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Fr. Gerald E. Murray, The Catholic Thing, March 22, 2022
The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City. His new book (with Diane Montagna), Calming the Storm: Navigating the Crises Facing the Catholic Church and Society, will be published on April 7, 2022.
On March 12, Pope Francis went to the Jesuit Church of the Gesú in Rome for a Mass on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the canonizations of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. The pope preached at the Mass and concelebrated. He had earlier been scheduled to be the principal celebrant, but Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, for some reason, was the principal celebrant instead.
Liturgical theology and law do not countenance that a bishop, let alone the diocesan bishop in his own diocese, concelebrate Mass with a priest as the principal celebrant (apart from a grave necessity, such as infirmity). This flows from the nature of the episcopal office: the bishop is the high priest in his diocese. He offers the sacrifice of the Mass for his people, while his priests, co-workers who serve the local Church under his authority, concelebrate with him. …