CNA Staff, Feb 10, 2021 / 09:00 am
A Vatican cardinal has responded to a German theologian who criticized him for opposing a proposal for a “Eucharistic meal fellowship” between Catholics and Protestants.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, answered the criticisms in an open letter dated Feb. 8.
The six-page letter was addressed to Volker Leppin, a professor of Church history at the University of Tübingen and academic director of the Protestant part of the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians (known by its German initials, ÖAK.)
In a Feb. 3 interview with katholisch.de, the website of the Catholic Church in Germany, Leppin lamented what he called the cardinal’s “brusque dismissal” of a 26-page statement issued by the ÖAK on Jan. 24.
Koch told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, last month that he was surprised by the tone and choice of words in the statement, as well as its content and timing.
In their statement, ÖAK theologians contested 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).
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.
The study found “the practice of mutual participation at the celebrations of the Holy Communion/Eucharist, respecting each other’s liturgical traditions, to be theologically well-founded.”