In November 2015, Pope Francis called on theologians to explore whether normal Catholic practice should be changed to allow Christians, belonging to other churches, to share fully at the table when they take part in a eucharist celebrated by Catholics. Thomas O'Loughlin provides his contribution to that challenge in this volume. He argues that the various ways of thinking about what we are doing in the liturgy should lead us to see intercommunion as enhancing our participation in the mystery of the church and the mystery we celebrate.
Thomas O'Loughlin is professor of historical theology at the University of Nottingham, UK. He uses the tools of the historian to look afresh at how we ask and answer theological problems. O'Loughlin was elected president of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain in 2016. He is the author of The Rites and Wrongs of Liturgy: Why Good Liturgy Matters and Washing Feet: Imitating the Example of Jesus in Liturgy Today, both from Liturgical Press.
"In this engagingly written book, Thomas O'Loughlin conducts a compelling theological exploration of a persistent and unresolved question in pastoral life. A series of reflections on what it means for Christians to `eat together' at the eucharist draw with equal poise on canon law, profound readings of scripture, and the experience of parish life. Both systematic teaching and challenge, they lead readers of all Churches to reimagine local reality, and live it differently, in the light of the imperatives of the kingdom."
Bridget Nichols, Lecturer in Anglicanism & Liturgy, Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Dublin
"Do not be deceived. This book is about a lot more than eucharistic sharing among Christians. It is indeed about sharing communion, but O'Loughlin also provides excellent ecumenical and Eucharistic theology to back up his bold proposals for Catholic eucharistic hospitality. We desperately need this kind of forward-looking thinking today. I recommend it highly to pastoral ministers, theologians and ministerial students—in fact to anyone concerned with the issue of eucharistic sharing."
John F. Baldovin, SJ, Professor of Historical and Liturgical Theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
"O'Loughlin's book is a challenge to read, for it addresses an issue that so many experience as a source of pain, particularly within the context of marriage. This new book is a significant response to Pope Francis' request to theologians to ask questions. It is well worth reading."
Association of Catholic Priests
"In his usual eminently readable style, Thomas O'Loughlin presents forceful arguments on why Christians from different churches should share in communion with one another as they journey together that challenge all to serious reflection."
Paul F. Bradshaw, Emeritus Professor of Liturgy, University of Notre Dame
"Development in doctrine or ecclesial practice is a fact throughout the history of the Catholic Church. Often such changes have come about through taking a fresh perspective on a particular issue. In this carefully argued book, Thomas O'Loughlin presents a compelling case for change in Catholic practice regarding eucharistic hospitality. O'Loughlin writes as a historian, theologian, liturgist, and pastor; but it is above all his pastoral perspective that gives his call for change such cogency and urgency."
Ormond Rush, author of The Vision of Vatican II: Its Fundamental Principles