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Justin Bryan Bosmion wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Can one bishop validly consecrate a priest to the episcopate (bishop level) if he alone performs this, without any co-consecrator?

I heard that canon law requires a principal consecrator and two co-consecrators.

  • Which is right?

Thank you!

Justin

  { Can one bishop consecrate a priest to the [office of a bishop|episcopate]? }

John replied:

Hi, Justin —

Thanks for the question.

This sort of question deals with two issues:

  1. Does the bishop have a "ability" to consecrate a priest to a bishop?
    the answer to that is, Yes, and

  2. Is he allowed to do so under normal circumstances?
    the answer is, No, he is not.

It's hard to think of circumstances where a bishop could do this without facing discipline, but
I suppose if you could envision a scenario where he were the last living bishop, then he could pass on Apostolic Succession.

If a bishop were to consecrate or elevate a priest to a bishop, the man would then be a bishop. That's just a sacramental fact. It doesn't mean that the Church would allow him to practice as such and give him an assignment. In fact, they would probably both be disciplined or more than likely excommunicated for serious disobedience.

John

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