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‘Ecumenical Mass’ rumours are ‘utterly false’, Vatican says

Pope Francis at a consistory to name new cardinals (Getty)

The Vatican has denied rumours that a secret commission is creating an ‘ecumenical Mass’ that would allow joint Communion between Catholics and Protestants.

Greg Burke, director of the Holy See press office, and Archbishop Arthur Roche, the second highest-ranking official in the Congregation for Divine Worship, both strongly denied the reports after days of speculation.

Archbishop Roche told journalist Christopher Lamb that the rumours were “utterly false”, while Mr Burke said they were “simply not true”.

The denials came after a report by Marco Tosatti in First Things quoted anonymous sources who said a commission was looking at creating an “ecumenical Mass”. Tosatti added that Cardinal Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, had not been informed of the plans.

Last week, the Australian asked the Vatican about the rumours but did not receive a response. The paper added that the Mass would supposedly include prayers, readings from scripture and a common Communion, but the Catholic and Protestant clergy would pray the words of consecration silently.

The rumours also prompted German Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki to say such a Mass would be theologically impossible. An ecumenical Mass would have “no basis”, he said, because Catholics and Protestants “do not agree on the central issues”.

On Friday, Andrea Grillo, who had been named as one of the people on the commission, denied any involvement. He told the Catholic Herald: “Regarding the ‘rumours’, I wish to insist that I am not part of any Vatican commission. I teach, study and publish: these are my only activities.”