Pope hints at Lutherans having Catholic communion

Pope Francis has suggested a Lutheran spouse of a Catholic should “talk to the Lord” in discerning whether or not to receive Communion with her husband.

Francis made the remark during a Q&A at a visit to Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran church on Sunday.

A Lutheran woman said she is married to a Catholic man and that the current prohibition on Lutherans receiving Communion in the Catholic Church causes them sadness.

The Pope stressed the role of personal discernment.

He said: “There are questions that only if one is sincere with oneself and the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own.”

Pope Francis said he asked himself: “Is sharing the Lord’s Supper the end of a path or is it the viaticum for walking together?”

“It is true that in a certain sense sharing is to say that there are not differences among us, that we have the same doctrine – I underline the word, a word difficult to understand – but I ask myself: Don’t we have the same Baptism?” he continued.

“And if we have the same Baptism, we must walk together,” he said.

He told the couple: “You are a witness of an even [more]profound path because it is a conjugal path, a path truly of family, of human love, and of shared faith. We have the same Baptism.”

Francis referred to a pastor friend of his telling him:  “We believe that the Lord is present there. He is present. You believe that the Lord is present. And what is the difference?”

“There are explanations, interpretations,” said the Pope.

“Life is bigger than explanations and interpretations. Always make reference to Baptism.”

“‘One faith, one baptism, one Lord,’ Paul tells us,” Francis continued. “From there, grab hold of the consequences.”

“I will not ever dare to give permission to do this because it is not my competence,” he said.

“One Baptism, one Lord, one faith. Speak with the Lord and go forward. I do not dare to say more.”

Church law on the subject is covered in Canon 844.


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