CNA Staff, Jan 28, 2021 / 06:30 am
A Vatican cardinal has expressed “astonishment” at a statement by a group of Protestant and Catholic theologians in Germany.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, made the comment in response to a declaration by the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians (known by its German acronym, ÖAK).
The ÖAK published the 26-page statement on Jan. 24 in response to a critical assessment of the group’s proposal for a “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality” between Catholics and Protestants by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Koch told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, that he was surprised by the tone and choice of words in the statement, as well as its content and timing.
The Swiss cardinal also questioned whether the statement’s authors were sincere in their call for further discussions with Rome.
“After more than 20 pages have been devoted to showing that in fact none of the requests made by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the ÖAK’s document are justified, one wonders how seriously the willingness expressed at the end by the authors of the statement to engage in further discussions is really meant,” he said.
The CDF raised concerns last September about a 2019 document prepared by the ÖAK entitled “Together at the Lord’s Table,” which envisaged a “Eucharistic meal fellowship” between Catholics and Protestants.
In a letter to Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, the CDF said that the proposal did not do justice to the Catholic understanding of the Church, the Eucharist, and Holy Orders.