time for individual celebrants who would ordinarily celebrate Mass individually. The use of the tie-dyed stole to support the weapon (blessings) and ammunition (Hosts) is preferred.

    Because of its reduced penetration power, the M60 Light Concelebration is less effective against Masons & Evil than is a Traditional Latin Mass. However, the M60’s collegiality and lighter weight makes it well-suited in a sports arena or other large open area where a single Celebrant would never be mistaken for a rock star, or as a substitute when traditional/orthodox-inclined priests are not available. The M60 Light Concelebration can be employed — but deference should be given to the nuclear-capable Traditional Latin Mass when available.

    The M60 Concelebration can be hard to execute in a solemn and dignified manner. The dust-up created by multiple participants also makes precise praying difficult for parishoners to follow, and further confuse the confraternity praying the Mass. A single Celebrant is always more effective, especially if sandbags are used to steady the weapon.

    Maximum Range: 3,725 meters

    Maximum Effective Range: 2 meters
    Maximum extent of grazing during Communion: 550 HPM (Hosts per minute/EMHC)
    Burst Radius: 2 meters

    Cf: Traditional Latin Mass
    Maximum Range: 3 meters

    Maximum Effective Range: Infinity
    Maximum extent of grazing during Communion: 30 HPM (Hosts per minute/priest)
    Burst Radius: Heaven & Earth

  19. ipadre says:

    I have concelebrated some very beautiful Masses and some very horrid Masses. I think the danger of concelebration is that the concelebrants can have an attitude of being a spectator and become irreverent and chatty. Nothing worse than being a concelebrant and having to listen to a few (or more) priests around you holding a conversation and joking during Mass. There is also the problem with every concelebrant wanting to be heard. The rubrics tell the concelebrant to whisper so that only the main celebrant is heard. Often, the concelebrants are pushing to main celebrant to speed up by their fast paced reading of the Eucharistic Prayer. Concelebration really needs to be looked at the the Church, the theology needs to be clarified and clearer directives for concelebrated Masses imposed.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    “holding a conversation and joking” is what I meant, partially, by stating that some priests will act differently when concelebrating than when celebrating alone. Groups, especially very large groups, sometimes bring out the worst in us.

  21. Roland de Chanson says:

    Quaeritur: concelebratio atque elementorum visus.

    Respondetur: Concelebratio quid diaboli est? Et cum Christo pro nobis morituro quinam concelebraverunt?

    Ecclesia massonica conciliaris denique intereat. Dominus Ecclesiam verum Suam instauret.

  22. Athanasius says:

    Roland,

    Concelebratio in se diaboli non potest, quia in Missa ordinationis in ritu tridentina, multi anni ante concilium. Deinde, si concelebratio in se diaboli, item ecclesia ante concilium. Videtur ita concelebratio potius esse abusu sicut exercetur.

  23. ghp95134, FREAKING BRILLIANT! LOL!

  24. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Like many things liturgical, it depends on how it is done.

    Concelebrated Masses with a religious community can be meaningful by emphasizing the shared priesthood of the members. I have seen this done well with Benedictines & some Jesuits.

    I have also had a good experience with concelebration when several priests were present at family funerals.

    The concelebrated daily Masses at a certain Jesuit university community – where the concelebrants wore a stole over street clothes – were just awful.

    I do not understand the mega-phalanx of concelebrating priests.

  25. Athanasius says:

    The biggest problem I see in concelebration ex parte liturgiae is that it is obviously something foreign to the rite, the concelebrants, even when it is done reverently at conventual Masses of a religious community, stand around with their stoles, and the only thing meaningful that they do is say the Canon. In the Eastern rite or in the Gallican rite, the concelebrant has a certain role written into the liturgy, and things he is supposed to do, which the Deacon and Subdeacon at a Solemn High Mass come much closer to mirroring albeit they don’t concelebrate even when they are priests. In the eastern rites it is much more organic, where as in the Novus Ordo it has all the feel of something a committee decided to do.

  26. theloveofwisdome says:

    Father Z,

    What I’ve never understood about con-celebration is how the concept of “form” fits in this case. As I understand it, the holy Eucharist is confected by the words, “this is my body” and “this is my blood”. Now, it simply is not possible (or exceptionally rare) for that many priests, or just 2 priests for that matter, to say the words of consecration with exact simultaneity. As soon as the first priest finishes saying the words of consecration, the transubstantiation has taken place…. It seems to me the remainder of the priests are not actually confecting- because the species is already our Lord. It would be like a priest trying to confect an already consecrated host. Can you help clear this up for me?

  27. mpolo says:

    To answer the question of a previous poster, YES, each concelebrating priest has the right to have an intention for which he may have received a stipend, and the souls for whom the stipend was offered receive the same suffrages that they would have received from any other validly celebrated Mass. Concelebration really requires that all “say the black and do the red”, because otherwise, the words cannot be said together. I wouldn’t concelebrate with a priest where I was uncertain of his intention to do so.

    As another has said, within religious communities, where there is an extra bond of unity (and usually of style in celebrating the Mass — speed, et al.), concelebration can be very beautiful. I tend to prefer concelebration to taking part in a Mass in choir dress and having to find another opportunity to actually celebrate Mass, though a Mass as the only celebrant is even more preferred.

  28. Father S. says:

    RE: Rachel Pineda

    “Call me dense and please correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that at the one mass 50 different priests are concelebrating there can also be 50 different mass intentions? Or that it is as if 50 different masses are being said? I am even more confused now.”

    Yes, that is the case. There are fruits of fifty priests offering the one Sacrifice of the Mass.

  29. Father S. says:

    #2

    I just reread my post. I did not mean that there are fifty Masses. I simply meant that there are the fruits of fifty priests.

  30. New Sister says:

    I do not know about these things and cannot contribute to the discussion in any technical way. All I can say is, like konichiwa, concelebration “feels” wrong to me – viscerally. It obviously causes confusion. To my laywoman mind, it would seem most prudent to just do away with it.

    What harm could there be in asking priests to daily and individually offer Holy Mass? Who could object to this…and why would they?

    I also do not find ghp95134’s M60 (how passé) metephor, in any way, “brilliant”. Grow up.

  31. irishgirl says:

    ‘Concelebration should be safe, legal and rare’.

    Ha! Good one, Father Z!

  32. Athanasius says:

    To answer the question of a previous poster, YES, each concelebrating priest has the right to have an intention for which he may have received a stipend, and the souls for whom the stipend was offered receive the same suffrages that they would have received from any other validly celebrated Mass.

    Yet there is only one Mass taking place, if one of the concelebrants has a defective intention, the consecration occurs in spite of it, but now it adds a visible sacrilege and makes the Mass displeasing to God on our side, (not on the side of the value of the Mass). The grace is much much less when priests concelebrate than when they offer their own Masses, how can one possibly in justice demand a stipend for that?

  33. I am not a fan of con-celebration. Next week, at our triennial chapter there will be nothing but. I dread the thought. At an ordination a few years back I con-celebrated from behind the reredos. Con-celebration can be beautiful and emphasize the brotherhood of priests. It can be done well but it can put one at the mercy of DIY celebrants. I’ve seen unauthorized Eucharistic Prayers, alterations to the canon, and a CoI woman deacon (ex-Catholic to boot!) invited to communion etc. Therefore I prefer to offer the Mass as the sole celebrant.

    As for those who agonize over whether such Masses/consecrations are valid etc. We cannot know the intention of the priest unless he declares it so one must give him the benefit of the doubt. Neither can one measure grace, it is not a thing, it is not divisible like matter. I thought. Father S’s explanation was pretty clear to me.

  34. Athanasius says:

    To answer the question of a previous poster, YES, each concelebrating priest has the right to have an intention for which he may have received a stipend, and the souls for whom the stipend was offered receive the same suffrages that they would have received from any other validly celebrated Mass.

    Grace can not be measured by a stick, but it can be increased and decreased as well as determined by certain criteria. It is not an unknown quality, rather an unknown quantity with respect to earthly measurement. I didn’t particularly find Fr. S’s answer satisfactory because there are considerations he does not take into account, particularly he ignores the entire division made in sacramental theology (de sacramentis in genere)between intrinsic and extrinsic merit and grace.

    Concelebration by worthy priests with worthy intentions (i.e. best case scenario) may indeed increase grace at that Mass. Overall it is tremendously less grace than if all 50 priests said their own Masses. 50 priests might have their intentions, which in a state of grace they can merit at that Mass, but it is still one Mass not two, three, or as many as there are priests, because there is one rite and one species.

    There are other things, such as the holiness of the celebrant. A celebrant who is more holy than another will have more grace extrinsically (that is on our side) at Mass than a priest who is less holy. A priest who follows the rubrics exactly has more grace at his Mass (the rite is more pleasing to God extrinsically) than priests who do not. A rite which is better and more clear is more pleasing to God (extrinsically) than a rite which is less clear and whose ritual might be problematic at certain points.

    Moreover as one person noted, if the priests do not say the words of consecration at the same moment, you have the potential for another sacrilege, namely, that if the celebrant or a concelebrating priest says the words before another, then the others are not effecting what their words are effecting since it has already taken place. A ritual which does not effect what it claims to is also sacrilegious, hence offensive to God, hence a limit on merit that can be achieved for the celebrants and the people present.

    On the side of God (intrinsically) the Mass is of infinite value. Yet how that value comes to us is mediated by the extrinsic element. Thus liturgy not done as well or with less grace on the part of the minister affects how much grace the faithful receive. Hence, especially since Rome has barely ever addressed any theological issues in concelebration, I emphasize the rare part, namely at the ordination Mass which is the Tradition of the Roman Rite.

  35. RichardT says:

    Presumably intention is part of the answer, but it seems that there must be some limit. Surely even Fr.Z could not stand by his bird-feeder in America and consecrate a host that was on an outdoor altar here in England (not, of course, that he would try to do so).

    If you are in the same building, is it different? But then what of a cathedral with dozens of altars, each with a priest saying Mass; could a mischievous priest, starting earlier than the others, consecrate all the hosts on all the altars before his brother priest had the chance to do so?

    Perhaps the arrangement of the priests around the altar signifies their intention to concelebrate?

    It’s probably safest to ban concelebrations “temporarily” for a few decades until the relevant Vatican departments manage to answer all these questions.

  36. moon1234 says:

    I keep hearing “Heil Hitler” whenever I see that picture. It is just sort of creepy.

  37. Sacristymaiden says:

    moon1234–That thought kept running through my head too!

  38. coletmary says:

    “‘Concelebration should be safe, legal and rare’.

    Ha! Good one, Father Z!”

    Sycophant.

  39. Jerry says:

    I wonder how much the state of the Church — and the world as a whole — would improve if, every time we were tempted to criticize or make a snide remark about a priest or religious, we instead: (a) said a short prayer for priests, and (b) offered up the sacrifice of refraining from making the statement?

    I am not suggesting that we don’t address problems or concerns with those who have responsibility for such matters or that we don’t engage in _respectful_ discussions for educational purposes (e.g., to determine if an incident of concern was truly an issue or to solicit ideas on how to best handle a problem). I’m referring to things like calling a specific priest a “pea shooter” or referring to priests (or other religious) as “aging hippies”. While some of these comments seem quite clever to us (the first time they are used), I suspect the Lord does not share our amusement.

    New Sister made the following comment in another discussiont:

    The disgusting level of profanity exhibited by McCrystal & boys (along with various other “we need this to feel good” sins that I won’t specify) will be our military’s un-doing. Do you not think GEN McCrystal & his staff’s vulgarity naturally led them to other sin, like this insubordination? This arrogance?

    Sin weakens the military – period.

    I suggest that we (the faithful) are in a situation not unlike that of Gen. McChrystal, and that we would do well to learn from his mistakes. To wit: we’re in a bad situation, we know we’re in a bad situation, we have (or feel like we have) very little control over it, and we have a great deal of contempt for the leaders who got us here. I the short term it may make us feel better to mock those leaders we feel are responsible for our predicament. But eventually there will be consequences. Only in our case the consequences are likely to be more severe than an expedited retirement.

    Just some thoughts…

  40. Daniel Latinus says:

    If I recall correctly, Abp. Bugnini said the impetus behind the reintroduction of concelebration into the Roman Rite was due to a sense of dissatisfaction that some priests felt when attending an event together, they had to separate to celebrate their private Masses. Some concern was also expressed over the logistics of organizing potentially hundreds of private Masses for priests attending a conference.

    As I see it, concelebration is really only desirable in limited circumstances: days on which a limited number of Masses can be said; visitations by the Pope, the bishop, or important clerics; special events such as First Communions or Confirmations, in which the parish priests might want to join with the pastor or bishop; conventual Masses. (I leave out sacerdotal and episcopal ordinations, as these have always involved concelebrations.) It should also be noticed most of the circumstances I mention involve Masses that are celebrated pro populo, and for which a stipend would not be ordinarily given or received.

    OTOH, I think it is reasonable to forbid priests from accepting stipends for Masses at which they concelebrate. (E.g., if a priest accepts a stipend to say Mass for an individual intention, he should not be allowed to claim the stipend because he was a concelebrant at a First Communion.)

  41. Athanasius says:

    If you are in the same building, is it different? But then what of a cathedral with dozens of altars, each with a priest saying Mass; could a mischievous priest, starting earlier than the others, consecrate all the hosts on all the altars before his brother priest had the chance to do so?

    There is a dogmatic text by Tanquery, I don’t have it at hand, but he basically makes the argument that in a certain sense we never really know if any of our sacraments are valid since the priest could withhold his intention to absolve, consecrate or baptize at will. We must trust the general intention of the priest to do what the Church does unless there is good reason to believe otherwise.

    So indeed, a priest could do such a thing. Yet I think even some of the lefties would be loath to do so. Thus the problem is not bad will on the part of concelebrants (in my estimation), it is the simple nature of human failings. Some priests, particularly if the institution narrative is committed to memory, might simply say it faster. They might will no evil whatsoever, but it still creates a theological problem, and likewise if slower, as we mentioned above. If they are not coached in saying it at the exact moment, you have the problem of prayers of a rite not being able to effect what they say since it is already done. The Church teaches that the intention and the form and matter are what produce it, but no sacramental text that I’m aware of makes allowances for if the priest should say the rite but think not now, not now, okay he said it, even though I said it, so now! This is a problem that I think it would be useful for Rome to address.