Vatican stalls German bishops’ plan to give Protestants Communion

Source: Religion News Service

ROME (RNS) – Disagreements between Catholic bishops in Germany about plans to give Communion to Protestants have spilled out into the wider Roman Catholic Church.

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Last Monday (June 4), the Vatican’s doctrine chief, Archbishop Luis Ladaria, informed senior members of the German Catholic hierarchy that the pope believes their plans to make it easier for Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Communion are “not ready” to be published. The letter signaled that top leaders in Rome were not prepared to let these guidelines become accepted practice in the German church — at least not yet.

The dispute highlights Pope Francis’ plans to move the church away from obsessing over doctrinal purity while giving bishops on the ground more decision-making power.

Archbishop Ladaria’s letter was a surprise to many, given that Pope Francis in 2015 seemed to suggest to a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic that she could receive Communion after consulting her conscience. It also followed a summit in Rome last month at which the pope told the German bishops to find an agreement on the matter that was as “unanimous as possible.”

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