CNA Staff, Mar 16, 2021 / 13:00 pm
Catholics and Protestants in Germany announced on Tuesday that they would press ahead with intercommunion at an event in May despite Vatican objections.
In a March 16 press release, organizers of the third Ecumenical Church Congress (ÖKT) in Frankfurt said that they planned to invite Christians to attend celebrations “in many churches” both in the city and across Germany on May 15.
According to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, they said: “Christians of all denominations have the opportunity on this evening to come and enter, to get to know different traditions and -- following their own conscience -- to celebrate the living memory of Jesus Christ.”
“The signal should go out from Frankfurt to continue to seek ecumenical togetherness, in everyday life and in the mutual visit of congregations.”
Thomas Sternberg, president of the influential Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), was quoted in the press release as saying that any baptized Christians could make a “decision of conscience” to partake of the celebrations, based on a statement of “Common Witness” adopted in the fall of 2020 by the ÖKT’s leadership.
“The doors are open,” said Sternberg, who is also co-president of the German Church’s controversial “Synodal Way,” together with Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, president of the German Catholic bishops’ conference.
The event has already raised alarm at the Vatican, which objected to a proposal for a “Eucharistic meal fellowship” between Catholics and Protestants last September.
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.”