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  • Largest Catholic teaching order reduces role in education

The Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic teaching order, have been to the forefront of education in Ireland for two centuries. The Brothers have announced their withdrawal from direct involvement in over 29 primary and 109 secondary schools which will be transferred to a charity staffed entirely by lay people. The move has been precipitated by declining vocations but it also comes after a difficult decade in which some members of the order have been convicted of sexual abuse in its institutions.

  • Controversy about concelebration of Holy Communion

A concelebration of Holy Communion involving Roman Catholic priests and a Protestant clergyman took place at the Roman Catholic Augustinian priory in Drogheda on April 16th. The occurrence was reported and debated in the Irish media. The main clergy involved were the Roman Catholic priest Fr. Iggy O’Donovan and the local Protestant (Church of Ireland) rector the Revd. Michael Graham. Fr. Iggy is reported as saying in his homily that this celebration of communion was an historic event: the first joint public celebration in Drogheda of the Eucharist by a priest of the Anglican tradition in a catholic church of the Roman tradition since the Reformation. Fr. Iggy has been criticized for his action by some other senior Catholic clergy. The Catholic hierarchy initiated an investigation into the incident. Father O’Donovan later issued an apology and promised to adhere to Church liturgical guidelines in the future. The Protestant (Church of Ireland) Archbishop Robin Eames said he was concerned about the implications for ecumenical relationships and that “Unfortunately, such occasions while well intentioned can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations”. The Revd. Graham in a statement denied his actions were an act of rebellion or deliberate defiance but a reflection of a shared understanding with Fr. Iggy of what the Eucharist meant to them.

D 14 December 2006   

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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