Cardinal Burke cautions against ‘excessive’ concelebration of Mass

A caution against “excessive” use of concelebration — the practice of several priests participating together in the celebration of Mass — has been sounded by the head of the highest judicial body in the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, said the practice could result in the unique role of the individual priest in the sacred liturgy being obscured.

“I don’t think there should be an excessive encouragement of concelebration because the norm is for the individual priest to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass,” he said in an interview with CNA at the end of an international liturgy conference in Cork, Ireland.

“If it is repeated too frequently, it can develop within him a sense of being another one of the participants instead of actually being the priest who is offering the Mass.”

Cardinal Burke was concerned that, whereas the priest’s action is distinct, he “can seem to be participating in the Mass in the same manner as the congregation” if he concelebrates too often.

“That’s the danger I see in excessive concelebration,” he said.

The cardinal’s words of caution echoed comments made early this year by the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares.

He told a gathering at Rome’s University of the Holy Cross on March 5 that the “widening of the faculty to concelebrate needs to be moderated, as we can see when we read the [Second Vatican] Council texts.”

Cardinal Cañizares explained that concelebration “is an extraordinary, solemn and public rite, normally presided over by the bishop or his delegate,” surrounded by his priests and the entire community.

But “the daily concelebrations of priests only, which are practised ‘privately’…do not form part of the Latin liturgical tradition,” he said.


Catholic News Agency

Image: Catholic News Service

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