Can Excommunicated Bishop Consecrate other Bishops?

by Steve Ray on December 12, 2006

Kevin was the first caller tonight when I was on Catholic Answers Live doing the Open Forum Q & A. He asked a good question. Could the excommunicated Archbishop Milingo actually consecrate other priests as bishops? Milingo attempted to cosecrate four men as bishops.

First, I will provide the passages from the Catholic Code of Canon Law (which I easily found by searching through Welcome to the Catholic Church). I was correct in my answer that by canon law a bishop much be accompanied by at least by at least two other consecrating bishops.

Can. 1012 The minister of sacred ordination is a consecrated bishop.

Can. 1013 No bishop is permitted to consecrate anyone a bishop unless it is first evident that there is a pontifical mandate.

Can. 1014 Unless the Apostolic See has granted a dispensation, the principal bishop consecrator in an episcopal consecration is to be joined by at least two consecrating bishops; it is especially appropriate, however, that all the bishops present consecrate the elect together with the bishops mentioned.

Second, I am relaying part of a news article from Catholic News Service relating to this matter:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — (SECOND UPDATE) Sep-26-2006  By Carol Glatz  Catholic News Service
Recent ordinations made without papal approval have placed Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and the four prelates he ordained under automatic excommunication, the Vatican said.

"Starting with his "attempted marriage" in 2001 until his Sept. 24 ordinations of four bishops in Washington, Archbishop Milingo's actions have led him to "a condition of irregularity and progressive breach in communion with the church," said a written statement by the Vatican press office….

"Because of the unapproved ordinations, "both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordained men are under a 'latae sententiae' excommunication, according to Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law," the statement said. A bishop who consecrates a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him automatically incur the penalty of excommunication.

"The Vatican statement also said "the church does not recognize nor does it intend to recognize in the future such ordinations and all the ordinations derived from them." It also added that the canonical status of the "four presumed bishops is the same in which they found themselves before ordination" by Archbishop Milingo."

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