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Dublin cardinal defends chaplain's eucharist request

Cardinal Desmond Connell defended a school chaplain who asked irregular attenders at Mass not to receive the Eucharist, the Irish Times reported on Wednesday.

Dublin's archbishop said that Fr Martin Hughes was "simply implementing the discipline of the Church" when he made his request.

Fr Hughes, chaplain at St Mac Dara's Community College in Templeogue, told the mixed congregation at a recent graduation Mass for Leaving Certificate students and their families that, out of respect for the Eucharist, those who did not attend Mass regularly should not receive the sacrament.

He invited anyone who wished to do so to approach the altar with a hand across the chest for a blessing.

Some of those in attendance were angered by what he said. A school board meeting demanded that the priest give it a written account of what he said.

On Tuesday, the cardinal referred to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians to underline the Church's teaching that people must be "properly disposed" before receiving the Eucharist.

Cllr Stanley Laing, a member of the St Mac Dara school board and a Presbyterian, said that as "a believing Christian" he was "most disappointed" at what Fr Hughes said.

Methodist minister Nigel Mackey, however, defended the priest, who he said was giving people "the freedom not to accept. There were people there who do not believe what the [Catholic] Church holds [on the Eucharist]. I admire him for that."

Zenit/Irish Times