Episcopal mass with a visiting cardinal

A while ago, there was a cardinal visiting our cathedral, celebrating a mass with the local bishop. The cardinal was the main celebrant and sat on the episcopal chair, the local bishop sat next to him. I think a bishop is not required to forgo the episcopal chair in his own cathedral for anyone besides the Pope, so the cardinal would have needed the bishop’s permission. But I would like to ask if it is common practice, a kind of courtesy, to act like this.

Seems odd.

I have a vague recollection that ‘Episcopal’ Masses with a Cardinal / Bishop would have the presider officially standing in for the Pope, therefore it would be only right that the local ordinary would give way to the visiting (more senior) prelate.

Anyone more knowledgeable around who can tell me if my recollection is correct?


I don’t know how common it is (I’ve never seen it but I can’t recall ever being at a Mass such as that, either) but I can say that it is allowed by the Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 47, which basically says the cathedra can be used by another if the diocesan bishop permits it. That being said, I agree that it is odd…especially since the bishop was there, too.


Odd, or gracious?

The local Ordinary can offer the use of his cathedra to another bishop, but he is under no obligation to do so.

Two stories. Our former Archbishop, Cardinal Maida, was recently in New York. He said a Mass where Cardinal Dolan was present, Cardinal Maida was offered the Cathedra, but sat elsewhere.

When Pope John Paul II visited Detroit, he specifically instructed that a second chair be added. Cardinal Szoka, the then Archbishop sat in the Cathedra, while +JPII sat in a another chair.

The Cathdera is the symbol of authority over a Diocese, no prelate can use that by right other than the local Ordinary, the Holy See can grant themselves the right as they see fit, and it can be offered to another bishop

Im my parish we had The Most Reverend Cardinal l Cormac Murphy-o’Connor celebrate mass as his brother is a parishioner in my parish

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