Sources have told the outlets that Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the current prefect of the CDF, wrote the letter and that it was given papal approval.
‘It’s a rejection of the pastoral plan,’ an anonymous German Church source told NCR, adding that there are ‘no differences’ between Archbishop Ladaria and his predecessor, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, on the issue.
The Vatican response came after seven German bishops, led by Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, wrote to the CDF last month to say they believed the proposal to allow some Protestant spouses to receive communion contradicted Catholic doctrine, undermined Church unity and exceeded the competence of the bishops’ conference.
This came after Germany’s bishops voted overwhelmingly in favour at their spring conference in February of producing a guide, or pastoral handout, to allow a Protestant partner of a Catholic to receive the Eucharist in some cases and under certain conditions.
The bishops concluded that permission could be granted if, having made a ‘serious examination’ of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibilities, the spouse ‘affirms the faith of the Catholic Church’, wishes to end ‘serious spiritual distress’ and has a ‘longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist’.