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Magnificat Meal Movement

Magnificat Meal Movement

Q: What is the Catholic Church's stand on the movement in Australia known as Mary's Magnificat Meal?

A: We have received the letters of Bishop William Morris, the ordinary responsible for the diocese of Toowoomba, Queensland, concerning the Magnificat Meal movement. The most recent published letter is dated October 27, 1998 and follows here.


Under ordinary conditions, priests in Australia are generally presumed to have faculties to administer the sacraments anywhere in Australia within the framework of the Catholic Church. Exceptions to this occur where there has been a specific direction by any Bishop, within his diocese in some way limiting those faculties or by virtue of a limitation indicated in the Code of Canon Law.

I have twice made public statements that the Magnificat Meal Movement is not a movement of the Catholic Church. Neither I, nor any other Bishop in the world, can grant to any cleric the faculties to preach or administer the sacraments for any group which is not a recognized movement of the Catholic Church, nor give permission for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament.

The only legitimate clergyman in the Catholic parish of Helidon is Father John Ryan or someone who legitimately replaces him. Anyone else intending to minister in the parish must have my direct permission, or permission arranged through Father Ryan. For some time now, there have been no such requests for clergy visiting the Magnificat Meal Movement premises. The Magnificat Meal Movement has no right to dictate to the parish of Helidon how to celebrate any Sacramental Rite or Eucharistic Celebration nor does it have permission from myself or any other Bishop, including Bishop Issam Darwish, to reserve the Blessed Sacrament on its premises, or in any private residence.

To my knowledge, the parish of Helidon always follows liturgical rites as set down in the Roman Missal or the Roman Ritual: Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. Given its public statements and actions, there is some considerable doubt as to whether the Magnificat Meal Movement is a genuine Christian movement. However, if the Magnificat Meal Movement wished still to become a recognized movement within the Catholic Church, the means are always there for it to do so.

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