“No one can be forced to concelebrate”

The FSSP priest in the diocese of Dijon, France (yes, like the mustard) who spoke to the press stated the following:

“[Archbishop Minnerath] wanted to concelebrate the Chrism Mass during Holy Week, but we haven’t done it for years, as we have reservations about the new [Paul VI] Mass and we don’t celebrate at the same pace,” said Father Perrel, who went on to emphasize that, according to Canon 902 of the Code of Canon Law, no one can be forced to concelebrate.

“The archbishop had first accepted [their refusal], although he didn’t like it, but now he is kicking us out for this motive, and in this sense, he is abusing his authority,” Father Perrel said, adding that the archbishop had been wanting to transfer the community a year ago. [NCRegister]

Here’s the Canon that the priest claims says “no one can be forced to concelebrate”

Can. 902 Unless the welfare of the Christian faithful requires or suggests otherwise, priests can concelebrate the Eucharist. They are completely free to celebrate the Eucharist individually, however, but not while a concelebration is taking place in the same church or oratory.

Unless there is a good spiritual reason, priests can concelebrate. This permits concelebration. Then priests are also free to celebrate Mass individually. Nothing states a right to refuse to obey your Bishop or the Pope (if he should intervene in this matter) because you have judged concelebration to be wrong. Canon law continues, in that section on the Eucharist, talking about concelebration on different points of law. Clearly, the law does not reject concelebration as a grave error, the way that some traditionalists do. The law does not confer a right to refuse to obey your Bishop when he asks you to concelebrate the Chrism Mass, which is only once a year!

These far right traditionalist communities have created their own doctrines and disciplines, and they now refuse to obey their Bishops, the Popes, and Vatican II. They have “reservations” about a Mass approved by successive Popes — proving that it cannot be gravely erroneous. They speak about the Bishop as if he were an annoyance, not someone with authority over them. They don’t want to be part of the larger Church. There is no obedience to Popes and Bishops there.

The Bishop did not abuse his authority by asking a couple of priests in his own diocese to concelebrate the Novus Ordo Mass once a year. That is the Mass where priests ordinarily obtain their holy oils from the Bishop. The concelebration with the Bishop shows the unity of the priests with the Bishop. These FSSP priests are schismatic. They don’t want anything to do with Novus Ordo priests or their own Bishop.

In the same diocese, previously and for many years, the FSSP priest was happy to cooperate with the Bishop and to concelebrate the Novus Ordo Mass. When the FSSP wanted to transfer that priest, the Bishop asked that he remain, which he did. Not all FSSP priests have this schismatic rejection of the NO Mass and their Bishop.

As for concelebration, it is an ordinary way to celebrate the Mass in Canon Law. It is not some extraordinary form of the Mass which is only permitted under grave circumstances, like general absolution. Priests are permitted to concelebrate, unless there is a reason not to do so. Concelebration is not envisioned by the law as something deeply flawed, which is the way that some traditionalists view it.


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3 Responses to “No one can be forced to concelebrate”

  1. M. Jean-Paul Benoist says:

    My dear Friends,

    It’s the pure Verity!

    Fatima: the Holy Rosary!

  2. Robert L Fastiggi says:

    Dear Ron,

    I knew a Jesuit priest (now deceased) who taught four years (in the late 1990s) at the FSSP seminary when it was located in northeast Pennsylvania. This fine Jesuit priest told me that some at the FSSP seminary criticized him for concelebrating the annual Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Scranton. Several of the FSSP priests claimed it was against their constitutions to concelebrate Mass since their community was approved to celebrate only the 1962 Roman Missal. The Jesuit priest, though, reminded these FSSP priests that he was not bound by their constitutions. Regardless of what the constitutions say, the criticisms experienced by this Jesuit professor at the hands of some (though not all) in the FSSP community shows that the real problem with concelebration for some FSSP members is animosity towards the Missal of St. Paul VI.

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