Consecration Rite for a Bishop

I am writing a book, and in it I need to know the number of Bishops required to consecrate another Bishop. Form what I’ve read here, the usual amount is three (3), but that this has been changed in the past to twelve (12) and back to three (3).

Is it possible for one (1) Bishop to consecrate a new Bishop? Assuming that there is indeed no way to have more than one (1) Bishop present? We’re assuming a complete crisis, with no possibility of getting three (3) Bishops there. Is it possible? Even if it’s illicit, would it be a valid consecration?

I believe that normally there are three bishops: one consecrator and two co-consecrators. Of course, it is the norm to have all bishops present lay their hands of the head of the bishop-elect. It is possible for less than three if the papal mandate permitting the bishop’s consecration permits this.

Yes, the norm right now (in the West at least) is three bishops: one principal consecrator and two co-consecrators. This is more or less a safeguard for apostolic succession. If it was ever discovered at a later date that one of the bishops was not validly a bishop, succession would not be broken because of the other two. It would be very unlikely that all three would be found to not be valid bishops.

Is it possible for one bishop to consecrate a bishop by himself? Yes. This is what happened with the SSPX when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops by himself. It was valid. But very much illicit.

I thought Archbishop Lebebvre’s episcopal ordination’s were invalid, not just illicit. Isn’t it necessary for an episcopal consecration to be valid for it to be authorised by papal mandate.

They were still valid. The bishops he consecrated are real bishops. The Vatican has never disputed that.

Thank you! That clears things up.

Actually, IIRC, Abp Lefebvre did have a co-consecrator: Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer from Brazil. And again, IIRC, there were 3 bishops ordained at that time.

yes yes

Only one bishop is necessary for validity. More than one is to show the universal nature of the Church, a bishop is not simply a localised official.

I must be missing something. Ecclesia Dei says that Lefebvre, Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta all incurred automatic excommunication. Were not all four of the priests consecrated bishops? And why was Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer not also mentioned?

Not to go off topic. :o

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