THE Catholic bishops of England and Wales have stood by the Church's policy of not admitting non-Catholics to communion in a statement published in Briefing last week.
The statement, jointly issued by the Committee for Christian Unity and the Theology Committee says that "indiscriminate admission to Holy Communion" does not promote Christian unity or keep "good order" in the Church.
It also follows reports of "anger and concern" at the "Not Strangers but Pilgrims" regional ecumenical conferences over the inability of Christians to inter-communicate at the events.
Canon Derek Palmer, Associate Secretary to the Not Strangers but Pilgrims conferences spoke of "the very strong feelings on both sides that at a unity conference Christians were not able to receive communion at a Catholic service."
Canon Palmer also mentioned the plans made for worship at the approaching Swanwick conference which will attract over 400 church leaders.
"At Swanwick Mass will be the main event and we have laid on blessings for non-Catholics who approach the altar," he said.
The statement from the Bishops' Conference warns that the Eucharist does not belong to us but to Christ and asserts that Eucharistic sharing presupposes total consensus on issues such as the nature of the Church, the ministry and the sacraments.
It goes on to mention "certain cases" where a non-Catholic may be admitted to communion as laid out by Canon 844. This states that the danger of death without recourse to non Catholic communion and other such "grave and pressing" needs may, with the permission of the appropriate authorities, warrant admission to communion.