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, strongly denied the reports after days of speculation.

Archbishop Roche told the Tablet that the rumours were “utterly false”, while Mr Burke said they were “simply not true”. The denials came after a First Things report quoted anonymous sources who said a commission was looking to create an “ecumenical Mass”.

It 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 that Catholic and Protestant clergy would pray the words of consecration silently.

The rumours 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”. Last week Andrea Grillo, an Italian theologian who had been named as one of those on the commission, denied any involvement. He said: “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.”

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection