Distinct from the priestly consecration is that of the Levites ( Numbers 3:6 ) who represent the first-born of all the tribes.The rite of their consecration is described in Numbers, viii.As described in the Book of Exodus (xxiv), the rite used on this occasion consisted Later on we read of the consecration of the priests -- Aaron and his sons ( Exodus 29 ) -- who had been previously elected ( Exodus 28 ).Here we have the act of consecration consisting of purifying, investing, and anointing ( Leviticus 8 ) as a preparation for their offering public sacrifice.That this is the essential form has been the constant belief and teaching of both the Eastern and Western Churches ( Renaudot, "Liturgiarum Orientalium Collection", I, i). 2sqq.) holds that the consecration of a bishop, when the consecrator is assisted by one priest, although the Apostolic Brief required two assistant priests, is valid although illicit . If it is delayed beyond this time without sufficient reason, the bishop is obliged to relinquish the revenues to which he is entitled; if it is delayed six months, he may be deprived of his episcopal see (Conc. It takes place during mass celebrated by both the consecrator and the bishop-elect.The consecration of a bishop marks the plenitude of the priesthood, and it is probable that on this account the "Pontificale Romanum" places the ceremony of episcopal consecration immediately after that of the ordination of priests, Tit. Episcopal jurisdiction is acquired by the act of election and confirmation or by definite appointment, whilst the fullness of the priestly power itself is obtained in consecration, as the completion of hierarchical orders. In missionary countries the consecrator may perform the ceremony without the assistance even of priests (Zitelli, "Apparatus Juris Ecclesiastici", Lib. For this purpose a separate altar is erected for the bishop-elect near the altar at which the consecrator celebrates Mass, either in a side chapel, or in the sanctuary, or just outside of it.In both, the persons or things pass from a common, or profane, order to a new state, and become the subjects or the instruments of Divine protection.At a consecration the ceremonies are more solemn and elaborate than at a blessing.
To these might be probably added confirmation and Holy orders, for which, however, the Roman Pontifical, because they are distinct sacraments, has retained their proper names.
Another kind of personal consecration among the Hebrews was that of the Nazarites ( Numbers 6 ).
It implied the voluntary separation from certain things, dedication to God, and a vow of special sanctity.
The Church distinguishes consecration from blessing, both in regard to persons and to things.
Hence the Roman Pontifical treats of the consecration of a bishop and of the blessing of an abbot, of the blessing of a corner-stone and the consecration of a church or altar.