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German bishops express “surprise” over Vatican decision on communion for Protestants

Cardinal Kasper admits that in German dioceses “there already is a widespread practice of non-catholic spouses, who consider themselves serious Christians, stepping up to [receive] Communion, without any bishops, who after all know of this practice, thus far voicing concerns.”

Cardinal Walter Kasper in undated photo. (CNS)

Munich, Germany, Jun 8, 2018 / 04:32 pm (CNA).- Several German bishops have reacted with surprise, consternation and criticism to the Vatican’s rejection of a proposal to allow Protestants married to Catholics to receive the Eucharist in certain circumstances. One prominent cardinal has said he is “furious” with how the Communion debate is playing out.

In a May 25 letter, Cardinal-elect Luis Ladaria SJ, the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, raised “a series of problems of considerable importance” with the German proposal and declares it not mature enough for publication.

The letter was published on June 4 by the Vatican journalist Sandro Magister.

On the same day, the head of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx released a statement saying he was “surprised” at the letter.

In his June 4 statement, Cardinal Marx noted that at a gathering in Rome on May 3, 2018, “the bishops participating in the meeting were told that they ‘should find a solution that is as unanimous as possible in the spirit of ecclesial communion,'” and he was therefore surprised to receive the letter “before such a unanimous settlement had been reached.”

Cardinal Marx said that he sees a “further need for discussion within the German bishops’ conference…but also with the corresponding Roman dicasteries and the Holy Father himself.”

On June 6, the Chairman of the Ecumenical Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, published an editorial on “katholisch.de,” a DBK website, in which he expressed disappointment at the response from Rome, and sharply criticized the “moral double standards” of bishops raising concerns over the proposal to the Vatican while allowing Protestants to receive Communion in their own diocese for pastoral reasons.

The Bishop of Magdeburg drew a connection between allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion in some circumstances, which the German Bishops Conference, amongst others, introduced in guidelines issued in the wake of Amoris Laetitia.

“A similar conflict, on the grounds that this was a topic that ‘pertains to the faith of the Church and is of relevance to the universal Church’, could have been triggered by the wording of the German Bishops’ [Conference guidelines] on marriage and family ministry, given the statements about the possibility for individuals who remarried after a divorce to receive the sacraments. Why, then, has there been an escalation when it comes to interdenominational differences?”

One day after Bishop Feige, Cardinal Walter Kasper also went public with an editorial published by the German bishops’ conference website.

After writing that he is “furious” that the letter to Cardinal Marx apparently was leaked to the press before even reaching its destination, Kasper expressed “puzzlement” at “the impression that even those who should know better should claim that non-Catholic Christians are fundamentally excluded from communion, or that this should at least first be clarified by the Universal Church.”

Kasper, who is the emeritus Archbishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, also flatly rejected concerns that the German proposal constitutes a Sonderweg, i.e. a form of German exceptionalism.

Furthermore, Cardinal Kasper wrote that he is “all the more surprised” since in German dioceses “there already is a widespread practice of non-catholic spouses, who consider themselves serious Christians, stepping up to [receive] Communion, without any bishops, who after all know of this practice, thus far voicing concerns.”

In his comments, Kasper also rejected concerns – raised by several other cardinals and bishops – that the German “pastoral handout” would constitute a normalization of Protestants receiving Holy Communion in general, explaining that proposal’s approach pertained to an “individual decision of conscience and pastoral counseling.”

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30 Comments

  1. “Furthermore, Cardinal Kasper wrote that he is “all the more surprised” since in German dioceses “there already is a widespread practice of non-catholic spouses, who consider themselves serious Christians, stepping up to [receive] Communion, without any bishops, who after all know of this practice, thus far voicing concerns.””

    Then those bishopes should be haled to Rome by the scruffs of their necks and told in no uncertain terms that they had better stop their evil behavior or be deposed.

    • Dear LESLIE,
      While I understand your point, don’t you think it more appropriate to start denying Holy Communion to abortionists before we go after spouses? A good homily addressing the requirements for receiving the Blessed Sacrament is all that is neccessary in these cases. I will give Cardinal Kaspar credit for being a crafty churchman, because he knows that parishes used altar girls for decades before it became an approved practice.
      God bless,
      tom

  2. If they were ‘serious’ Christians, they would be Catholics in their ‘yearning’ for Communion. The Holy Eucharist is everything and the New Testament is clear on what one incurs on unworthy reception of the Host. This centuries old nonsense that all religions are the same…

    These peculiar German bishops seem to not understand the infallible charter of the Deposit of Faith guaranteed by Christ.

    Therefore did the Holy Spirit somehow neglect the Church in any age in not informing the charism of infallibility that It would be subject to ‘complex and not black and white’ situations that might allow for previously sinful reception of the Eucharist?

    Kasper and his fellow travelers seem proud to be ignorant of both Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  3. If Kasper is disappointed, it makes my day.
    Kasper and his ilk have little respect for anything that is not conceived in their utopian imagination.
    If the Protestant spouse so craves the Holy Eucharist then convert to the Catholic Faith.
    It ain’t rocke science.

  4. Here is why Walter Kasper and his fellow post-Catholics throughout the Vatican and the post-Catholic world think that “inter-Communion” is vital to their cult:

    The “Kingdom of God” means “each individual can feel himself accepted and approved without reserve, he becomes free to live with others.” It means “the salvation of the world as a whole and the salvation of every individual.” It means “we are not doing justice to another person when we merely give him whatever he has a right to; we have to accept him as a person and approve of him.” (Kasper, Jesus the Christ, 1976, pp 86-87).

    In short, “The Kingdom of God” is the unreserved approval of every individual in the whole world.

    So Communion must be given to whoever wants it, so that we show them our unreserved approval.

    Post-Catholic…and by the way, the Pope’s favorite theologian.

    • Would you clarify the term “post-Catholic” laced throughout this post. My assumption is that it means, “once a Catholic, but no longer Catholic.”

      This applies to many German Cardinals and Bishops?

      You may want to review this final paragraph in the Catholic Dictionary on the term Sacrilege:

      Sacrilege is many times reprobated in Sacred Scripture, notably in the second book of Maccabees and in the writings of St. Paul. Grave sacrilege in the Old Testament was punishable by death, and in the Catholic Church is considered a mortal sin. (Etym. Latin sacrilegium, the robbing of a temple, the stealing of sacred things.)

      • Paragraph 2 of my post – using Cardinal Kasper’s words – sheds some light on what post-Catholic is – although I do recognize that Cardinal Kasper is not known for clarity, but generally criticized for his lack of clarity.

        In the same vein, do Catholic people believe that the Gospel accounts of the miracles of Jesus are true? I will look for your replies, and then perhaps we can discuss further.

        It is from Cardinal Kasper’s book, which I quoted.

    • You probably are not Catholic. The only true church, the Church of Christ is the Orthodox and Catholic. The others are broken denominations who chosen to drift away from the Body of Christ. Only a Catholic may receive the Body and the Blood of Christ. The protestants/anglicans rejected the theology written by the Holy fathers within the 5 centuries. If you make time to study the writings of these Fathers, then you will realize which church is the real one.

  5. Here is why “Cardinal” Kasper is furious:

    The “Kingdom of God” means “each individual can feel himself accepted and approved without reserve…we are not doing justice to another person when we merely give him whatever he has a right to; we have to accept him as a person and approve of him.”

    Communion is not a sign of faith…it is a gesture of approval…for everyone.

  6. The arrogant and bullying attitude of the German bishops, especially Cardinals Kasper and Marx, indicates why it is so unbelievably long past time for these heretics and apostates and all like them in the German church, whether prelate or lay, to be formally excommunicated. It is time for a spade to be called a spade. The German church is rotten to the point of collapse with modernism, materialism, socialism, clericalism, careerism, and an apostasy that is neo-pagan. If Pope Bergoglio refuses to do it, then soon-to-be-Cardinal Ladaria better do it or hand in his watered-silk scarlet cassock and biretta. If they refuse to do it, Cardinals Burke, Brandmuller, Sarah, and Ejlk had better do it or hand in theirs as well.

    • I wsa just reading a biography of Pope St. Pius X which discusses the “separation of Church and state” enacted by the French government. There had been a Concordat with Napoleon (after the French Revolution): “While the Concordat restored some ties to the papacy, it was an attempt on Napoleon’s part to win favor with Catholics in France and largely favored the state.[3] According to its terms Catholicism was recognized as the religion of the great majority of the French but not the official state religion. While the Papacy had the right to depose bishops, the French government retained the right to nominate them. The state would pay clerical salaries to clergy who swore an oath of allegiance to the state. The Catholic Church also gave up all claims to Church lands confiscated after 1790, but Sunday was reestablished as a “festival”, effective Easter Sunday, 18 April 1802.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehementer_Nos

      From the same article: “In 1905 the French government passed a law stipulating “the separation of churches and the state, and unilaterally abrogating the terms of the 1801 Concordat. According to Sheridan Gilley while claiming to guarantee freedom of worship, the law kept religion under state regulation.[4] The act stipulated that all Church property be turned over to “associations” of lay people. The pope and most French Catholics considered the law as undermining the independent authority of the Church.”

      The French probably expected Pope Piux to knuckle under. He didn’t; he, and many French Catholics, figured that it was better to be poorer but independent of the French government’s interference and corrupting influence. The Church in France ended up the stronger for it.

      Perhaps it would be better if the Catholic Church in Germany broke its ties with the German government (and quit taking the money collected by the government via taxes, rather than given voluntarily to the Church.

  7. It seems that the dichotomy of Catholic thinking is causing another dilemma. It pits the conservatives, (hardliners) against the realists. Some can recall when the church restricted women from going near the host. My mother was in that group. She could was the altar linens but could not retrieve them. Lotsa bad and stupid things can be recalled. Now we want to allow certain “qualified” Protestants to receive holy communion. WOW! Classifying Protestants becomes a real problem. However, using Holy Communion as an evangelical bargaining chip could be worse. Say a prayer for our “separated brethren”.

    • “It pits the conservatives, (hardliners) against the realists.”

      No, it pits Catholics against people whose faith is so hollow that they just want everybody to do whatever they want, and who have no sense of the sacred at all.

      ” Some can recall when the church restricted women from going near the host. My mother was in that group. She could was the altar linens but could not retrieve them.”

      I’ve pointed out to you before thta your mother was not allowed to go into the Sanctuary because she was a laywoman. Laymen also weren’t allowed into the Sanctuary, unless they were performing a clerical function (e.g. altar boys acting as acolytes). A vastly better situation than the current habit of treating the Sanctuary as if it were no different than any other space.

      “Lotsa bad and stupid things can be recalled.”

      There were not nearly as many “bad and stupid things” as are inflicted on us constantly these days.

      • Partly OK. Would you agree that things like a woman getting to close to the Host in the 1950s? Today, both husband and wife can take the Hosts to the Priest. The key word here is “manmade”.

        • Women in the fifties certainly got close to the Eucharist, each time they received It. Getting close to the unconsecrated host is irrelevant. I don’t see any point in parading the hosts to the altar in any case except to cater to the egos of people who think that the only way to “participate” in the Mass is to have a public, visible role.

          Your definition of “manmade,” judging by your posts, is “any discipline, dogma, or tradition of the Church that I don’t like, which is most of them.”

    • Classifying? Well, yes, if the Protestants want the Eucharist they need to convert and profess the faith because we do not believe the same things. The Church is sacramental: if Protestants receive the Eucharist, why bother with first communion, confession, confirmation or holy orders? The Church is not Protestant: we have kept through faith and tradition the apostolic practices and understanding of Christianity because we were founded by Christ. Whether you or anybody else likes that, it’s the truth.

  8. Kasper is upset because this may adversely impact the collection of the Church tax which allows him to enjoy his high on the hog lifestyle.

    Quite frankly there is more than ample evidence to dismiss him and his fellow apostate Bishops in Germany from the clerical state.

  9. They are surprised?
    That would indicate that this subterfuge has been long practiced before the Bergoglian captivity.
    What is surprising is the temerity to appeal to papal authority for anything when they have brazenly disregarded papal authority for decades.
    The Church in Germany is a very tormented entity. God alone knows what is transpiring there in closed minds behind the Teutonic “wink and the nod.” But I can imagine, and I am not merely not edified, I am scandalized that men ordained for the service of Jesus Christ could be engaged in such nefarious and duplicitous doings.
    The German ethos has decomposed into a demonic toxin. Responsible churchmen are required to call it out for what it is. Ecclesiastical protocols and etiquette are a poor substitute for the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They advocate for clerical marriage but don’t exhibit the masculine qualities which are required for simple honesty.
    It is nothing less than contemptable.
    Who would have them?

    • “What is surprising is the temerity to appeal to papal authority for anything when they have brazenly disregarded papal authority for decades.”

      Why not? That’s how they slithered their way in to Communion in the hand, altar girls, and a whole raft of other innovations.

      • It does seem to be the way to get things done, doesn’t it?
        It is mortifying.
        The upside is that it clearly reveals the nature of what is being advanced and the character of those promoting the agenda of the “New Paradigm.” At this point in time we can be at least consoled by that, and hopefully in the future it will serve to provide a crystal clear lens on what has been contemptibly crafted by this crowd in the pre-conciliar, conciliar and post-conciliar era.
        Fifty-eight years of ecclesiastical deception can no longer be denied for what it has been. We have given the nefarious the benefit of the doubt for decades — its true face now unmasked in the Bergoglian epoch.

  10. I have never really understood this. Why does anyone as a rule need to take communion in a location other than their home church, where they are in agreement with the doctrine and can avail themselves of whatever means of confession, personal or liturgical, that church teaches to be necessary? Why go to a Catholic Church to receive communion if you aren’t Catholic?
    If a mixed marriage means worshipping in separate locals, WTBD?
    It makes someone feels unwelcome?
    I know that’s now unfashionable, but it certainly isn’t a sin.
    Taking communion isn’t a a rite of cultural identification or a badge of worthiness: it’s a sacrament given to bless disciples. Jesus and Paul were pretty explicit about its purpose and protocol. “Rights” are not a part of it.

  11. SJP2 changed the 1917 code of canon law which disallowed all non-Catholics to receive communion. That change remains normative and no other teaching is necessary. Non-Catholics may receive according to the teaching of SJP2 in the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint. Period.

    • I understand that the JP2 change was extremely limited. Would you consider writing what the change was, and why it was made, and communicate that?

  12. I am very surprised that a suggestion is even made for Protestants to receive Eucharist in the Catholic Church!Euchaist is the centre of the Church and without it the Church would not exist. St.Paul explains very well how we should prepare to receive Holy Communion and it the Church we have to prepare by going to confessions,etc. How will a Protestant prepare? When Communion is being given, the recepient accepts by saying Amen. What do Protestants say? If they accept why not become Catholic? This is sacrilage.

  13. I don’t know for sure but it is my understanding that as Catholic’s we believe that the eucharist IS the real body and blood of Jesus Christ? Therefore it should not be handed out willy nilly to just anyone but especially not to non believers of our Catholic Faith!

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