Hope for Shared Communion for Married Couples

From the website of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference:

In many mixed marriages it is already practiced: Eucharistic community. But it is not permitted. Bishop Franz-Josef Bode hopes for a change – and real soon.

Franz-Josef Bode, bishop of Osnabruck, wishes for the possibility of Communion for mixed-confession married couples. He said this in conversation with Evangelischer Pressedienst (“Lutheran Press Service”).

The church would thereby permit was is already the frequent practice of mixed-confession marriage partners. Bode consideres such a change in the Catholic position, particularly in the 2017 commemoration year of the Reformation, “not utopian.” The Lutheran Church allows the participation of Catholics in the Lord’s Supper. It invites all baptized Christians to participate. But the Catholic Church does not allow its faithful to participate in the Protestant Lord’s Supper, and it also as a rule limits the reception of the Eucharist to Catholic faithful.

Church of the Future

Bode also emphasized an intensification of ecumenical efforts with a view toward a “common church of the future.” He named agreement on general eucharistic community and the churches’ understanding of ordained office as “important basic points.”

The commonalities between the different confessions are already great: “One cannot call common faith in Jesus Christ and the triune God minimal consensus.”

Franz-Josef Bode is Bishop of Osnabruck since 1995, and president of the commission for pastoral ministry of the German Bishops’ Conference since 2010. The area of his diocese, with a Catholic proportion of 26%, is broadly influenced by Protestantism.

Translation: awr

Share:

17 comments

  1. Interesting that right up till the Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1917, law had generally been determined by custom and the wisdom of the local Church. And then in one fell swoop, law began to determine custom. And despite Vatican II and Francis’ efforts, we still have centralized authority. What could possibly be wrong with this picture?

  2. So I guess that if I ever go to confession again I will have to confess that I partake in the eucharist whenever I play in a Lutheran or Episcopal church. No one will ever be able to convince that it is not real (valid & licit!) Funny thing, when I play in a Roman Catholic church, I am seldom asked if I want to receive.

  3. Regarding: “The church would thereby permit was [sic] [what] is already the frequent practice of mixed-confession marriage partners.”
    – In this matter, the decision of the heads of the domestic church / household of faith ought to determine practice.
    – If communion strengthens the foundation of the domestic church, the family, then it is a benefice for the family; the parochial and the local church will be strengthened by sharing of the Eucharists by the the heads of the domestic church.
    – Practically, cleric and laic eucharistic ministers (ordinary, and extraordinary) only see the face of Jesus when offering the body and blood of Christ to each communicant. So, an head of a domestic church who also is a member of another christian church would receive in these cases because by baptism he / she has the face of Jesus which is the only face recognized by the ministers.

  4. Charles Jordan : Practically, cleric and laic eucharistic ministers (ordinary, and extraordinary) only see the face of Jesus when offering the body and blood of Christ to each communicant.

    So no one sees the face of Christ while praying the Mass, adoring the Lord in adoration, private prayer, or even a priest speaking the words of Christ, holding the host, making Him present on the altar, inches from his face? None of those things allow someone to look into the face of Jesus, except when distributing to the congregation?

    Sorry, but that’s just ridiculous.

    1. @Ben Yanke:
      Mr Jordan is writing of the action in the sharing of the Body and Blood as a Communion Minister. Not the totality of the liturgical experience. The Catechism (2478) would seem to lean on you to interpret his statement more positively.

    2. @Ben Yanke:
      Ben, read it as “The ministers see nothing but the face of Jesus when offering the Body and Blood of Christ to each communicant,” not as “The ministers do not see the face of Jesus except when they offer the Body and Blood of Christ to each communicant.”

  5. Ah, the juggernaut of religious indifferentism rolls on, and eviscerates the harmony of dogmatic truth and charity. The Germans may do as they wish; their labors will earn them a giant tombstone marked “Confessional Christianity, R.I.P.”

    1. @Peter Kwasniewski:
      Ah yes, replacing our relationship with Jesus Christ, our common Eucharistic community, our journey of faith with *dogma* and denominationalism. Could have sworn that Jesus talked about mercy, love, charity as opposed to the *pharisaical institutionalism* of 1st century Palestine. One would pick up from your comment that Rev. Feneey is alive and well – extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (“outside the Church there is no salvation”).

  6. Joseph Burgio : So I guess that if I ever go to confession again I will have to confess that I partake in the eucharist whenever I play in a Lutheran or Episcopal church. No one will ever be able to convince that it is not real (valid & licit!) Funny thing, when I play in a Roman Catholic church, I am seldom asked if I want to receive.

    You made my point, exactly! Thank you! Though my tribe of Lutheranism technically practices “close communion”, which for all intents and purposes is equivalent to the communion practice of the Roman Catholic Church. That said, Eucharistic hospitality is also practiced based on a confession of a Baptized Christian of the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharistic species.

    I have had the experience of several couples, one being Roman Catholic and one being Lutheran. By pastoral discussion with both of us (the Pastor of the Roman Parish, and myself) both members of the couples communed at both parish churches.

  7. As I would say in my native lingo, Gott hilf uns. Growing up pre-Vatican II in my native Germany, one Lutheran parent, one Roman Catholic, there’s no denying that both camps were firmly entrenched in their respective positions but I could at least maintain that they both stood for something. Fast forward to post-Vatican II life in the U.S. and having moved from the Lutheran side of the family to the Catholic one after watching my Lutheran worldview crash and burn I now am in the ironic position of trying to reassure my cradle Catholic husband that everything he was taught as a kid has not been thrown out the window. I have been back home to Germany a couple of times and the state of the Lutheran and Catholic churches leave much to be desired. Both my Lutheran and Catholic grandparents are probably turning over in their graves. The integrity of the Sacraments is a serious thing and can’t be resolved by a vague commonality of “the Real Presence” — there’s so much more at stake.

  8. If past results are indicative of future performance, then Francis will call a synod to discuss this topic. A majority of bishops, especially those not appointed by Francis, will come down on the side of traditional Catholic doctrine. Then Francis, in his ‘summary’, will find a way to loosen the strictures.

    1. @Jim Pauwels:
      Check your math, Jim.
      Remember, Francis included three statements in the final report of the first synod that got a MAJORITY of votes but not the usual 2/3, which caused a bit of a stir, since they favored a Francis-type opening. One of the three included statements was just a tiny bit below 2/3.

      So a majority of the bishops were behind Francis at both synods.

      awr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *