Catholics in a Protestant Community? No, Says Holy See

Dual Membership Ruled Out

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 8, 2005 ( The Holy See says that it is not possible to belong simultaneously to the Catholic Church and to a Protestant community.

A communiqué published today by Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls clarified news which appeared in the German press, according to which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger allegedly agreed that exegete Klaus Berger of Heidelberg was at the same time a Catholic and a Protestant.

According to this information, Berger, a Catholic, by participating in 1968 in the Protestant Supper became a “member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.”

German press articles claimed that Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, had precise knowledge of “the matter in its formal aspects” and “raised no objections.”

“This assertion is false,” Vatican spokesman Navarro Valls said today. The Pope had “no knowledge of a dual confessional identity.”

Not having this information, “the cardinal had no reason to take up a position on the question of Mr. Berger’s confessional identity and, indeed, he never pronounced himself on the subject,” affirmed the director of the Vatican press office.

The Vatican note states that the norms of canon law, which exclude simultaneous membership in the Catholic Church and a Protestant community, “remain in full force without exception, and are therefore also valid in this case.”

“The Church cannot obtain any dispensation from this rule,” stated the communiqué, “not even in the sacrament of penance.”

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