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Catholic Priest Withdraws from Interfaith Service; Protestants, Rabbi Participate

An interfaith baccalaureate service for the Pleasantville High School graduating class scheduled to be held in the school auditorium June 25 was cancelled here because of the withdrawal of a Catholic priest who–together with a rabbi and a Protestant Minister–was to have addressed the class. Such interfaith services for the graduating class have been held here for the last 35 years.

Following the announcement of the cancellation, four Protestant ministers and Rabbi Solomon Kaplan of Mount Kisco, N.Y., said that a baccalaureate service would be held on June 27 in a local Protestant Episcopal church. The Catholic priest explained that under canon law, Catholic students may not take part in a non-Catholic religious ceremony. A similar situation developed last week in Somers, N.Y. However, the case ended there in a compromise, with some religious phases of the baccalaureate service eliminated and the Catholic priest consenting to participate.