2020 Catholic Press Association first place award, ecumenism or interfaith relations
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.
Learn more and watch Professor Tom O'Loughlin's interview with the Aqueduct Project, discussing Eating Together, Becoming One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ySkMzHtkMU
“This book draws on different disciplines, including theology, history, and sociology, as well as pastoral practice, and in so doing presents a comprehensive examination of 21st century discussions surrounding this historically toxic question, which has divided Catholics and other Christian denominations for 500 years.”
"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
"O'Loughlin's book is written in a popular style, light on academic baggage, but it's seriousness as a theological contribution should not be judged by that."
Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal
"O'Loughlin adopts a systematic approach. He brings together historical appreciation, Biblical scholarship, anthropological perception, and liturgical insight in seeking an answer to the question: 'who is welcome at the Eucharistic table?' For anyone who seeks to walk an ecumenical path, anyone confronted by disunity among Christians, anyone who takes seriously the call for unity among God's people, this is an important book.”
"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
“O’Loughlin is both an excellent lecturer and a very engaging writer. He writes with authority as an historian, theologian, and liturgist, but above all else from a pastoral perspective. I found his exposition of ‘the grammar of meals’ a very useful reflection.”
"There will be diverse positions on this; but they must address the sacramental theology put forward in this book. I can only say that I cannot recall any other book which has enriched my appreciation of the Eucharist as much. It is also vital for the mission of the church, to which our divisions are an obstacle."
"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
"This new book is a significant response to Pope Francis' request to theologians to ask questions. It is well worth reading."
"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
"Read this book; It could change your life. I know it has mine, for it made me pray."
Revd. Canon Brendan O'Malley
"The book presents a series of reflections exploring the theological, liturgical, and pastoral issues related to the question (of intercommunion). In his conclusion, O’Loughlin asks how we can in good conscience ‘exclude any member of the (baptized) Spirit-formed family from full participation in the very activity for which the Spirit has transformed us?’ (155). His book is recommended for academic and parish libraries and for all those with pastoral concerns about the appropriate answer to this question."
Catholic Library World
"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
“An excellent and thoughtful book.”
"The author provides readers with a sound and generous invitation to understand that the Eucharist is both the summit and satisfaction of healthy human desire, and essential food for the human journey. It needs to be available to all who seek Christ.”
Tui Motu InterIslands