CNA Staff, Feb 26, 2021 / 04:00 am
The president of the German Catholic bishops’ conference said on Thursday that he would continue to give Holy Communion to Protestants who ask for it.
Bishop Georg Bätzing told journalists at a press conference on Feb. 25 that it was necessary to respect the “personal decision of conscience” of those seeking to receive Communion.
CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that Bätzing was responding to a question about a controversial proposal for a “Eucharistic meal fellowship” between Catholics and Protestants.
The proposal was made by the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians (known by its German initials, ÖAK) in a 2019 document entitled “Together at the Lord’s Table.”
The ÖAK adopted the text under the co-chairmanship of Bätzing and the retired Lutheran Bishop Martin Hein.
Asked how he would respond if a Protestant came to him seeking the Eucharist, he told reporters: “I have no problems with it and I see myself in line with papal documents.”
The 59-year-old bishop added that this was already a “practice” in Germany “every Sunday” and that priests in his Diocese of Limburg would not face negative consequences if a case were reported to him.
He underlined that one should not “simply invite everyone.” But while a general invitation to receive the Eucharist was not permitted, he said it was important to show “respect for the personal decision of conscience of the individual” seeking Communion.