Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Episcopal Consecration

Some of you may have already seen this video before. I found it interesting and beautiful. It's a video of the episcopal consecration of Bishop Rifan of Campos, preformed in the traditional rite in 2002. (Especially interesting is the part of the rite where the newly consecrated bishop presents the principal consecrator with two large lighted candles, two loaves of bread, and two [in this case, silver and gold] casks of wine).

To date, this is as far as I know the only traditional-rite episcopal consecration carried out licitly since the new rite was implemented.

The SSPX and other breakaway groups, of course, have done so. Although, actually, the SSPX bishops only had one co-consecrator instead of two alongside Lefebvre himself.

The episcopal lineages here and how they interact are interesting. The four SSPX bishops were consecrated principally by Archbishop Lefebvre, with co-consecrator Antônio de Castro Mayer, the bishop of Campos who refused to accept the new rite in his diocese (both of them, of course, were consecrated in the old rite prior to the Council).

Three of the SSPX bishops (but not Fellay), then consecrated Licínio Rangel (the principal consecrator was Tissier de Mallerais), successor to Castro Mayer as head of the Priestly Society of Saint John Vianney, the traditionalist bloc from Campos (the Vatican, of course, appointed a non-traditionalist to replace Castro Mayer as the actual bishop of the diocese of Campos).

Rangel then reconciled with the Holy See, and was guaranteed that the (traditional rite) episcopal succession of the Campos group would be maintained. John Paul II therefore gave him a coadjutor in Rifan. And so, in 2002, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos carried out the consecration in the video, with Rangel as one of the co-consecrators.

Generally, from what I've seen, even sedevacantists consider Rifan a valid bishop (even though Hoyos himself was consecrated in the new rite in 1968), because the participation of Rangel, whose line is "pure" old rite, would still be valid (as the whole point of the co-consecrators is to ensure validity and continuation of apostolic succession should there be doubts about the validity of the action of one or both of the other two). But of course, as described above, even Rangel's own episcopal lineage is somewhat irregular given that he was consecrated initially illicitly by the three SSPX bishops, who themselves were consecrated illicitly and by only two (rather than the traditional three).

Of course, no one sane questions the validity of the new rites of ordinations, nor of episcopal consecrations preformed with only one (or even no) co-consecrators. Still, if I get a call from Rome saying that I as a layman have been elected Pope and need to fly right out, I definitely want Rifan as one of my episcopal co-consecrators in my traditional episcopal ordination (if the SSPX does regularize, I'd probably want Fellay too)...


Mark of the Vineyard said...

Thanks for the link! I'd never seen this.

BTW: do you know where I might read up on the coronation rite of Catholic kings?

A Sinner said...

Although there might be a generic rite given in the Roman Pontifical (which likely had the Holy Roman Emperor in mind?) in general each country had its own rite for coronation (a mix of secular and sacred ceremony) and these additionally evolved quite a bit.

I think the one for the French kings (and queens) especially is out there floating around, because I remember having to study it for a class in university.

Mark of the Vineyard said...

Ah, ok. I'll have to look that up on the internet then.

What about "knighting"? Wasn't that a somewhat religious rite as well?

A Sinner said...

Yes, I believe that's also in the traditional Pontificale. Though, at a certain point even before the Council they removed those "old fashioned" things, and so in the study edition of the last traditional edition of Pontificale I have they are only in an appendix supplied from a previous edition.