CNA Staff, Nov 9, 2020 / 04:00 am
Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, reaffirmed Sunday his view that intercommunion with Protestants should be possible, despite Vatican objections.
He made the comment in a Nov. 8 message to the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).
“The community in faith, which is already ecumenically visible in many ways, aims at a unity that will also be able to be experienced as a communion in the Eucharistic and the Lord’s Supper,” Bätzing wrote in the message.
He said he considered it “good” that a document produced by the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians (ÖAK), called “Together at the Lord’s Table,” had “rekindled the debate on the remaining open questions on the way” to what the paper calls “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality” between Catholics and Protestants.
As CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German language news partner, reported, Bätzing continued: “I will undertake every effort in the bishops’ conference and also in dialogue with Rome to ensure that an intensive discourse is held on this issue and that the findings of the ecumenical dialogues are examined and acted upon.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said in September that the proposal made in “Together at the Lord’s Table,” issued in September 2019, did not do justice to the Catholic understanding of the Church, the Eucharist, and Holy Orders.
The 57-page text advocated “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality” between Catholics and Protestants, based on previous ecumenical agreements on the Eucharist and ministry. In response, the CDF issued a letter Sept. 18, signed by CDF prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria and secretary Archbishop Giacomo Morandi.
The letter was accompanied by a four-page doctrinal note raising a number of theological concerns. The CDF said that Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, had requested a doctrinal assessment of the document in May. It noted that the German bishops had discussed the text at their plenary meeting that month in Mainz.