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Vatican declines to rule on German dispute over Communion

Antonis

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VATICAN CITY — The Vatican declined Thursday to rule on a dispute among German bishops over whether non-Catholic spouses can receive Communion, asking the bishops to work it out among themselves.

The Vatican urged the bishops to try to find a unanimous solution “in the spirit of ecclesial communion” after a German delegation met with top Holy See officials, a Vatican statement said.

Seven German bishops had written the Vatican asking it to rule on a proposal adopted by a two-thirds majority of the German bishops’ conference to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Communion in certain circumstances. The conference approved the proposal in February in part as a gesture of ecumenical outreach to Protestants in a country where mixed marriages are common.

The seven conservative bishops had argued the proposal undermines the Catholic faith and shouldn’t be decided by a mere national bishops’ conference.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/vatican-declines-to-rule-on-german-dispute-over-communion/2018/05/03/9f20690c-4f05-11e8-85c1-9326c4511033_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.334e489be510
 

Volnutt

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Antonis said:
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican declined Thursday to rule on a dispute among German bishops over whether non-Catholic spouses can receive Communion, asking the bishops to work it out among themselves.

The Vatican urged the bishops to try to find a unanimous solution “in the spirit of ecclesial communion” after a German delegation met with top Holy See officials, a Vatican statement said.

Seven German bishops had written the Vatican asking it to rule on a proposal adopted by a two-thirds majority of the German bishops’ conference to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Communion in certain circumstances. The conference approved the proposal in February in part as a gesture of ecumenical outreach to Protestants in a country where mixed marriages are common.

The seven conservative bishops had argued the proposal undermines the Catholic faith and shouldn’t be decided by a mere national bishops’ conference.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/vatican-declines-to-rule-on-german-dispute-over-communion/2018/05/03/9f20690c-4f05-11e8-85c1-9326c4511033_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.334e489be510
The supreme and infallible font of unity, ladies and gentlemen. "Eh, do it yourself."
 

Antonis

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The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Francis, has written a letter to German bishops rejecting their proposal to allow some Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion, but the Pope does not wish the letter to be made public, the Register has learned.

Sources in the Vatican and Germany say 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,” said a high level source in the German Church, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that there are “no differences” between Archbishop Ladaria and his predecessor, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, on the matter.

But two senior sources have also confirmed that the Pope wants the letter to remain secret for reasons unknown.
http://m.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/vatican-rejects-german-bishops-intercommunion-proposal#.WuvaRYjwbIV

...and something else.
 

Volnutt

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Antonis said:
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Francis, has written a letter to German bishops rejecting their proposal to allow some Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion, but the Pope does not wish the letter to be made public, the Register has learned.

Sources in the Vatican and Germany say 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,” said a high level source in the German Church, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that there are “no differences” between Archbishop Ladaria and his predecessor, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, on the matter.

But two senior sources have also confirmed that the Pope wants the letter to remain secret for reasons unknown.
http://m.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/vatican-rejects-german-bishops-intercommunion-proposal#.WuvaRYjwbIV

...and something else.
So they didn't rule and then they did... Somebody's got their signals crossed.
 

Antonis

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Or they did rule and they wanted the public to think they didn't. What a mess. :p
 

Lepanto

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If Rome says that a unanimous decision needs to be achieved, this effectively means that nothing will change - which is a relatively good thing.
So in a way, I am relieved.
On another level, this is a conflict between various Bavarian Diocesan bishops with their Metropolitan bishop, Card. Marx, who happens to be my bishop.

I really wish for an end of all this unnecessary confusion. Why does this happen?
I am at a loss.
 

Volnutt

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Lepanto said:
I really wish for an end of all this unnecessary confusion. Why does this happen?
I am at a loss.
Because people (and families) are broken.
 

Lepanto

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Volnutt said:
Lepanto said:
I really wish for an end of all this unnecessary confusion. Why does this happen?
I am at a loss.
Because people (and families) are broken.
I am not sure I understand what you mean. We are all broken to some degree since the fall of man and in a way,
this is the underlying reason for all problems.
But how does this relate to this specific issue?
 

Volnutt

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Lepanto said:
Volnutt said:
Lepanto said:
I really wish for an end of all this unnecessary confusion. Why does this happen?
I am at a loss.
Because people (and families) are broken.
I am not sure I understand what you mean. We are all broken to some degree since the fall of man and in a way,
this is the underlying reason for all problems.
But how does this relate to this specific issue?
The whole, "Can mixed families take Communion together?" thing would really never have come up back when the majority of people married their own religion, right? That's what I meant. It's just the consequence of not having the force of societal shame being on Christianity's side anymore.

Sorry for not being clearer.
 

Volnutt

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Personally, I don't really get it. I can sympathize with those who want to soften the RCC's stand on communion for the divorced and remarried (another problem that would never really have come up back in the days of Christian social pressure, whether for good or for ill). There's a lot of broken families out there and "get divorced or else never take communion again" is a pretty bitter pill even if it is necessary.

But this "ecumenical gesture" thing seems like nothing but fuzzy sentimentality. I can understand why wanting to take communion together as a couple could be nice, but if you have different understandings of what communion is, why would you want to? Maybe I'd have to be married to understand it, I don't know.

I may have been mentally conflating that issue with this one. My apologies.
 

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Volnutt said:
Personally, I don't really get it. I can sympathize with those who want to soften the RCC's stand on communion for the divorced and remarried (another problem that would never really have come up back in the days of Christian social pressure, whether for good or for ill). There's a lot of broken families out there and "get divorced or else never take communion again" is a pretty bitter pill even if it is necessary.

But this "ecumenical gesture" thing seems like nothing but fuzzy sentimentality. I can understand why wanting to take communion together as a couple could be nice, but if you have different understandings of what communion is, why would you want to? Maybe I'd have to be married to understand it, I don't know.

I may have been mentally conflating that issue with this one. My apologies.
No need to apologize so much!
If the Protestant spouse feels so strongly about receiving communion in the Catholic church, why does he/she not convert?
It´s the good old have your cake and eat it. Religion is seen as a kind of module-based system, where I can freely combine the parts that
I want and leave out the modules I do not like. Hubris in essence.

"I like going to Catholic liturgy and I would love to receive, but on the other hand, I still feel connected to my Protestant church."
Or
"I would love to be able to receive together with my husband/wife, but I do not fully agree with Catholic teaching, that is why I will not convert."

It is completely bananas and stupidity makes me angry.
Sorry for ranting.
 

Volnutt

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Right. Or at least the conviction that Catholicism and Protestantism are really the same thing and that they should acknowledge it. I'm not saying I agree with that view, but I can understand it.
 

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No, . . . people in public do not relate to your fancy church post at all.
 
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There are Christian intermarried families in our parish; those who are non Orthodox know the situation. These people have varying life circumstances; I have never seen any of this translating into feeling of exclusion. Granted, I am only observing from a small slice of life. 
 

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In my OCA parish, i was barred from the chalice until my secular marriage was blessed. I had converted (or reverted technically) and my wife was still protestant. What i went through seemed like a simple solution. Paul didnt excommunicate converts who were married to infidels. Now if you are orthodox and then get married to someone who is not, thats a whole nother ball game. But if youre wife loves you and you have children you have a responsibility to your family and theres no reason why you shouldnt commune. Onviously the spouse cant but ive noticed they end up converting anyway. This is one of the reasons why i think annulment is somewhat of a joke. You dont just get to leave your family simply because the marriage isnt a church marriage.
 
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Volnutt said:
Personally, I don't really get it. I can sympathize with those who want to soften the RCC's stand on communion for the divorced and remarried (another problem that would never really have come up back in the days of Christian social pressure, whether for good or for ill). There's a lot of broken families out there and "get divorced or else never take communion again" is a pretty bitter pill even if it is necessary.

But this "ecumenical gesture" thing seems like nothing but fuzzy sentimentality. I can understand why wanting to take communion together as a couple could be nice, but if you have different understandings of what communion is, why would you want to? Maybe I'd have to be married to understand it, I don't know.

I may have been mentally conflating that issue with this one. My apologies.
It's worth bearing in mind that the reception of communion by non-Catholic family members is something already permitted in Roman Catholicism under certain circumstances.  For instance, I know that dispensation can be given at times of great joy or sorrow.  Funerals are a common example, as are ordinations, (although in the latter case, my experience is that it is limited to spouses, but that might vary by location).

It seems that what has been discussed by the German Bishops' Conference is simply a broadening the circumstances under which an already-approved custom may be put into practice.

C
 

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Lepanto said:
Volnutt said:
Personally, I don't really get it. I can sympathize with those who want to soften the RCC's stand on communion for the divorced and remarried (another problem that would never really have come up back in the days of Christian social pressure, whether for good or for ill). There's a lot of broken families out there and "get divorced or else never take communion again" is a pretty bitter pill even if it is necessary.

But this "ecumenical gesture" thing seems like nothing but fuzzy sentimentality. I can understand why wanting to take communion together as a couple could be nice, but if you have different understandings of what communion is, why would you want to? Maybe I'd have to be married to understand it, I don't know.

I may have been mentally conflating that issue with this one. My apologies.
No need to apologize so much!
If the Protestant spouse feels so strongly about receiving communion in the Catholic church, why does he/she not convert?
It´s the good old have your cake and eat it. Religion is seen as a kind of module-based system, where I can freely combine the parts that
I want and leave out the modules I do not like. Hubris in essence.

"I like going to Catholic liturgy and I would love to receive, but on the other hand, I still feel connected to my Protestant church."
Or
"I would love to be able to receive together with my husband/wife, but I do not fully agree with Catholic teaching, that is why I will not convert."

It is completely bananas and stupidity makes me angry.
Sorry for ranting.
People get this idea I think in part from the syncretic nature of the Far Eastern religions, where in China one can be a Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian, or in Japan, where Buddhist temples typically have Shinto shrines.  Some religions are modular and highly adaptable, like Hinduism or the vast array of neo-Pagan and new age cults.  In most of Christianity however we believe in revealed Truth, in the personal nature of that revealed truth and in the non-negotiability thereof.  In Germany however, the influence of Pietism and an excessive ecumenical zeal resulting from the forced union of Calvinists and Protestants in Prussia leads to a scenario where a temptation exists to compromise. 

Pietism was the natural and regrettable reaction to the pointless wars of religion, particularly between the Lutherans and other Protestants.  The Catholic church should hold firm on this, however; the Evangelical Church of Germany, the former Reichskirche, is in many respects removed from the Apostolic faith. 
 

Iconodule

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Alpha60 said:
People get this idea I think in part from the syncretic nature of the Far Eastern religions, where in China one can be a Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian, or in Japan, where Buddhist temples typically have Shinto shrines.
That's really not people's primary or even secondary or tertiary reference. Syncretism is just a common human phenomenon when two or more religious traditions exist in the same space.
 

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Iconodule said:
Alpha60 said:
People get this idea I think in part from the syncretic nature of the Far Eastern religions, where in China one can be a Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian, or in Japan, where Buddhist temples typically have Shinto shrines.
That's really not people's primary or even secondary or tertiary reference. Syncretism is just a common human phenomenon when two or more religious traditions exist in the same space.
I do not think it has to do a lot with pietism or Far Eastern religions.
It is more today´s general feeling of being entitled to basically anything by mere existence.
If a Protestant is not allowed to receive, it is perceived as discrimination and possibly endangering marriages.
Barring people from communion effectively establishes two classes of Christians, those who are allowed to receive (Catholics) and those who aren´t (all others).
Hear, hear! This is unheard of!
Such a separation is perfectly acceptable anywhere else - think about a country club or a party with a guest list.
Yeah, I know, the Church is not a party with a guest list, please allow me this comparison, you get the point.
Nobody would cry and demand access to the country club without being a registered member.
But as soon as the Church is involved, people feel treated badly, because, you know, Jesus is about love, right? and does not want pariahs.

There is no cure.
 
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