Liturgical scholars refer to Episcopal ordination as a two-stage process: election and consecration. Using early and medieval texts of the Roman Rite, Sharon L. McMillan demonstrates how this two-stage sacrament involved a consensus of the local See, neighboring Sees, metropolitan See, and eventually the apostolic See as critically important elements of the election. The same history also shows how one by one each of those voices fell silent, except for the papal, and how ordination has now become an act with only one stage: the consecration.
If both election and consecration were originally vital elements of the sacrament, why aren’t they now? How was the election stage lost in the liturgical tradition of the West? How might it be retrieved? Why would it be important for the life of the church to retrieve it? Episcopal Ordination and Ecclesial Consensus answers these questions and provides the liturgical basis for increasing interest in the election of bishops.
Chapters are Chapter One: The Roman Model of Episcopal Ordination, Chapter Two: The Gallican Model of Episcopal Ordination, Chapter Three: The Evolution of the Roman and Gallican Models of Episcopal Ordination, Chapter Four: The Presentation of the Bishop-Elect in Selected Pontificals of the Middle Ages, Chapter Five: The Presentation of the Bishop-Elect in the Editio Princeps (1485) and in the Editio Typica (1595), and Chapter Six: The Presentation of the Bishop-Elect in the Rite of Episcopal Ordination According to the Reform of the Second Vatican Council.
Sharon McMillan, S.N.D. de N., S.L.D., is associate professor of sacramental theology and liturgy at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, California.