Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Concelebration, again.

It must be that time of year. A spate of dubia and musings on the problems associated with 'concelebration' are crawling their way around the web. Actually after the last few days I'm rather surprised that it, that is 'concelebration', exists at all. The amount of interbillious attacks that I've heard between clergy would make it seem that there wasn't enough communion of charity between the clergy to warrant the continuing of this clericalising fantasy. Fr Blake provides some thoughts. Fr Z deals with one practical aspect. But what of the spiritual aspect?

I suspect much of the rationale for this purely modern practice exists to cloak indolence. Lazy clergy would rather not have to bother with the arrangements for their own Mass when they can 'piggy back' onto somebody else's efforts. Admittedly they've never really thought about it and just accepted it as the norm. Those who do wander from the social conformity of concelebration soon discover a particular kind of clerical bullying, not so much from the bishops, although that is not unknown, but rather from fellow clergy. There seems to be a herd mentality, especially amongst religious, that seems to be scared that if they let this 'lone celebration' business get out of hand they all might find themselves having to confront their Lord and God on their own one day. Heavens! It might even mean going to Confession.

And here is the greatest tragedy of an unchecked descent into false antiquarianism which is the modern practice of what really amounts to simultaneous celebration. (More than one stipend applied must mean more than one Mass being said.) It is the personal spiritual loss to the priest. The daily approaching the altar, without a crowd to try and hide your sins among, is a much more demanding task than the late dash to the sacristy whilst making a mental note of an intention. The individual responsibility before God, indeed the personal relationship with the Saviour, has been weakened by the overriding communitarian aesthetic which feeds the practice. It really does need to be brought to heal. In the words of a laywoman, an old friend of mine; 'I want to go to Mass - not something imitating a cookery course'.


  1. Just a thought, do you think the ills of concelebration that you describe are also reflected in Bishops' Conferences where individuals appear to be able to hide behind each other rather than take responsibility for what is going on in their dioceses and also dodgy collective Penance Services that we laity can get sucked into?

    Ie we all like to avoid having to take reponsibility for our actions.

  2. I think you've hit it on th head as far as that is possible at the moment. The imbalance between collective and individual responsibility is way out of kilter at the moment to the point the the individual receives little attention. It makes an impact on all levels of our Christian life. We, perhaps beeter 'I', need to think more about this.

  3. Father, I'm looking for the "holy music" blog to which you contribute - I reinstalled everything on my computer recently and misplaced some links in the process.

  4. Think this is what you might be after;



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