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Brazilian priest who 'concelebrated' Mass with Protestant minister removed as pastor

PastorConcelebraMissa_CapturadeVideo.jpg Fr. Jose Carlos Pedrini, CS, (R) attempts to concelebrate Mass with Francisco Leite, a Presbyterian minister, (L) in Jundiai, Brazil, Feb. 17, 2021. (screenshot)

The local bishop and the regional superior of a priest who last week attempted to concelebrate the Eucharist with a Protestant minister have removed the priest as pastor of his parish.

Fr. Jose Carlos Pedrini, a member of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, was removed as pastor of Jundiai’s Sacred Heart of Jesus parish.

“We sincerely regret the event that rightly created great confusion and division among the faithful,” Bishop Vicente Costa of Jundiaí wrote Feb. 20. The bishop added that such active participation in the Mass by a non-Catholic minister "is not permitted by the norms of our Church.”

It is a truth of revelation that the power of consecration of the Eucharist resides in a validly consecrated priest only.

Fr. Pedrini attempted to celebrate the Eucharist together with Francisco Leite, a minister of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, an ecclesial community, Feb. 17, Ash Wednesday.

A video of the Mass shows Leite reading a section of the Eucharistic Prayer and receiving Communion.

Bishop Costa said the widespread dissemination of the video on social media has caused “diverse and completely opposite reactions” and has “further accentuated the wound inflicted on the ecclesial unity that is found precisely in the Holy Eucharist, its source and the ultimate foundation of its unity in the same faith, hope, and charity.”

"We believe that (Fr. Pedrini), known for his dedication and generosity, especially toward the poor and migrants, did not act in bad faith," he added.

Bishop Costa stressed that an "inadequate understanding of the initiatives related to the always laudable ecumenical dialogue perhaps may be the basis of his actions."

"It is important to emphasize, therefore, that his action does not seem to derive from the express consciousness of wanting to disobey the norms of the Catholic Church or to offend the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist," he noted.

Bishop Costa said that the diocese will continue to believe firmly in "healthy and authentic ecumenical dialogue with other Christian communities, thus advocated by the Second Vatican Council and by the pronouncements of the recent popes."

Ash Wednesday marked the opening of the Fraternity Campaign, a Catholic fundraiser in Brazil. This year is is being carried out in conjunction with mainline ecclesial communities, as it is every fifth year.

Bishop Costa added, "We renew our sentiments of fraternal esteem for the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, which, in the person of one of its pastors, although he did not want to, was involved in such a sensitive situation for us.”

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The bishop said that the case has been sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "so that they can tell us how to proceed."

The Code of Canon Law states that “The minister who is able to confect the sacrament of the Eucharist in the person of Christ is a validly ordained priest alone”, and that priests “are forbidden to concelebrate the Eucharist with priests or ministers of Churches or ecclesial communities which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church.”

Among the delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for judgement is the concelebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice “with ministers of ecclesial communities which do not have apostolic succession and do not acknowledge the sacramental dignity of priestly ordination.”

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