There will be an International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin this June that features what organizers are referring to as “a unique element” of ecumenism. Eucharistic Congresses were established by the Roman Catholic Church to celebrate the doctrine of Christ’s continued sacramental presence in the Church; this year’s event will recognize the extent to which non-Roman Catholic Christian groups share this understanding. According to the Eucharistic Congress’s website:
Most Rev Michael Jackson, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin will celebrate a Liturgy of Word and Water. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of the Russian Orthodox Church will preach the homily. Brother Alois Löser, Prior of Taizé, will give a catechesis on Baptism.
Speaking at the launch of the ecumenical programme, Father Kevin Doran, Secretary General in IEC2012 said: “These concrete expressions of our communion can help to place more focus on the unity which we already have as Christians.”
Many Christian subgroups either discourage or forbid “intercommunion,” the practice of receiving the elements of Christ’s sacramental presence in the services of other denominations. The idea behind the ban is to preserve the integrity of a particular denomination’s specific teachings on ecclesiology and sacramental theology. My own group, the U.S. Episcopal Church, generally encourages intercommunion, and I agree with that policy; but one need not agree with intercommunion to realize that the underlying unity of Christian beliefs on these questions is powerful and significant, and deserves the gratitude of all believers.
Many thanks to the Traditionalist Catholic website Rorate Caeli for reporting this highly welcome development.