CNA Staff, Sep 22, 2020 / 12:00 pm
A Vatican cardinal said Tuesday that Pope Francis has expressed concern about the Church in Germany.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told the magazine Herder Korrespondenz Sept. 22 that he believed the pope backed an intervention by the Vatican’s doctrinal office in a debate over intercommunion between Catholics and Protestants.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) wrote last week to Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, saying that a proposal for a “Eucharistic meal fellowship” would harm relations with Orthodox Churches.
Asked if the pope personally approved the CDF letter, dated Sept. 18, Koch said: “There is no mention of this in the text. But the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ladaria, is a very honest and loyal person. I cannot imagine that he would do anything that Pope Francis would not approve of. But I have also heard from other sources that the pope has expressed his concern in personal conversations.”
The cardinal clarified that he was not referring simply to the question of intercommunion.
“Not only, but about the situation of the Church in Germany in general,” he said, noting that Pope Francis addressed a long letter to German Catholics in June 2019.
The Swiss cardinal praised the CDF’s critique of the document “Together at the Lord’s Table,” issued by the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians (ÖAK) in September 2019.
The 57-page text advocated “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality” between Catholics and Protestants, based on previous ecumenical agreements on the Eucharist and ministry.