German bishops' decision on Eucharist a 'hopeful step' for Lutheran-Catholic couples: LWF

(Photo: LWF / Albin Hillert)

The Lutheran World Federation has welcomed a recent resolution by the German Catholic bishops' conference to make it possible for Catholic-Lutheran married couples to receive the Eucharist together.

This development follows the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation in 2016.

Then, the LWF and the Catholic Church expressed it as a joint pastoral responsibility to "respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger" of many of their members "who yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression of full unity."

At the  on Feb. 22, the Catholic bishops agreed to provide an orientation that would help local Catholic priests and their bishops to formally decide on a case-by-case basis to open the Eucharist to Protestant spouses.

In Germany this would include Lutherans, Reformed and members of united churches.

The Catholic bishops said in a statement that they "have a special responsibility in view of the...high proportion of mixed denominations in Germany."

The handout wants one for the specific case of the denominational marriage

Give assistance and greater clarity and security to the pastoral and pastoral community

Spouses create. Here is the German Bishops' Conference in a special

Responsibility in view of the already mentioned high proportion of mixed denominations in Germany.

We will publish the document, which can still be incorporated, in the coming weeks. I may add that we had an intense debate on this subject in the Assembly and did not make the decision easy.

LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge, "For us Lutherans this is a hopeful step on the journey towards the shared Eucharistic table, to which we are called by our Lord Jesus Christ."

He said this resonated with the Joint Statement signed by the LWF and the Catholic Church in Lund:

"Many members of our communities yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression of full unity," said Junge.

"We acknowledge our joint pastoral responsibility to respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ. [...] This is the goal of our ecumenical endeavors, which we wish to advance, also by renewing our commitment to theological dialogue."

The LWF's assistant general secretary for Ecumenical Relations Rev. Kaisamari Hintikka said, "We are grateful to hear about this decision, which is made in the spirit of pastoral ecumenism.

"At his meeting with Pope Francis in December, LWF President Panti Filibus Musa, referred to pastoral ecumenism and said in that context, the Eucharist is not only a goal, but a provision for our faith journey and a crux of our relationship."

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