Of consecration proper the Roman Pontifical contains one of persons , that is of a bishop, and four of things , that is, of a fixed altar, of an altar-stone, of a church, and of a chalice and paten.
The consecration of a church is also called its dedication (q.v.) in accordance with the distinction between consecration and dedication among the ancient Romans pointed out above.
An archbishop was consecrated by one of his suffragans, the senior being usually selected. The consecrator is seated on a faldstool placed on the predella of the altar, facing the bishop-elect, who sits between the assistant bishops, upon a seat placed on the sanctuary floor.
If the bishop-elect was not a suffragan of any ecclesiastical province, the nearest bishop performed the ceremony. If the consecration takes place in Rome, and the bishop-elect receives the permission to choose the consecrator, he must select a cardinal who is a bishop, or one of the four titular Latin patriarchs residing in Rome. The senior assistant bishop presents the elect to the consecrator, after which the Apostolic commission is called for and read.
At every consecration the holy oils are used; at a blessing customarily on holy water.
The new state to which consecration elevates persons or things is permanent, and the rite can never be repeated, which is not the case at a blessing ; the graces attached to consecration are more numerous and efficacious than those attached to a blessing ; the profanation of a consecrated person or thing carries with it a new species of sin, namely sacrilege, which the profanation of a blessed person or thing does not always do.
Similarly, the rites of consecration of objects -- such as temples, altars, firstfruits, spoils of war, etc. Among the Romans whatever was devoted to the worship of their gods (fields, animals, etc.) was said to be consecrated , and the objects which pertained intimately to their worship (temples, altars, etc.) were said to be dedicated.
The rite of their consecration is described in Numbers, viii.
Another kind of personal consecration among the Hebrews was that of the Nazarites ( Numbers 6 ).
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.
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.