What is your opinion regarding married priests concelebrating with the officiating priest at the altar?

I’m not sure I completely understand your question, but I can certainly understand the sadness and frustration in your experience of wanting to minister the Sacraments and not having your desire supported by the Church. it seems from what you’ve said that you’re not assuming a public role as a concelebrant but rather sitting with the congregation at Mass and privately reciting the words of consecration along with the presider. The fact that the Church allows the use of missalettes which contain the words of the eucharistic prayers along with the readings from Scripture indicates that the Church at least permits if not encourages the practice of reading and “praying along” privately with the presider. This is true prayer and should certainly carry the graces that prayer provides.

The present Canon Law of the Church would not, however, regard this as a concelebration. The commentary on Canon 900 states “while any priest may validly consecrate the sacrament, some priests may not do so licitly, such as those who have been deprived of the exercise of their order by a penalty….or who have lost the clerical state…”

You asked me, however, for my own opinion, so I’ll offer the following:

1. Given the dwindling numbers of clergy and the need of the people for the Eucharist and the Sacraments of the Church I pray each day that the Church will begin to seriously discuss the ordination of married men and the return to active ministry of priests who have left that ministry to marry but who are still willing and able to serve as priests.

2. I believe it threatens the unity of the Church for priests who have left their ministry in the Church in order to marry to preside at or concelebrate Mass publicly. Rather than promote seriously a discussion of the ordination issue, such actions could serve to postpone such a discussion.

3. I don’t believe that focusing on the power and authority to consecrate is the most helpful way to approach this discussion. Rather it would be better to focus on the power of God’s life-giving grace at work in the eucharist and the best way to ensure that all Catholics are able to experience this grace at work in their own communities of faith.

God bless you,

Fr. Joe


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