16Jul Communion from the Chalice should be given at every Mass

Ireland is known as a country of ironies. One of the greatest ironies from a Catholic perspecive is that in a land with one of the highest incidences of the coeliac condition in the world, communion from the chalice is rarely if ever given. This means that Irish Catholics whose intolerance of gluten rules out sharing in the eucharistic bread rarely have access to Holy Communion under the form of wine, the form which is safest for them — and therefore rarely have access to Holy Communion at all. This would be serious in any country, but given the prevalence of the condition in Ireland, this is particulurly unfortunate.

Statistics regarding coeliacs suggest as many as one in a hundred Irish people may have this serious condition that causes some adults and children to react to gluten, a key component in the confection of bread. This means each parish in Ireland must have a number of coeliacs – and therefore no parish can ignore the making of arrangements for its coeliac population.

For many years, this problem was solved in the Irish Church by catering for coeliacs with gluten-free hosts – and, in parishes where no gluten-free hosts were stocked, coeliacs frequently came to the sacristy before Mass with their own supply, for consecration. But then the Church authorities in Rome ruled that a certain amount of gluten had to be contained in the bread for it to be valid for consecration. Irish Catholics seem to be caught in a Catch-22 situation: to suit a coeliac, the host has to be fully gluten-free – but for Rome such a host is not valid matter for consecration. A low-gluten host might suit some coeliacs; but, again, it might not make a valid host.

Catholics universally would see a simple solution – let the coeliac receive under the species of wine from the chalice. After all, Catholics believe that the Body and Blood of the Lord are wholly consumed under either species. When this article for the Tablet’s Parish Practice on Irish coeliacs was first mooted, the solution seemed so obvious as to not need rehearsing. I think communion from the chalice is automatically available to communicants across the Catholic world — but it isn’t in Ireland.

This is because the Irish Mass is a peculiar phenomonen, a product of its cultural history. The almost 200 years of persecution of Irish Catholics, from the mid-17th century to the early 19th century, has taken a long-lasting toll. In those years when celebration of the sacraments was illegal and Mass was said in the open air in secluded locations (often at Mass rocks), in fear of Crown forces, brevity was the key factor in the Mass – a consideration that continues to haunt Irish Catholics to this day. I have seen more solemnity in weekday Masses in France than at some Sunday Masses in Ireland. Historical shadows are not easily shaken off.

The fear of being discovered in the course of these illicit open-air gatherings also led to quiet Masses, devoid of singing, deliberately to avoid attention being drawn to the celebration; this continues to be the common Irish Catholic experience of Mass to this day. Even if choirs sing, Catholic in the pews resolutely refuse to. It is also said that the Irish practice of men standing at the back of the church and even outside dates back to their protective role in those open-air congragations.

The duration of the average Sunday Mass in Ireland is 40 to 45 minutes; this seems to the maximum length tolerable, though in many places Mass can be 10-15 minutes shorter than that. This means that everything is pared back to the bare minimum, with readings omitted, homilies cut to a few sentences, singing avoided — and such ‘optional elements’ as communion from the chalice, essential as it might be for coeliacs, having no chance of being attempted, lest the Mass no longer be fast enough.

You might wonder why in such circumstances coeliacs would not then come to the altar with the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and receive the chalice there. It would seem an attractive alternative, but many coeliacs feel self-conscious and excessively visible when this is the practice.

The only solution, it seems to me, is a deep renewal in the Irish Church and particularly in its liturgical experience. Almost 200 years after Catholic Emancipation in 1829 after which the first Catholic church buildings came to be built, it is perhaps time to re-visit what the Mass means, how it might be celebrated, particularly for Sundays: what may be omitted and what cannot.

In such a context, the more wide availability of communion from the chalice might be considered. Speaking from personal experience as a pastor in a rural parish, I can record a partial success. I managed to convince people in one church in this parish to support its intrcduction – helped by the experience of Catholics in a neighbouring church where this practice was introduced nearly 20 years ago and which succeeding priests have maintained in the years since. The argument that won favour in my local church was: ‘If the people of the neighbouring parish can have communion under both species every week, why can’t we?’

Such communion was then introduced on a trial basis for the Easter season, retained afterwards and still occurs. The parish’s coeliacs are of course delighted – instead of coming to receive with the ministers in the full view of the whole church, they walk in the communion procession but go straight to the chalice-bearing minister, and receive Christ’s body and blood there discreetly. It is as if, far from standing out, the parish’s coealiacs have disappeared.

My success is only partial, however. In the other parish church, where there are likely to be an equal number of coeliacs, communion from the chalice is viewed as a wonderful priviledge, but one not to celebrate too often, lest its wonder be diluted. On particular Sundays of the year, communion under both kinds is given, but a more widespread availability attracts resistance.

I don’t know if the practice will last in the parish. I wonder if my successor would maintain what I have introduced if I were to be moved. I cannot be sure he would. My heart sinks when I remember another pastor who boasted that he saved a bottle of wine a week by abolishing communion from the chalice in his church. Without a wider renewal of both priests and people, it seems Irish coeliacs have no guarantee that their needs will be fully and discreetly accommodated in their local parish.

 

This article was first published in The Tablet of 23 June 2012 and is reproduced here with permission of the publisher. See www.thetablet.co.uk for the most recent edition.

24 Responses

  1. Andy

    In Ireland, any communicant can receive from the chalice if they are coeliac. A quick word to the priest is fine before Mass. I see people do this from time to time. It would be better if EMHC approach the altar after the priest’s communion, as the instructions indicate, then there would be less self-consciousness. I’ve never seen a coeliac denied Holy Communion. I loved the comments about men standing round the entrance. Here was me thinking they wanted a quick getaway, but really, they are standing guard. I’ll see them with new eyes from now on!

  2. Mary O Vallely

    “The Church authorities in Rome ruled that a certain amount of gluten had to be contained in the bread for it to be valid for consecration.”
    Can anyone explain why this is so?
    Must say I found this interesting reading. Had no idea we had such a high percentage of coeliacs (more pc, I suppose, to say “people with a gluten intolerance” ) and really no understanding that the men standing at the back of our churches are actually carrying on an ancient tradition of protecting us! I always figured it was so that they could make a quick get-away. You live and learn.
    It would be good to blame our generally joyless liturgies and our lack of whole hearted responses to the fact that in penal times we had to proceed through the Mass with haste and in whispers. It’s an interesting assumption and probably has some truth in it. Maybe if we acknowldege the fact that we do not sing from our hearts and souls we might start to think about how we could indeed exude the joy we should show as believers.
    I agree with this pastor that the chalice should be there for all. It is certainly always the case at any Mass I have attended whenever I am in Edinburgh. Never in Armagh unfortunately.
    An interesting article and I hope someone can explain Rome’s thinking on gluten being necessary for consecration.
    Mary V ( ever eager to learn!)

  3. Eddie Finnegan

    Of course, Fr Bernard Cotter is right that the chalice should be available to all, and not just because Ireland has a large percentage of people with a coeliac condition and an intolerance for even low-gluten bread. Andy’s suggestion above seems to just fiddle with the unnecessary status quo, rather than address the main thrust of Fr Cotter’s article. Haven’t we had enough Irish solutions to Irish problems?
    .

    Like Mary, it’s only recently I’ve become aware of the high incidence of the coeliac condition among us when my sister-in-law was belatedly diagnosed with it. Rather like my own haemochromatosis condition, it may well stem from a gene variation that was once useful in our racial history, but we Irish do seem remarkably adept at medically pulling the short (wheaten?) straw. My Dublin cousin’s daughter has had the condition since childhood. It causes enough dietary and cooking constraints seven days a week, the least we might expect is that those who lay the Lord’s table should in no way add to those constraints even through ignorance or oversight. If local rural restaurants, McNamee’s bakery in Crossmaglen or a Dundalk supermarket can adapt, why not the Church?

    .

    I think, Mary, Rome’s ‘thinking’ (let’s use the word loosely) is that gluten is necessary for “the confection of bread” and that without a certain(?) level of gluten you haven’t got bread, and that without bread there is no ‘matter’ for consecration. Similarly that without fermentation you don’t have wine but must or ‘mustum’, basically grape-juice with no alcoholic content and so no ‘matter’ for consecration.
    Now I wonder when the Lord sent those two disciples into town on Passover evening to check that everything was ready for supper in the upper room, did he remind them to call in a chemist to assess the gluten content of the bread and the alcohol level of the wine provided by the unnamed host of the evening. Not one of the four evangelists seems to have been aware of so essential a sine qua non.

    .

    But, Mary, I’m amazed you didn’t know why the men always stayed outside at Mass. How do you think you women and childher were able to worship in peace, undisturbed by Redcoats and the local priesthunters around Armagh? Even in the 1940s/’50s I knew that the men squatting on the horizontal 1830’s grave slabs in Cross’ weren’t really playing cards but just giving the impression to any suspicious stranger that what might seem like a papist Masshouse was really an innocent alehouse at the crossroads.
    And I’m sure that that contagious fit of choral coughing that used seize the congregation immediately after the elevation of the chalice was really the 20th century equivalent of our ancestors’ warning to Oliver Plunkett, the Bard of Armagh or Dean Brian McGurk that it was time to disappear into the hills.

  4. Pól Ó Duibhir

    This is all ‘angels on the head of a pin’ stuff. A pseudo theology of transubstantiation requiring ultra precise ingredients (accidentals waiting to happen, so to speak). Of course the eucharist should be available under both or either species. A bottle of wine or a haperth of tar are as false savings one as the other. And then there is the ludicrous ruling that for a valid mass a priest must receive under both species.

  5. Roger

    I am gluten intolerant yet I have never had a problem with the Eucharist ever.
    I know of a women who is totally allergic to alcohol yet she can drink the Precious Blood, no problem.

    I think your justification shows a lack of faith ! Offering the Precious Blood universally will not magically bring back the hundreds of thousands of Catholics who have left the church in recent years, not even the gluten-intolerant ones !

  6. Diffal

    @Mary: it is not the gluten per se that “Rome requires” rather wheat bread, since we as Catholics must use Wheat bread and Grape wine as the elements to be consecrated at our Mass just as our Lord did when he instituted the Eucharist. Unfortunately wheat contains gluten which causes the problem for those who are coeliacs. Low-gluten wheat host are perfectly valid matter for consecration but not suitable for all sufferers. I remember reading some promising research from Italy a few years ago in which a hydrolysed wheat flour did not have the same effects on coeliacs as regular wheat flour which may help sufferers in the future. Either way I would encourage the reception of the Precious Blood from the Chalice to be available to all those who come forward to receive Holy Communion.

    @Eddie: Mustum is valid matter for consecration as it is fermented grape juice (wine), however the fermentation has been stopped at a very early stage and so only trace amounts of alcohol are to be found. Its neither the Alcohol nor the gluten content which determines validity of the elements but the fact that they are comprised of wheat and fermented grape. Our Lord gave us Wheat bread and Grape wine as the matter for consecration, and we go with what we are given.

    Incidentally I think that our inability/unwillingness to sing cannot solely be blamed on the persecutions prior to emancipation. Scottish and English Catholics, in broadly similar situations, have retained a tradition of singing (think of the William Byrd Mass for four voices – this was because they couldn’t have choirs and it also meant they could be sung practically anywhere during the penal times in England) which continues to this day and they have introduced the practice of distributing Holy communion under both kinds nearly universally.

  7. Perry

    I wonder if Jesus had appeared some centuries later in Ireland – that He’d have used staples such as a spud and a thimble of poteen.

    Reading elsewhere on the site I was reminded:

    “Gospel: Matthew 11:25-27

    At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”

    Whatever Rome may or may not ‘think’ – isn’t it just as well Jesus doesn’t ask the ‘little ones’ for a PhD in ‘Rocket Science’.

  8. Eddie Finnegan

    Yes, Diffal is right about mustum being recognised as valid for consecration. My mistake.

    As for our muteness inside a church:
    It’s definitely strange how Irish fans’ lusty singing of “The Fields” etc even, or especially, when they’re being hammered 4 – 0 by Spain or 60 – 0 by the All Blacks is the wonder of Europe or the World. Mass never seems to give us the same sense of glorious victimhood. On the other hand, the abysmal artificiality of “Ireland’s Call” is a great inducer of mass apathy and mute embarrassment. Do most of our more contemporary hymns and sung liturgical responses fall into the Ireland’s Call category? We still seem to respond dolefully but audibly to the strains of post-communion ‘Soul of My Saviour’ etc. But something based on Kavanagh’s ‘On Raglan Road’ might set us going. Liturgy for Losers?

  9. Ann Lardeur

    As an English person I am astounded to learn that the chalice is not freely available to everyone at every Mass in Ireland. The command of the Lord is “Take, Eat” “Take, Drink” The doctrine that communion under the form of bread is complete – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – is neat but it is not quite the same as the fulfilling the command to “Drink”. By the way, in the orginal the word is more like munch, as with real food. Drink does mean drink not ‘sip’. I am not advocating glugging away, but something akin to a mouthful. No scrimping to save money allowed; only generosity.

  10. Fintan J Power

    This is not just about coeliacs, it is about the right of all the fathful to receive communion under both species as Christ commanded at the Last Supper. Whilst under church law, one species can act for both; it may not be generally known that Church pastors have a duty to promote the distribution of both. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states: “Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it is distributed under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and a clear expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the relationship between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Father’s Kingdom.” [Liturgical Calendar for Ireland 2012 {LCI}]
    In 1991 the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments gave permission to the Irish Episcopal Conference for “Holy Communion to be distributed under both kinds to the faithful at Masses on Sundays and holydays of obligation and on weekdays, if, in the judgement of the ordinary, Communion can be given in an orderly & reverent way.” [LCI]
    The practice however is anything but ideal. Here and there around the country some effort is made to distribute both kinds. This effort is often confined to Sundays and/or special feast days or occasions. Sometimes the approach is arbitrary, as if those centrally involved lack a real commitment to the process. Many churches make little, if any, concession to the laity being allowed share in the full Eucharistic meal. What is more, there is resistance to the notion that it should happen at all. Some priests perceive it as not having any importance whatsoever.
    Christ himself was very specific about the need to consume both. In John 6 he says: “In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat of the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in that person.” A priest is of course aware of the importance of these words. How strange then the unwillingness of some to ensure that those at Mass can partake of both.
    It seems ironic, this being the year of the Eucharistic Congress, that there was no public discussion about the full Eucharistic meal being available to all God’s people in every church through out the land. I wrote to the organisers of the Congress beforehand about the possibilty of receiving both species at the event but got no response.
    The Fransiscan church in Waterford introduced both species following lay representation. One of the Dominican churches in Waterford also does it. Coeliacs are able to receive from the chalice simply by letting the presiding priests know.
    It is time that the lay faithful were given communion under both species as is their right and it should be done countrywide.

  11. Andy

    Fintan, that is not at all realistic. How many people were at the Congress? How much wine would have been needed? How much consecrated Precious Blood would have been consumed? How much would remain afterwards? What would you do with it? Bearing in mind is the Blood of Christ, and it can’t be reserved. By receiving under only one form, the faithful receive the whole and entire Christ. That is not simply or solely Church law, it is the faith of the Church that Christ body and blood is present in both the consecrated forms of bread and wine.

  12. Eddie Finnegan

    Andy, I don’t think Fintan is being unrealistic at all. His comment is sound common sense, and he makes it clear that our approach to sharing the Eucharist in most Irish parishes stems from a local lack of will, even from a certain resistance, rather than from lack of instruction ‘from above’.

    Even for special ‘Croke Park occasions’ every eighty years or so, if the practice of intinction (reverential donking) of dipping the host in the chalice is good enough for cardinals, bishops and priests, why not for the rest of us? If that requires that the bread for the hosts is a little more substantial in texture,and not so paper thin in texture or taste, it might make for a more convincing sign of what we are doing.
    That might conflict with those who feel that reception of the host on the tongue is the only way to take the Eucharist.
    And of course, to return to Fr Cotter’s original point, the chalice alone should still be there, without fuss or apparent favour, for anyone who wishes it, whether or not they have a coeliac condition.

  13. Andy

    Eddie, you didn’t answer my question, particularly the most pressing – what would you do with the excess Precious Blood after Mass, bearing in mind it can’t be reserved? A practical question like this needs an answer.

  14. Eddie Finnegan

    Andy, so practical a question deserves two practical answers:
    (1) At a normal Sunday Mass or Saturday Vigil, the celebrating priest will have formed a pretty accurate estimate of how much wine is required to be brought out or brought forward at the Offertory, judging by the numbers present and the usual number of communicants at that Mass. He and the Extraordinary Minister/s will drink what, if any, Precious Blood remains in the chalice/s. I guess a certain period of trial and error will ensure that there is never enough remaining as to risk a positive breathyliser reading as Father N drives to his next Mass in his own or the neighbouring parish; similarly for the Extraordinary Minister on his/her drive home.

    (2) In forward planning for our next Eucharistic Congress in 2092, we may hope that the second legitimate mode of sharing the chalice is by then available to all God’s People. I mean ‘intinction’. I don’t know how many communicants can dip a host in a reasonably full chalice before the chalice is empty, but I’m sure those who organised the Dublin Congress will have a very accurate answer for you, and I’m sure the Philippine archbishop who hosts the 2016 Congress has already appointed a smart priest who will remember that figure. I’m sure you’ll agree that intinction for all is the surest mode of avoiding or reducing “excess Precious Blood after Mass”. Rest assured, though, that Msgr Jobsworth or some other German bishop already have their objections all spruced up and ready for launching.

  15. Ann Lardeur

    Andy – it is not a problem. Just as one has lots of ciboria, so you have lots of chalices – each person administering a chalice consumes the remains if there are any. I am a special minister of the eucharist; if it looks as if there is going to be a surplus some individuals realise and automatically comsume more than usual. If not I just whisper ‘drink some up’ to people can rely on not to be disturbed by the instruction. Ratio is usually 2 chalices to each ciborium because it takes longer to receive from a chalice and extend hands for the host.

  16. Ann Lardeur

    p.s. to earlier post:
    I have just realised ‘special minister of the eucharist’ may be something unfamiliar to some people. ‘Special Minister’ is shorthand for “Extra-ordinary Minister of the Eucharist”. Special ministers are lay people, meeting certain criteria such as being of good character, who are trained and then formally commissioned for this ministry. It means one assists the priest distribute communion at Mass (weekdays and Sundays as available) chalices and additional ciboria if necessary. We bless the young children who come up with their parents in exactly the same way as the priest. The commission includes taking Communion to the sick, the housebound and to people in hospitals. This is often done straight after Mass so the recipient is linked into the parish Mass. It also enables people to receive Communion on a Sunday.

  17. Diffal

    @Ann: I have great respect for and appreciation of the Role of Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion (EMHC), indeed I carry out this important ministry when necessary, but EMHC are neither commissioned nor allowed to bless people within a liturgical context (parents, other family members and indeed we as members of our wider Christian family have the great privilege of being able to bless people at all other non-liturgical times). Within the liturgy this role of blessing is part of the ministry of the ordained Priest or Deacon. I say this neither to accuse or denigrate but to highlight the fact that the role of EMHC has great intrinsic worth as an act of Christian service without trying to incorporate the roles which legitimately belong to others.

  18. Micheal O'Riain

    I have at least 20 years of celebrating Mass with Communion under both kinds at all Masses. I tend to err on the side of caution to prevent an excess left in the chalice at the end but people are sensible enough when asked to help consume any excess.
    I have tried ‘intinction’ but too often it became a mess. I don’t really want to elaborate on what that means. I don’t see how intinction will avoid an excess left over. In any case, Jesus said, “drink”, not “dip”. With regard to EMHC and children, here they say, “God give you peace and love”, or a variation of it. Is that a ‘blessing in a liturgical setting’? Or are we breaking a rule?

  19. Ann Lardeur

    Diffal,
    Our priests both permit and encourage – wording, with ciborium in hand is “May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and keep you in his love” said with other hand on head of child. Priest and Minister usually use same wording and gesture. We are all CRB checked because of taking Communion to the vulnerable. If Special Ministers with ciboria do not do it then there is chaos in the queues – people change sides to get the priest. Maybe you would consider it a prayer of blessing!

    Andy and Eddie, intinction is not allowed in England and Wales – Scotland may be different as they have their own hierarchy. I did receive communion by intinction in Jerusalem c. 1969. In main Catholic Church – it was still communion on the tongue but priest/deacon/?? dipped the host and placed in my mouth. I was quite surprised.
    By the way, Andy and Eddie, intinction is not permitted in England and Wales – I do not know about Scotland as they have their own hierarchy.

    As you say anyone can bless anyone at anytime. I could bless you even when you do not sneeze! One does not have to be commissioned at all to bless. Whether it has the same quality as blessing from priest only God knows – and of course one would not bless object, statue, rosary or whatever.

  20. Ann Lardeur

    On subject of blessings in liturgical celebrations; In Service of Liturgy of Word and Communion Introductory Rite the Leader pronouces the same words in prayer for forgiveness as priest uses for absolution at Mass. If God responds differently according to the person saying them I assume only God knows for certain.

    At the end of the service, and also that for house communions, there is a prayer of blessing. I do wonder if God is as concerned about the status of the person doing praying, pronoucing words of blessing as humans are. After all Jesus never produced the code of canon law; he told us that where people are gathered in his name he is amongst them.

    By the way EMHCs do not of themselves try “to incorporate roles which legitimately belong to others”. Well I know of none.

  21. Fintan J Power

    Andy raised the question about the disposal of the excess of Precious Blood after the distribution of Holy Communion to which both Eddie Flanagan and Ann Lardeur wrote of the practices in current use. However, there is another consideration; in the sacristy of most churches there is a vessel known as the sacrarium. It is a special sink. The drain opens into a pipe that bypasses the sewer and runs straight down into the earth. The sacrarium provides for the proper disposal of sacred substances. Most notably, after Mass the vessels which held the Body and Blood of Christ are rinsed and cleansed there. In this way any remaining particles of communion are washed into the earth. The sacrarium has also been used for the disposal of other substances: old baptismal water, leftover ashes, and last year’s holy oils. There was a time in history when the leftover consecrated wine was poured down the sacrarium. If the consecrated wine is ever spilled during the Mass, it is to be cleaned up with care. Accidents happen, and the instructions for Mass offer this procedure: The area should be washed, and the water poured down the sacrarium.
    The presence of the sacrarium shows our reverent care for holy things. When materials designated for a sacred purpose have completed their service, we honor them even in their disposal. By returning our sacred substances to the earth beneath the church building, we honour them, the ground over which we worship, and the God who created them and consecrated them to nourish our faith.
    (my thanks to Paul Turner for this explanation)
    The question was raised about the dritribution of both species in Scotland. As a frequent visitor to Aberdeen it has been my experience that communion under both species could be received at all masses, without exception: this means all weekend and Sunday masses and each daily mass. If they can do, it why can’t we?
    Churches in Iraq, before the war there, used to distribute the Precious Blood to the laity using small silver vessels which were about twice the size of a thimble. I have seen these in use in Ireland purely for Eucharistic Ministers: if they can have them, why can’t the rest of us? It is time for a change of attitude in the Irish church. It is time that priests and bishops included the faithful when sharing the Precious Blood.

  22. Ann Lardeur

    Thanks, Fintan, for all the information. Usual practice in most churches these days is that the Special Ministers cleanse the ciboria/pattern fragments by tipping them into one of the chalices, then rinsing with small amount of water and tipping that into the chalice and consuming the lot before returning to their place. Eucharist seems to be the only banquet where washing up takes place in front of the guests! Ideally purification should take place afterwards; I think it does where in v. large churches, cathedral celebrations etc. where there are many ministers with chalices. However, in our small village church it takes little time for the three of us to do the job.

    On chalice at every Mass, the only occasion when I can think of it not being available in our church was a funeral when the majority of the mourners were not Catholic,(presumably not church goers either) and the few parishioners attending were warned in advance about the decision to keep it simple. Some places stopped giving the chalice when flu was worried about but we never did.

  23. Eddie Finnegan

    Fintan, thanks for bringing this to a wider audience in the Irish Times’ Rite & Reason column. Well worth reproducing here. I see you got the usual selection of online ‘comments’. Alan Whelan has experienced a happier situation in his years in some English dioceses, but it’s by no means universal here even in Westminster. Most Irish parishes, as you suggest, just don’t want the bother. Curious that Shane (whom we all know and value on this site) is content to quote Church dogma of ‘one=both’ from an old Church council. True, Shane, but an extremely minimalist approach to sharing a meal in communion.

  24. Ann Lardeur

    Eddie – is there a link, please, connected to post 23 to help make sense of your response. If not, some background info would be good. Ann


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