Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rite of degradation of a Bishop (or Archbishop)



Milingo's act of schism which caused his automatic excommunicaton has sent a buzz round some websites about the "Rite of Degradation of a Bishop", it was ordered to be printed for the first time in 1862 on the instruction of another Benedict, Benedict XIV.
Though one might suggest names, even those who qualify seem loathe to come forward to be publicly degraded, so I do not know when it was last used.

THE RITE OF DEGRADATION of a BISHOP
If the degradandus be an archbishop, the degrading prelate removes his pallium, saying:
We deprive thee of the rights and privileges of the episcopal dignity, symbolized in this pallium, since thou hast abused them.
Then, even if the degradandus be a mere bishop, the degrading prelate removes his mitre, saying:
We strip thy head of this miter, emblem of the episcopal dignity, since thou hast befouled it by thy ill government.
Then one of the ministers brings the Book of the Gospel to the degradandus, which the degrading prelate takes from his hands, saying;
Give us back the Gospel! Since thou hast spurned the grace of God and made thyself unworthy of the office of preaching, we rightly deprive you of this office.
Then the degrading prelate removes the ring from the finger of the degradandus, saying:
Rightly do we pull off thy ring, the sign of fidelity, since thou hast made bold to rape God's own bride, the Church.
At this time one of the ministers brings the degradandus a crosier, which the degrading prelate takes from his hands, saying;
Thy shepherd's staff we take from thee, that thou shalt be powerless henceforward to exercise that office of correction, which thou hast brought to disarray.
Then the ministers take off the gloves of the degradandus, and the degrading prelate lightly scrapes thumbs and hands with a knife blade or a shard of glass, saying:
We hereby deprive thee, to the extent of our powers, of the grace of spiritual blessing and of sacramental anointing, that thou shouldst forfeit the office of sanctifying and of blessing, and their effects.
With the same knife blade or shard the degrading prelate lightly scrapes the head of the degradandus, saying:
We utterly erase and eradicate the consecration, blessing and anointing bestowed upon thee, and we put thee out of the episcopal order, whence thou returnest unclothed.
The ministers remove the shoes from the degradandus Thus ends the ceremony.
He was then hand over to the civil authorities for secular punishment with the plea that blood should not be spilt nor should he be treated harshly.
A Diocesan Liturgy Co-ordinator should always have the ceremonial for this ready, there must be something about secular poetry, floating candles, banners and plenty of lay involvement, ask yours.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes father, lay involvement most probably takes place in the procession to the place of secular punishment.
The rubric might run, "Then shall the little children hurl abuse and spit, and elderly crones shout and throw vegetable matter (organic of course) at the degradus.

Michael Petek said...

Couldn't they just get Alan Sugar along to tell him "You're fired!"?

Anonymous said...

Can I really not suggest some of our English bishops?

Anonymous said...

still me,
What about the degradation of Liturgy Co-ordinators? There are lots of interesting things I could do with floaty candles, nails, pebbles, bits of cloth, circle dances etc

Benfan said...

Father,
You may not be aware but when I type in "bishop blog conry pastoral letter" in google your blog comes up with the Rite of degradation of a Bishop.

Hmmmmm