He goes as far as he can toward protestants

He goes as far as he can toward protestants

Host bowl © Stefano Dal Pozzolo/Romano Siciliani (KNA)

Words of confidence: according to Lutheran ecumenical bishop Karl-Hinrich Manzke, the recent debate on Eucharistic hospitality between Catholics and Protestants cannot stop ecumenical rapprochements.

The chairman of the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Batzing, is a true friend in ecumenical cooperation, Manzke told the Evangelical Press Service . The regional bishop of Schaumburg-Lippe, Manzke from Buckeburg, is the Catholica representative of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD).

In view of Batzing’s open letter, in which he on 1. After Bishop Batzing had forbidden the priests in his diocese from generally inviting Protestant Christians to the Eucharist, Manzke appealed for understanding: "Bishop Batzing goes as far as he can towards us Protestants. But we Protestants must understand that he is bound by church law."

"In accordance with the Catholic faith"

According to the letter, a priest may administer the Eucharist, the Catholic Lord’s Supper, only to Catholic Christians, with a few exceptions. However, Batzing had expressly pointed out such an exception in his letter. In individual cases, non-Catholics may receive communion after a serious examination of conscience and "in accordance with the Catholic faith".

In this way, Batzing is adhering to the vote of the Ecumenical Working Group of Protestant and Theological Theologians (oAK) of 2019, according to which nothing stands in the way theologically of mutual Eucharistic hospitality, Manzke explained. "We, the Bishops’ Conference of the VELKD, also see this paper as a great step forward."

Joining the oAK vote

In a statement released Tuesday, the Lutheran bishops had joined the WCC vote. From their point of view, the participation of Protestant Christians in the Catholic Eucharist is theologically justifiable. Nevertheless, reasons of conscience could speak against participation.

"I could imagine that Protestant Christians would not want to participate if it were to apply that they thereby agree to all the laws and orders of the Catholic Church," Manzke gave to consideration. It advises against participation if a priest requires such explicit consent. A Christian can be connected with other Christians in the spirit of Jesus even without the Lord’s Supper, the theologian stressed.

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