Anglicans to Urge Catholics to End Communion Ban

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LONDON, MAR. 18, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Anglican bishops are expected to call on the Catholic Church to relax rules that prevent Anglicans from taking Communion, the Sunday Times reported.



Church of England officials say a document, to be issued this week, "The Eucharist: Sacrament of Unity," will offer "a courteous but robust response" to "One Bread, One Body," which was issued jointly by Catholic bishops in Britain and Ireland in 1998.

A committee of Catholic bishops chaired by Cormac Murphy-O´Connor, now the cardinal archbishop of Westminster, drew up the document, which decreed that other denominations could receive the sacrament from Catholic priests only "if there is a danger of death or if there is some other great and pressing need."

It said that the Eucharist, as the central act of Christian worship, "is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church." The Church of England´s policy of "eucharistic hospitality," by contrast, allows non-Anglicans to take communion in its churches.

Catholic Bishop Peter Smith of East Anglia said: "The way the Anglicans respond is important because the Eucharist is at the heart of what we believe. Only those who are at one with us in the teaching and discipline of the Church should receive holy Communion, otherwise we are fudging the issue."

See http://www.tasc.ac.uk/cc/cn/98/980930a.htm for the Catholic document on the Eucharist.