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Priest speaks out on rights and needs of faithful Catholics

The consequences for a parishioner of the Vatican's banning of gluten-free communion wafers has caused a Sydney priest to publicly criticise what he calls the "non-consultative" style of leadership in the Church.

Fr John Crothers of Penshurst in southern Sydney, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the leadership in the Archdiocese has become "exclusive and inflexible", and has led to an "us and them" mentality that is manifest in low priest morale and alienation felt by many parishioners.

He told the paper that the "final straw" came when he had to inform a devastated parishioner suffering from chronic coeliac disease that she would no longer be able to receive Holy Communion. The Vatican has instructed all manufacturers and suppliers of gluten-free hosts to cease production and distribution of them.

Fr Crothers initially published his reflections last week in an article for the journal Online Catholics.

National Council of Priests president Fr Hal Ranger told the Herald: "We'll do everything we can do to ensure justice."

Priest dares to call Cardinal Pell inflexible (Sydney Morning Herald 23/8/04)

Fr John Crothers: It's time to take a stand (Online Catholics)
Wheatless wafer, no communion (Courier-Mail 20/8/04)
The Forum: Invalid Communion in New Jersey: Analysis (Catholic World News 20/8/04)
Trenton diocese invalidates girl's first Communion because of use of substitute wafer (Catholic News Agency 20/8/04)
Girl's First Communion Nixed Over Wheat-Free Wafer (Associated Press/ 12/8/04)
Assurance on communion wafers from Liturgical Commission head (CathNews 20/8/04)
Health alert over new formula communion hosts (CathNews 18/8/04)
McDonald's can teach churches about welcome says UK cleric (Ecumenical News International 20/8/04)

23 Aug 2004