Cannon Detention center to allow wine at Catholic Mass

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon

A temporary policy allowing the use of sacramental wine in Catholic Mass at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center is now the jail’s permanent policy.

A flare up this week over the use of wine during the celebration of Catholic Mass at the jail led to replacement of a chaplain, Monsignor Ed Lofton.

Lofton won’t be back at the jail, but Sheriff Al Cannon said Thursday that he would allow the use of wine at Mass on a temporary basis. Cannon said today that he’s decided to confirm that policy after consulting with the Diocese of Charleston.

In a statement, Diocese officials said they are satisfied with the policy and that they are “pleased this matter has been amicably resolved.”

They added, however, “it is unfortunate that this matter was not resolved privately.” The Diocese “has always enjoyed a positive relationship with federal, state and local correctional and detention facilities in its prison ministry which includes the celebration of Mass for inmates. In that celebration, the presence of wine is essential,” the statement reads.

Lofton said this week after being “fired” by the jail that he was the target of a civil-rights violation. One of 86 volunteer chaplains, he demanded to continue using one ounce of wine for himself during Mass at the jail, something he has done for 15 years, he said.