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, 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.