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Germany: Pope Asks Bishops for a “Unanimous” Solution for Mixed Marriages

Meeting at the Vatican with Officials in Charge of the Roman Curia

Pope Francis on May 3, 2018, asked the German Bishops to find a “unanimous” solution to the question of Communion of non-Catholic spouses in Catholic-Protestant mixed marriages. In a press release, published on the evening of May 3, 2018, the Holy See reported on a meeting organized in the Vatican, following the controversy sparked by the plan adopted by the Episcopal Conference last February, envisaging access to Communion in certain cases.

Here is a ZENIT translation of the Holy See’s press release.

“In its last Plenary Session, which was held from February 19-22, 2018, the German Episcopal Conference addressed a pastoral <letter> entitled “Walk with Christ  — in the Footsteps of Unity. Mixed Marriages and Common Participation in the Eucharist.” More than three-fourths of the members of the Episcopal Conference approved the text. A not insignificant number of Pastors, among them seven diocesan Bishops, did not feel, for a variety of reasons, that they could give their consent. The seven Bishops addressed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and to the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts. In keeping with Pope Francis’ wish, an exchange was fixed between certain Bishops with the officials responsible for the Holy See.

This exchange, which took place on May 3, 2018, at the headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, included the participation of the following German Bishops: Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising and President of the German Episcopal Conference; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne; Monsignor Felix Genn, Bishop of Munster; Monsignor Karl Heinz Wiesemann, Bishop of Spire and President of the Doctrinal Commission of the German Episcopal Conference; Monsignor Rudolf  Voderholzer, Bishop of Regensburg and Vice-President of the Doctrinal Commission of the German Episcopal Conference; Monsignor Gerhard Feige, Bishop of Magdebourg and President of the Commission for Ecumenism of the German Episcopal Conference and Father Hans Langendorfer, S.J., Secretary of the German Episcopal Conference.

Present on the side of the Holy See were: Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria, S.J., Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Monsignor Markus Graulich, S.D.B., Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts, and Father Hermann Geissler, F.S.O., Office Manager of the CDF.

In the course of the exchanges, which unfolded in German, Monsignor Ladaria pointed out that Pope Francis appreciates the ecumenical engagement of the German Bishops and their question to find, if possible, a unanimous solution in a spirit of ecclesial communion. Different points of view were discussed, for instance, the relation between the question and the faith as well as pastoral care, its importance for the universal Church and its juridical dimension. Monsignor Ladaria will inform the Pope on the content of the exchange. The meeting unfolded in a cordial and fraternal atmosphere.”

About Anne Kurian

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