The German Bishops’ Conference published its proposed guidelines on allowing Protestants married to Catholics to receive Communion. Following a meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis on 11 June, the President of the Conference, His Eminence Cardinal Reinhard Marx, said pastoral dialogue and discernment are at the heart of the ecumenical quest for the sharing in the Eucharist in inter-denominational marriages. It was highlighted that the guidelines are conceived as an “aid to orientation” and that “the topic is to be explored in greater detail” in accord with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
As reported by en.vaticannews.va, The Bishops remarked that, “We would like to emphasize that Eucharistic communion and church fellowship belong together. We are concerned to provide spiritual assistance for those addressing questions of conscience in individual cases who receive pastoral care for inter-denominational married couples who have a grave spiritual need to receive the Eucharist. They have a very close mutual bond resulting from baptism, faith and the Sacrament of marriage, and they share their entire lives. We as bishops are concerned here with the question of the Protestant spouse in an inter-denominational marriage receiving communion.” Further, they stated, “It is important for us that we are on an ecumenical quest to achieve a more profound understanding and even greater unity among Christians, and we consider ourselves to be obliged to stride forward in this matter courageously. The topic is to be explored in greater detail, in accord with the letter of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We would like to offer the Holy Father and the Roman Curia our assistance in this matter. The opportunity will arise to take up this topic once more at the autumn plenary assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference in September 2018.”
The German Bishops’ Conference is an association of the Roman-Catholic bishops of all dioceses in Germany. It currently has 66 members (as per: June 2018) from the 27 German dioceses. The German Bishops’ Conference was established to promote joint pastoral tasks, to advise one another, to coordinate the Church’s work, to jointly adopt decisions and to maintain contact with other Bishops’ Conferences.