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 The following article was published in the Summer 2000 issue of The Journal.

Rockhampton Diocesan Guidelines for 
Eucharistic Sharing

In May 1998 Guidelines for Eucharistic Sharing in the Catholic Church were prepared by the Ecumenical Commission of the Diocese of Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, and these have been issued for use in the diocese. The 8-page document points out that “ever since Vatican II there has been significant development in the Catholic Church’s position as it has responded to pastoral needs of people in particular circumstances”. It introduces the 1993 Ecumenical Directory from Rome, and gives in brief but clear compass some of the explanations of eucharistic sharing to be found in paras.122-136. It speaks of “difficult and painful situations”, and notes that “this is particularly true for couples in a marriage where both spouses are committed to their respective traditions”. The last two pages are devoted to the diocesan guidelines themselves, and we give them in full.

Guidelines

The Eucahrist is both the summit and the source of Christian life. The Catholic Church has traditionally emphasised the Eucharist principally as a sign of unity among its members.

To assist priests and others involved in pastoral work in the Diocese of Rockhampton, the following guidelines are offered:

Full intercommunion remains a goal to be achieved. In the context of preparing for eucharistic celebrations the practice of non-communicants coming forward to receive an acknowledgment of Christ’s love can be explained and encouraged.

Out of respect for all present, ecumenical services in Catholic churches are currently better planned on a non-eucharistic basis.

Communicant members of other traditions who manifest Catholic belief in the Eucharist, and who wish to receive Communion, may do so on certain occasions.

Such occasions for individual decision making may include:

a) celebrations of Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion
b) Nuptial Masses
c) Funeral Masses
d) special Eucharistic celebrations.

The Directory on Ecumenism recognises the special needs of those in a Marriage where both spouses are faithful to their religious duties in their respective churches (pars 145-151).

Such spouses who are experiencing a pressing need to receive Communion whenever accompanying the family to Mass can request admission to the Eucharist. This request is ordinarily made to the Parish Priest, but in exceptional cases can be referred to the Bishop or Vicar General.

If, prior to a Eucharistic celebration, the question arises regarding reception of Communion, any response should indicate clearly the teaching and practice of the Church.

An explicit prohibition on receiving Communion should not be given publicly on occasions such as Marriages, Baptisms, First Communion, Confirmations and Funeral Masses, when Christians of other traditions may be attending.

Neither should an explicit invitation to all be given publicly on these occasions.

Persons presenting themselves for Communion at the time of distribution should never be refused. Such persons can be considered to be acting in good faith.