Catholic school Mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Would appreciate your take on the liturgical aspects of the below story which details a Catholic school Mass attended by various non-Catholic students at which an Anglican priest distributes ‘communion’ to the non-Catholic students.  Again, this takes place during a Catholic school Mass.

The author handles the canonical issues presented but I’d appreciate your take on the liturgical issues, e.g. should the Anglican priest vest, should he be in the sanctuary, should he concelebrate, should the Anglican hosts be kept inside the Catholic tabernacle, etc. ?  What if the kids become confused and get into the wrong Communion line?

Liked your answer to the pastor who wanted to proclaim the Gospel instead of his deacon.  Evidently he hadn’t remembered Sacrocanctum Concilium No. 28.  Keep up the good work; you are a blessing to us all!

Canon Law Made Easy just published a new post named “Catholic Schools With Non-Catholic Students.”  Check it out!  You can view the full article here:


A: Thanks for your comments on my blog.

Your question is about the liturgical aspects of the practice, so I’ll bypass the canonical and ecumenical ones.
This example provides more evidence that many Catholics—even those in positions of authority—have a fundamental misunderstanding about the integrity and interdependence of different parts of the Mass, especially those of sacrifice and communion. I treated this in my book Whose Mass Is It? and in my booklet My Sacrifice and Yours.

GIRM 85 pleads that the faithful receive communion from the sacrifice actually being celebrated. Representatives of the faithful bring bread and wine to the altar, where they are consecrated and returned to the people who made the offering. Every time that Catholics practice such customs as receiving communion from the tabernacle during Mass and expecting the blessing of non-communicants in the communion line, they are tearing away at the fabric of the eucharist.

To think that having an Anglican minister simultaneously distribute communion from a totally different Christian worship service is somehow acceptable practice for the Eucharist is to reduce ecumenism to tokenism and to misunderstand the direct relationship between the offering that the People of God have made and the communion that they are to share. Far from being welcoming and inclusionary, it excludes everyone from experiencing Catholic liturgy in its fullness.

Your specific questions ask for proper procedures for this practice. The proper procedure is for it to stop.