Concelebration?

I recently took part in a concelebrated Eucharist, on the occasion of an ordination. I suppressed my long-held reservations about the notion of concelebration, out of courtesy to those whose guest I was, but I still have questions about the theology of the practice. It is clear that the role of president at the Eucharistic celebration was established from an early stage in the Church’s history, but there also seems to have been an understanding that the Eucharist was a celebration by the whole congregation. True concelebration would seem to me to require that the whole congregation be gathered round the table, rather than that some of the congregation be invited to join the president simply by virtue of the office they hold.

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3 responses to “Concelebration?

  1. OK, I don’t claim to know anything much about the theology of celebration per se, but I do recall being told that the purpose of a collect was to collect the congregation to make it a collective, corporate act. The other day, I realized this could be seen as extending as far as credimus. Might it relate to representation around the altar as well?

  2. I think it should be seen as extending beyond the Credo (or, as you rightly and more accurately say, the ‘We believe’ of our current liturgy). The presiding priest is there to represent the whole congregation before God, and God to the congregation. I don’t think that is at all enhanced by having several priests concelebrate. In fact, the practice obscures the symbolism altogether, accentuates the exclusion of the congregation from the act of celebration, and makes that act the preserve of the ordained.

  3. I think I agree; multiple priests makes it closer to two factions while one is all that’s required to execute the role.

    (I had to look up credimus – struck me as quite a significant point that from the point of the collect onwards, we’re into collective territory.)

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