Politicians should not be Eucharistic Ministers

Dear Editor, I write in response to the controversy created by Derek Keating TD and his position as Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist.

Within the Catholic Church there is a ban on clergy becoming involved in party political activities.  

This is because such activity would be likely to be divisive within the community. A major role of clergy is to proclaim the Word of God and explain its implications for ‘the common good’ by for example expounding Church teaching on social matters.

Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are in a somewhat similar situation and should not be a source of disunity as they administer the sacrament.   

Last weekend Derek Keating TD made much of the fact that he has been asked to stand down as a Eucharistic Minister. In my opinion he should have been able to work out for himself that an active politician should not be a Eucharistic Minister.

Being a Eucharistic Minister is a privilege and no one should feel it is their entitlement. If anyone feels that their behaviour might cause conflict at the altar then surely the right thing to do is to stand down and take a less visible role within their parish.

In my own situation I left my former political party when it became almost totally pro-abortion.   

Interestingly Derek Keating remains happy to be in a political party that ‘excommunicated’ long standing TDs who could not accept their party’s abandonment of its long standing anti-abortion policy.

His present outrage is misdirected and smacks of double standards.

Yours etc.,

Alan Whelan,


Co Kerry.