Ireland's second most senior Roman Catholic leader, Archbishop Desmond Connell, has ignited a controversy over inter-communion only days before going to Rome to be made a cardinal.
In an interview with the Sunday Business Post published on February 18, Connell, who is Archbishop of Dublin, complained about Catholics taking communion in Anglican churches. He said that by allowing Catholics to receive communion at its services, the (Anglican) Church of Ireland was not respecting the faith and obligations of Roman Catholics.
Stating Vatican policy on intercommunion, he explained: "For Catholics, when we receive holy communion, it is a statement that we are in full communion with those people with whom we are taking communion.
"But our communion with the Church of Ireland and other Protestants is incomplete because we do not have the same faith about, for example, the Eucharist."
His Anglican counterpart, Archbishop Walton Empey, of Dublin, expressed sadness that the joyful occasion of Archbishop Connell's elevation to the College of Cardinals was being marred by acrimony.
He told the RTE broadcasting network: "At times like this, I feel that Jesus is weeping and the Devil is doing a dance.
"When I go to a Roman Catholic church, I respect that tradition that we do not come forward for communion. But when we are in our own Church of Ireland churches, then I have to ask them to respect our position on that matter."
Valerie Jones, spokeswoman for Archbishop Empey, told ENI: "We are a small church - about 75,000 members - in mainly Roman Catholic Ireland, and we are very careful about how we word our invitation to take communion."
She explained that it was customary at every Church of Ireland service to invite all attenders to take communion ...