✣ Vatican rejects German Communion plan

What happened?

The Vatican rejected the German bishops’ proposal to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Communion. The decision was announced in a letter, approved by the Pope, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Canon law, which has been criticised as too vague, allows Protestants to receive Communion in “grave circumstances”, if they hold Catholic beliefs on the Eucharist. The German bishops had hoped to apply this to those in “spiritual distress”.

What German bishops

Bishop Gerhard Feige, who leads the German bishops’ ecumenism commission, said that the Vatican’s “incomprehensible” decision had inflicted “wounds”.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a close adviser to Pope Francis, had been the most prominent figure pushing for change. He said he was “surprised” by the Vatican’s decision.

Cardinal Walter Kasper said he was “angry” that the Vatican letter had been leaked, and that it was odd to find some German bishops disagreeing with the extension of Communion to Protestants: “There already is a widespread practice of non-Catholic spouses, who consider themselves serious Christians, stepping up to Communion, without any bishops, who after all know of this practice, thus far voicing concerns,” he said.

​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