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EUCHARISTIC SHARING FOR INTERCHURCH FAMILIES

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC POSITION IN OUTLINE

The documents:

Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism 1964
Code of Canon Law 1983
Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism 1993
Encyclical Ut Unum Sint, 1995
Common Declaration of Pope John Paul Il and the Archbishop of Canterbury 1996

Eucharistic sharing is NOT ONLY PERMITTED BUT POSITIVELY COMMENDED

in certain circumstances of serious spiritual need (Code, Directory)
of great desire (UUS)
by way of exception in particular cases
under certain conditions

What are the CIRCUMSTANCES where there may be serious need /great desire?

those in danger of death (Code)
those who share the sacraments of baptism and marriage (couple/family need added by Directory)
bishops can identify others

By way of exception in certain CASES

always applies to particular cases
pastoral application to particular people

(RC tradition of epikeia and other pastoral principles)

Under certain CONDITIONS

cannot ask own minister for communion
there must be a request
manifest Catholic faith in the eucharist
be properly disposed

WHO IS TO DECIDE on admission?

Episcopal Conferences/diocesan bishops are to prepare guidelines (after consultation with other churches)
Catholic minister decides in particular cases (in accordance with bishops' guidelines or the Directory where there are none)

SOME APPLICATIONS OF THE CODE AND THE DIRECTORY

The French Bishops, 1983 (following the Code)
The Archbishop of Brisbane's Pastoral Guidelines, 1995 (following the Directory)
The German Bishops' Ecumenical Commission, 1997 (repeated in Austria by the Archbishop of Vienna for his archdiocese, 1997)
The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference: Ecumenical Directory, 2003