Priest in the congregation?

Hi I’ve just got out of mass and there was an older gentleman next to me who was speaking the priests words along with him during the consecration with hands in Oren pose ? Would he have been a priest ? Or is there ever a other reason why he would do that ?

There’s no other proper reason, but he could always have been unaware of the inappropriateness of him saying the Priest’s prayers.


Yes, indeed. We used to have a profoundly deaf gentleman in our parish, who used to say the words along with the priest It was his way of following what was going on and he didn’t realise he could be heard.


Definitely wasn’t deaf, and was (I am surmising ) in his late 60s/early 70s so you would imagine been in the church long enough to know not to do that. Irish accent too ok that’s not a dead give away but we have a few Irish priests in the area :laughing:

If I were a visiting priest, I think I’d just aks the pastor to concelebrate in advance. He might even be able to put the visitor to use handing out communing or saying part of the prayers. :wink:
I don’t think it’s proper to concelebrate from the pews without proper vestments anyway.

1 Like

It’s certainly something I’ve never come across before

Some people just like to do that - granted, they shouldn’t be audible if that’s what they’re doing because it is technically improper, but I certainly have more important things to focus on during Mass than policing actions of others in the pews. (Not implying that’s what you were doing.)

If he was a priest, it’s odd that he wasn’t in clericals or choir dress, at minimum, but it could be possible. As such, I believe he’s still obligated to “pray along” at the parts appropriate to a priest as if concelebrating, even though he technically isn’t.

I suppose a clue wold be if he extended his hands during the Consecration.

I have that with someone in Mass and he says it very loudly, he also wears trousers and jumper with mates written all over it and brings his dog.

Yes his hands were like this

Ah, doesn’t look like a priest then, as the ones in our parish sort of point when they are concelebrating from somewhere not the actual sanctuary.

1 Like

No. A priest is either concelebrating or he’s not, there’s no sort of halfway option whereby a priest can be in the congregation and just say the words. A priest isn’t obliged to celebrate mass every day nor is he obliged to exercise his ministry whenever visiting another church. Some priests I know simply sit in the congregation if they’re not the celebrant but if they chose to do this then they shouldn’t be praying the priest’s prayers.


That’s so odd, then. I really would have put money on him being a priest. He had a dark coat and dark pants but I couldn’t see a collar as he was wearing a scarf. Is it a universal thing that they either Concelebrate or don’t join in, or just done in the USA ?

No it’s universal.


I need to get to the bottom of this I’m going to watch for him next time and see what he does

Is is a sin that he’s doing that, if he’s not a priest ?

Probably yes but his level of culpability is another matter. He may not be aware that he’s doing anything wrong or he may have some mental health issues

1 Like

Anymore, I keep my eyes closed and listen, except at the elevation. Too many reasons, to the left and the right, to become distracted from the Sacrifice which is being offered. Well do I know who tempts me to do that.

“Me” I said.


It was really hard to ignore as he was kneeling right next to me. Not a lot of room at that service usually so elbow to elbow. I used to close my eyes as I almost felt I shouldn’t looking at something so holy ( Indiana Jones and the raiders of the lost ark scarred me as a kid ) but I try and look a little bit now it helps focus as if I close my eyes I drift

Whether or not it’s a sin for him depends upon factors that we don’t know here as people on the Internet who weren’t there.

If it’s a regular issue and a concern, bring it up with the parish priest. That’s the charitable way forward in my opinion.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit