Appx 1: validity of new episcopal consecrations

Validity of new episcopal consecrations

Appendix 1: Consecration Prayers


The ceremony before Vatican II

The ceremony since 1968

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to Thee, holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God, the honor of all the dignities that by holy orders serve Thy glory; O God, who, in the inspiration of secret and familiar conversation, among other teachings regarding divine worship, commanded Moses to regulate priestly vestments, and then ordered that Thine elect, Aaron, be clothed for the offering of sacrifice in a mystical garment, desiring thus to guarantee the continuity of Thy teaching, that every generation receive from its forebears instruction; and also that the signs of future realities being respected in the old Testament, the reality might be for us more certain than the enigmas of figures. The vesture of the former priesthood indeed represents the ornament of our souls, and it is no longer the honor of vestments, but rather the splendor of their souls which recommends to us the glory of the pontiffs, since that which then pleased the eyes had as object to make the truths that were contained therein understandable. Therefore, to thy servant, whom thou hast chosen for the ministry of perfect priesthood, grant, we beseech Thee, Lord, that this grace which all these vestments, by the glitter of gold, the brilliance of gems, and the variety of skilled handiwork, signified, shine in his conversation and in his actions. Fulfill in Thy priest the completion of Thy ministry, and adorned in the ornaments of all glorification sanctify him with the moisture of heavenly unguent.

[Here the anointing of the head takes place while the Veni Creator is sung.]

May this unguent, Lord, flow abundantly upon his head, overflow upon his bosom and reach even to the extremities of his body so that the virtue of Thy Spirit may fill him within and protect him without. May the constancy of the law, the purity of charity, and the sincerity of peace abound in him. By Thy gift, may his feet, which must preach peace and announce Thy benefits, be beautiful. Charge him, Lord, with the ministry of reconciliation by word and by deed, by the force of miracles. May he go and preach, not with the oratorical cleverness of human wisdom, but by showing Thy spirit and Thy strength. Give him, Lord, the keys of the kingdom of heaven, that, without glorying in himself, he make use of the power which Thou grantest him to edify and not to destroy. Let all which he may bind or loose on earth, be bound or loosed in heaven. Let the sins which he shall retain be retained, and forgiven to those to whom he has forgiven them. Let whomever he has cursed be cursed, and blessed, whom he has blessed. Let him be this faithful and wise servant whom Thou dost establish, Lord, over Thy family, that he nourish it in due time, and render every man perfect. Let him be active, prudent, hate pride, love humility and truth, and never betray it out of human respect or fear. Let him not make the darkness light, nor the light darkness; evil of good, nor good of evil. Let him give of himself both to the wise and to the simple, so that he profit from the progress of all. Place him, Lord, upon the episcopal see to rule Thy Church and the people confided to him. Be his authority, his might, his strength. Shower upon him Thy blessings and Thy grace, so that Thy gift make him always apt, and Thy grace, prompt to implore Thy mercy.

[The consecrator concludes in a low voice, joining hands, and saying the following:]

Through Jesus Christ our Lord...

R. Amen.

[The principal consecrator lays his hands upon the head of the bishop-elect, in silence. After him, all the other bishops present do the same. Then the principal consecrator places the open Book of the Gospels upon the head of the bishop-elect; two deacons, standing at either side of the bishop-elect, hold the Book of the Gospels above his head until the prayer of consecration is completed. Next the principal consecrator, with his hands extended, sings the prayer of consecration or says it aloud:]

God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all consolation, you dwell in heaven, yet look with compassion on all that is humble. You know all things before they come to be; by your gracious word you have established the plan of your Church. From the beginning you chose the descendants of Abraham to be your holy nation. You established rulers and priests, and did not leave your sanctuary without ministers to serve you. From the creation of the world you have been pleased to be glorified by those whom you have chosen.

[The following part of the prayer is sung by all the consecrating bishops, with hands joined:]

So now pour out upon this chosen one that power which is from you, the governing spirit whom you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Spirit given by him to the holy apostles, who founded the Church in every place to be your temple for the unceasing glory and praise of your name.

[Then the principal consecrator continues alone:]

Father, you know all hearts. You have chosen your servant for the office of bishop. May he be a shepherd to your holy flock, and a high priest blameless in your sight, ministering to you night and day; may he always gain the blessing of your favor and offer the gifts of your holy Church. Through the Spirit who gives the grace of high priesthood grant him the power to forgive sins as you have commanded, to assign ministries as you have decreed, and to loose every bond by the authority which you gave to your apostles. May he be pleasing to you by his gentleness and purity of heart, presenting a fragrant offering to you, through Jesus Christ, your Son, through whom glory and power and honor are yours with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, now and forever.

R. Amen.