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Irish bishop bans shared Communion at interfaith event

Canon lawyer says he is not empowered to permit it

Irish bishop bans shared Communion at interfaith event

Holy Communion (picture: Shutterstock)

John Cooney for National Catholic Reporter
Ireland

July 11, 2013

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The Glenstal Ecumenical Conference, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is the oldest and most successful interfaith gathering between Roman Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. But a senior prelate's decision to not allow the conference to offer a shared Eucharist as part of its anniversary observance has placed its future in doubt.

Attendees of the jubilee conference, held June 25 to 27, were told that the archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dermot Clifford, twice refused to grant official permission for a shared Holy Communion service in his diocese. Citing a "conservative" opinion from a canon lawyer, Clifford said it was not in his power to grant the permission. The apostolic nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, supported Clifford's decision....

Clifford's in-house canon lawyer said the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has jurisdiction over intercommunions with "ecclesial communities." Any cleric defying that ban, the canon lawyer said, could incur a severe penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state.

Fr Mark Anthony Hederman [abbott of Glenstal Abbey] said "the only chink of light in an otherwise negative and, indeed, threatening response" was Clifford's observation that the organizers were free to appeal his decision to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Full Story: Ireland interfaith gathering denied permission for shared Communion service 

Source: National Catholic Reporter

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