A hopeful step for Lutheran-Catholic couples

By agency reporter
February 25, 2018

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has welcomed a recent resolution by the German Catholic bishops' conference to make it possible for Catholic-Lutheran married couples to receive the Eucharist together.

This development follows the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation in 2016, where the LWF and the Catholic Church expressed it as a joint pastoral responsibility to “respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger” of many of their members “who yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression of full unity.”

In the German Bishops Conference earlier this month, the Catholic bishops agreed to provide an orientation that would help local Catholic priests and their bishops to formally decide on a case-by-case basis to open the Eucharist to Protestant spouses, which in Germany would include Lutherans, Reformed and members of united churches.

LWF General Secretary the Rev Dr Martin Junge said: “For us Lutherans this is a hopeful step on the journey towards the shared Eucharistic table, to which we are called by our Lord Jesus Christ.” He said this resonated with the Joint Statement signed by the LWF and the Catholic Church in Lund in 2016: "Many members of our communities yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression of full unity. [...] We acknowledge our joint pastoral responsibility to respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ. […] This is the goal of our ecumenical endeavours, which we wish to advance, also by renewing our commitment to theological dialogue.”

LWF Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations Rev. Dr Kaisamari Hintikka said: “We are grateful to hear about this decision, which is made in the spirit of pastoral ecumenism. At his meeting with Pope Francis in December, LWF President Panti Filibus Musa, referred to pastoral ecumenism and said in that context, the Eucharist is not only a goal, but a provision for our faith journey and a crux of our relationship.”

The Assistant General Secretary added that she looked forward to seeing the orientation that was announced and how this would be developed further.

* Read the Joint Statement  here

* Lutheran World Federation https://www.lutheranworld.org/

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