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Roman Catholic priests can choose to offer chalice from Maundy Thursday

09 March 2023

Communion in both kinds for the first time since Covid restrictions were introduced

ROMAN CATHOLIC priests in England and Wales will be able to administer holy communion in both kinds this Easter, for the first time since Covid restrictions were introduced.

Parishes will be able to decide whether communicants are offered the chalice from Maundy Thursday this year, after a decision made by their bishops, The Tablet reported on Thursday of last week.

In an ad clerum in the archdiocese of Westminster, the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, the Rt Revd John Sherrington, wrote: “The period leading up to Holy Thursday presents an opportunity for appropriate catechesis of the faithful regarding the significance of the reception of Holy Communion under either or both species.”

The restriction on administering the chalice to the faithful was kept in place after the Government lifted all Covid-19 regulations in January last year.

In May, the Church of England updated its guidance to say that communion could be offered in both kinds “unless there are clear and objective reasons not to” (News, 9 May 2022).

At the time, a Church House spokesman emphasised that the C of E’s position was that both the consecrated bread and wine should be offered to communicants, but that communion in one kind was permissible in exceptional circumstances.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that receiving in both kinds is a “fuller sign” of the eucharist.

Catholic churches that adhere to the Eastern Rite, such as the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, did not offer communion in one kind during the pandemic. The Tablet quoted a chaplain of the Melkite Church, Canon Robert Gibbons, who welcomed the shift in policy by RC bishops. “We rejoice to be fully participating in this great sacrament,” he said.

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