ARCIC3 co-chair Abp. Longley: Vatican’s rules on eucharistic sharing could be further relaxed

The Roman Catholic Co-Chair of the Third Anglican/Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) has expressed his personal view that, seeing how in 1993 certain relaxations were made in the Vatican’s rules on eucharistic sharing, further relaxation is possible.

Affirming that a further relaxation in the Vatican’s regulations “could happen”, the Archbishop added, however, that he “wouldn’t like to predict the rate or the pace of change towards that.”




  1. The article is entirely silent about what strictures were relaxed in 1993, but if we’re to go off the document itself there are vanishingly few situations where Eucharistic sharing can take place:

    131. The conditions under which a Catholic minister may administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, of penance and of the anointing of the sick to a baptized person who may be found in the circumstances given above (n. 130 [presumably “In case of danger of death”]) are that the person be unable to have recourse for the sacrament desired to a minister of his or her own Church or ecclesial Community, ask for the sacrament of his or her own initiative, manifest Catholic faith in this sacrament and be properly disposed.

    Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, paragraphs 130-131.

    Question: Have any of the priests on this site administered a sacrament to a non-Catholic meeting these criteria (“Danger of death”, “unable to have recourse”, and “manifest Catholic faith”, etc.)?

  2. I am acquainted with some interchurch couples who, at the recommendation of their priest and with the consent of the Bishop are allowed to receive Holy Communion together in a Catholic Mass

    On this topic see :

    I also knew a retired High Anglican missionary (now deceased) who spent her last years in a Catholic convent retirement home whose chaplain, the local pp, ruled that she should, as she wished, receive Holy Communion at the daily Mass with the Sisters and patients of that Catholic community.

  3. … the local parish which at its annual Mass for the Sick anoints all who present themselves and makes the invitation to be anointed explicit … “All who wish to be anointed should just ask the priest as he approaches your pew.”

  4. @Francesco Poggesi – comment #1:

    While paragraph 130 begins with those in danger of death, it goes on to talk about “other cases”, norms established by bishops, and the directory itself. Danger of death cannot be counted as a necessary criterion, though it may be an important consideration.

    I think your question is consequently the wrong way round. Have any of the priests on this site NOT administered a sacrament to a non-Catholic meeting these criteria (“unable to have recourse”, and “manifest Catholic faith”, etc.)?

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #4:

      The “other cases” are to be identified by the general norms established by diocesan bishops, and it seems those cases are restricted to other extraordinary circumstances:

      In other cases, it is strongly recommended that the diocesan Bishop, taking into account any norms which may have been established for this matter by the Episcopal Conference or by the Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches, establish general norms for judging situations of grave and pressing need and for verifying the conditions mentioned below (n. 131).

      (from paragraph 130, emphasis added).

      I think our questions are fundamentally different. Mine is about the rules being followed (i.e. have these rules been put to practice out there?) while yours (as I read it) is about the rules being disobeyed (i.e. the rules say “go” but father said “no”.).

      1. @Francesco Poggesi – comment #5:

        If you look at the link from Mary Wood above, you will see they identify the marriage of people from different Churches as creating a serious spiritual need. If the bishop has established that as a norm, then husband and wife may receive together if the minister establishes that the other criteria are met.

        And you are right. (almost) Your question asks if your particular interpretation of these rules is being obeyed. Mine asks if Eucharistic practice is done to build up the Church. Christianity is not about obeying rules, so your question seems a little off to me. Mine is asking how priests address the spiritual needs of the community, which is the point of the Directory to begin with.

      2. @Jim McKay – comment #6:

        “Mine asks if Eucharistic practice is done to build up the Church… Mine is asking how priests address the spiritual needs of the community…”

        It may be that I don’t have eyes, but I can’t see that in your question. As written it imagines a baptized non-Catholic (known to have expressed a Catholic faith, far from any church he would consider his own) asking a Catholic priest to minister to him and having that request rejected.

        Did you mean to ask something like: “Have any of the priests on this site administered a sacrament to a non-Catholic NOT meeting these criteria?”

        Just a day or so ago there was a post on this site about a group of Methodists receiving communion at a Catholic church.

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