“No” to shared communion in German churches

The Vatican objects to shared communion in German churches

The Vatican has come out strongly against shared communion between Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany.

The issue of Catholics and Protestants being able to receive communion in each other’s churches has long been an issue in Germany and is particularly important for the many German couples who have a partner belonging to either church.

The Bishop of Augsburg, Bertram Meier has long wished that Catholics and Protestants come closer in their understandings of ordained ministry and Eucharistic communion.

Meier explained that he “dream[s]” of a shared Catholic-Protestant document “in which we emphasise our common confession and only secondarily name our differences so that we come closer to the common reception of Communion.”

The issue of shared communion was addressed in an appraisal titled “Together around the Lord’s Table.”

Published in September 2019 by German Catholic and Protestant theologians and bishops the text of the paper explicitly argued that Catholics and Protestants should be able to receive the Eucharist at celebrations of the other denomination.

The topic was due for discussion at the German bishops’ plenary assembly in Fulda at the end of September but was taken off the agenda following feedback from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Earlier in the year, the German Bishops earlier presented “Together around the Lord’s Table” to the CDF but following their review, in September, the CDF voiced strong objections.

The CDF stated that differences between Catholics and Protestants in the understanding of the Eucharist and the ministry were too significant to allow “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality.”

As reported in October 2020 by the German Catholic news agency, KNA, leaders of both churches identified questions that “still need to be clarified.”


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