Vatican: No Intercommunion for Mixed Marriages in Germany? UPDATED

According to the Austrian, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has rejected the proposed guidelines of the German Catholic bishops’ conference for intercommunion in mixed marriages in individual cases – with the express approval of Pope Francis.Recently, seven German bishops had appealed to the Vatican to intervene, in opposition to the vast majority of the bishops’ conference which approved a draft version of the proposal.

UPDATE 4-18, 7:45 pm: German media are now reporting on the German bishops’ conference statement:

“A rejection of the pastoral guidelines is not known to us,” spokesman Matthias Kopp stated. Cardinal Marx did not send the guidelines to the Vatican. The relevant draft is still being worked on.” Kopp emphasized: “The report made by is not conclusive and we are unable to confirm it.”



  1. The devil or the angel is in the details. Is this a flat out no or go back to fix some things that may have been too liberal?

  2. Good. These types of situations are the very reason why Rome has primacy over the Church — to preserve unity and strengthen the brethren in the faith. Bergoglio’s “collegiality” experiment will only cause greater disunity and chaos, but eventually will lead to more requests for Rome to intervene, and reinforce the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.

    1. “Bergoglio’s ‘collegiality’ experiment”

      If Pope Francis truly wanted that, wouldn’t he have let the German bishops have their way today?…

      1. Two points:

        First, let’s see the actual text from Rome. It’s only a report at this point of a text which is allegedly forthcoming.

        Second, let’s not give too much weight to official statements, under the assumption that Francis intends for them to clarify everything. He has repeatedly shown that the way forward for reforming the Catholic Church is not necessarily having laws that allow a bit more, or doctrinal statements that are a bit more ‘progressive.’ Rather, he has quite intentionally shown that we should put so much emphasis on the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus that these laws and human formulations of doctrine recede in importance.

        I recall being mightily puzzled when Pope Francis approved the statement from the CDW prohibiting priests from leaving the altar to exchange the Sign of Peace. But shortly after approving the restriction he celebrated Mass in a cathedral in the Philippines.. . and left the altar for a long time to exchange the peace with lots of people! I don’t think we’ve begun yet to comprehend just how deep is the spirit of reform that he intends.

        A rejection of the proposed German guidelines may well come from Rome. If anyone thinks that will mean that everyone should stop permitting (or doing) intercommunion in such cases, they have not been paying much attention to everything Francis has said and done the past five years. Including his very provocative (and, I believe, intentionally vague and confusing) comments on the very topic of intercommunion in mixed marriages!


      2. By the same token, reading tea leaves to discern any definitive shift towards approving/allowing is not allowing legalism to recede in importance – it’s just another dialect of legalism. It may be a product of the habit of Northern European-inflected legal mindsets that, when an exception to a norm is made, the next question is has the norm been modified and is the exception now a new sub-norm? Feedback loop ensues. (Reminding me of the pattern of how local shifts in applying liturgical norms in the name of avoiding rubricism can very quickly become a new rubricism.)

  3. Update illustrating yet again that it’s usually not worth analyzing preliminary “news” until it’s what would have been considered hard confirmed news in Ye Olde Days of Real News.

    Let’s lay odds on the choices for the next consistory….

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