CDW response to a dubium concerning role of priests and deacons at the Doxology

Also from the Newsletter of the USCCB’s Committee for Divine Worship, there was published a response to a dubium sent to the CDW in Rome.

My brother priests who are interested in concelebration may be interested in this:

Role of Concelebrating Priests at the Doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer

In this dubium, the question concerned the role of concelebrating Priests and whether they were permitted to take up the various chalices from the altar before the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer. Quoting from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Congregation emphasized the proper role of the Deacon in holding up the chalice next to the Priest for the final doxology: “At the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, the deacon stands next to the priest, holding the chalice elevated while the priest elevates the paten with the host, until the people have responded with the acclamation, Amen” (no. 180).

According to the Congregation’s response, “Therefore, the use is reprobated where all or many concelebrants at the altar proceed to take up the chalices at the time of the final doxology. Rather, it is the duty of the celebrant, or the deacon, or one concelebrant to elevate the [principal] chalice.” It is presumed by extension that the same could be said regarding the elevation of multiple ciboria or patens by various concelebrants. Given the response and the principles of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, only the main paten and the main chalice are to be elevated by the celebrant assisted by the Deacon, or in the absence of a Deacon, by a single concelebrant.
(March-April 2009, pg. 171)

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15 Responses to CDW response to a dubium concerning role of priests and deacons at the Doxology

  1. Random Friar says:

    I tend to concelebrate once in a while, and I always felt the raising of the chalice was the deacon’s role (as stated), and felt a little uncomfortable when the chalice was offered for me to raise. But this does set my mind at ease. Actually, it helps even more, because I’ve concelebrated with priests who raise both Host and Chalice.

  2. FrCharles says:

    I’m glad to read this, because this is a widespread error. Once in a while (in the absence of a deacon) a principal celebrant has motioned for me to do this, but I just look at him quizzically. It’s harder when I’m principal celebrant and a concelebrant presents himself for this purpose. I think the trouble derives from the general liturgical culture error that holds up the value that the most persons should be doing the most (exterior) things, and that’s what makes good liturgy. When I was studying for priesthood I even heard of a first Mass of one of my classmates in which both priests and laity were impressed into service to lift up everything at the elevation–chalices, ciboria, even candles.

  3. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Things would be more clear if that single concelebrating priest were always wearing a dalmatic and functioning as a deacon.

  4. Fr. Basil says:

    \\Things would be more clear if that single concelebrating priest were always wearing a dalmatic and functioning as a deacon.\\

    This is a practice that is reprobated not only in the Ordinary Form, but in the Byzantine tradition as well.

  5. This is a practice that is reprobated not only in the Ordinary Form, but in the Byzantine tradition as well.

    Perhaps it was a mistake to reprobate it in the ordinary form? The Byzantine tradition and the Roman tradition have been different on this point for hundreds of years. That the Roman rite in the ordinary form (which is not the totality of the Roman rite) currently happens to conform to the Byzantine practice doesn’t mean the Roman practice for all those years was wrong.

  6. And of course, there is one place the practice persists in the Roman rite, the Cardinal Deacons at papal liturgies.

  7. smad0142 says:

    What is the reasoning behind this decision? I agree with whatever Rome decides, I’m just seeking to understand it. Thanks!!

  8. Father G says:

    Such a prohibition was already in place when the USCCB issued “Guidelines for Concelebration of the Eucharist” on November 12, 2003. Article 36 says, “During the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer only the principal celebrant elevates the paten with the consecrated bread, while the deacon raises the chalice. The concelebrants do not elevate other chalices, ciboria, or other sacred vessels. If no deacon is present, one of the concelebrants may elevate the chalice.”

  9. JimGB says:

    Question for the learned commenters: Is a paten required, or can the plate with the hosts that were brought up at the offertory suffice? Our parish uses the latter at every Mass (i.e., the unconsecrated hosts are brought to the altar in a large open plate, which is then used by the celebrant and held up during the doxology).

  10. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    SJH and Fr. Basil – “Perhaps it was a mistake to reprobate it in the ordinary form?” That was exactly my point.

    Having only one celebrant accentuates his acting in persona christi (you had one celebrant just as there was only one Lord), and having mulitple celebrants – as is celebrated in the OF without reference to or comment on the venerable and organic Byzantine custom – deaccentuates the priest’s role, and the sacrificial nature of the Mass. Having multiple celebrants is redolent of the Pelagianism and pseudo-Immanentism that define many NO abuses and deformations: it suggests a universe where there is not one Christ, who is not us, but instead a universe where we are all capable of being Christ and effecting our own salvation. So all the many priests and all the people elevate everything of their own power, and they all enjoy looking at themselves doing it. It makes me sad.

  11. JJMSJ says:

    “Such a prohibition was already in place when the USCCB issued “Guidelines for Concelebration of the Eucharist” on November 12, 2003. Article 36 says, ‘… If no deacon is present, one of the concelebrants may elevate the chalice.’”

    So if there is no deacon at the altar, the principal celebrant may elevate both the paten and the chalice? I had thought the same as Random Friar and FrCharles that a concelebrant ought not to step in and do as a deacon would do were he there. In fact, it’s the principal celebrant’s choice either to elevate both or have a concelebrant elevate the chalice. Interesting.

  12. Papabile says:

    Fr. Basil says:
    11 January 2011 at 12:49 pm
    \\Things would be more clear if that single concelebrating priest were always wearing a dalmatic and functioning as a deacon.\\

    This is a practice that is reprobated not only in the Ordinary Form, but in the Byzantine tradition as well.

    Father:

    I know this has been forbidden by Rome in the Ordinary Form. But I have never seen it to be actually “reprobated”. Can you provide me the reference, so I can mark it in my library?

  13. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    This is a welcome clarification.

    First, it highlights the importance of the “One Bread, One Chalice” in the celebration of the Eucharistic banquet. The use of pre-packaged pressed wafers in the Latin rite I think has greatly diminished this tradition. The more ancient tradition of a single “Loaf” which the Byzantine rites have maintained for the most part (the Lamb being extracted from the larger prosphora, usually prepared by the faithful) still remains symbolically in the use of the larger host which is held by the main celebrant at the consecration. By emphasizing the elevation of the main Chalice, I think it ensures a greater continuity with Holy Tradition in all of the Churches and rites.

    Secondly, it maintains the proper and ancient connection of the Deacon to the Chalice, which again is upheld in all the Churches and rites. No Priest is to usurp this role if a Deacon is present.

    Regarding Bishops and Priests vesting and serving as “Deacons,” thankfully this practice has never, to my knowledge, found its way into the usage of the other 21 sui juris Churches in the communion of the Catholic Church. I’m trying to envision a Bishop dressing up like a Deacon and serving the Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine-rite. Inconceivable!! :-)

  14. Andy Milam says:

    @ Samuel J Howard, et al.

    Cardinal Deacons in the OF are not concelebrating with the Holy Father. They are functioning as deacons. That role is not reprobated. The reprobation is the idea that a concelebrating priest would wear a dalmatic and not a chasuble.

    It seemed as though this position was being misunderstood through the conversation.

  15. ikseret says:

    I’m glad this is clarified, but…
    1. How many dioceses will issue this to the parishes so that the correct practice is followed?
    2. In the traditional rite does the deacon have a role during the doxology? If not, this is another innovation distancing the ordinary and extraordinary forms.