Communion policy must be resolved locally says Pope

The Communion policy dividing the German bishops conference will not be resolved by the Vatican, Pope Francis says. Instead, the bishops must resolve the problem among themselves.

The policy agreed to by over three quarters of the bishops will allow the non-Catholic spouses of Catholics to receive Communion in certain circumstances.

The policy says one of the most important conditions enabling spouses to receive Communion is that they “share the Catholic faith” on the Eucharist.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki and six other bishops disagree with the new policy.

They wrote to the Vatican asking for clarification. They said they don’t think the issue is within the competence of a local bishops’ conference. They think it is a universal Church matter.

Last week six of the bishops and their secretary, a Jesuit priest, went to Rome to ask Pope Francis to rule on the matter.

They met with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Congregation for Bishops and with the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the CDF prefect, then reported to Pope Francis giving him a summary of the conversations.

He returned to the delegation saying Francis wished them to continue discussion of the issue among themselves. He explained Francis is hoping for “a possibly unanimous arrangement.”

Francis has sought to decentralise church decision-making in favor of local solutions. He emphasises conscience and case-by-case solutions to pastoral problems.


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