Catholic and Lutheran Churches pledge to work for shared Eucharist

Pope Francis hugs Rev. Martin Junge, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, as Lutheran Archbishop Ante Jackelen, Primate of the Church of Sweden, is seen in the background at right, during an ecumenical prayer at Lund's Lutheran Cathedral, in Sweden, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis hugs Rev. Martin Junge, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, as Lutheran Archbishop Ante Jackelen, Primate of the Church of Sweden, is seen in the background at right, during an ecumenical prayer at Lund’s Lutheran Cathedral, in Sweden, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

By Austen Ivereigh at Crux:

October 31, 2016

Pope Francis and the global Lutheran leader have jointly pledged to remove the obstacles to full unity between their Churches, leading eventually to shared Eucharist.

They made the commitment in a joint statement signed before a congregation of Catholic and Lutheran leaders at the conclusion of a joint service in Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

The statement was signed by Pope Francis and Bishop Munib Younan, who is president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which was founded in Lund in 1947. After they finished signing, the congregation stood for a long round of applause as the two leaders hugged each other.

The two leaders appeared to single out married couples where one partner is Catholic and the other Lutheran. “Many members of our communities yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression of full unity,” they noted.

“We experience the pain of those who share their whole lives, but cannot share God’s redeeming presence at the Eucharistic table,” they said, adding: “We acknowledge our joint pastoral responsibility to respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ.”

“We long for this wound in the Body of Christ to be healed,” they continued. “This is the goal of our ecumenical endeavors, which we wish to advance, also by renewing our commitment to theological dialogue.”

In their statement, the leaders acknowledged that “Lutherans and Catholics have wounded the visible unity of the Church.”

“Theological differences were accompanied by prejudice and conflicts, and religion was instrumentalized for political ends,” they said, adding later: “Today, we hear God’s command to set aside all conflict. We recognize that we are freed by grace to move towards the communion to which God continually calls us.”

As well as pledging to work towards intercommunion, the leaders prayed that Catholics and Lutherans will be able to witness together to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and work for justice and peace.

“We urge Lutherans and Catholics to work together to welcome the stranger, to come to the aid of those forced to flee because of war and persecution, and to defend the rights of refugees and those who seek asylum,” they said, adding that their “joint service” must also extend to God’s creation.

“We recognize the right of future generations to enjoy God’s world in all its potential and beauty,” they continued. “We pray for a change of hearts and minds that leads to a loving and responsible way to care for creation.”

The Pope and Lutheran leader ended by calling on their respective parishes and communities to be “bold and creative, joyful and hopeful in their commitment to continue the great journey ahead of us.”

They concluded: “Rooted in Christ and witnessing to him, we renew our determination to be faithful heralds of God’s boundless love for all humanity.”

 

Here’s the full text of the pope’s homily at the service for the 500th anniversary of the reformation.

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42 Responses to Catholic and Lutheran Churches pledge to work for shared Eucharist

  1. John says:

    I suppose that Pope Francis will be criticized for this, as usual, by the more pious and and better ‘Catholic’ bloggers on this site.

  2. johnhenrycn says:

    There cannot be intercommunion because Lutherans deny the Real Presence. God help us.

  3. johnhenrycn says:

    All Protestants deny the Real Presence.

  4. Brother Burrito says:

    A baby doesn’t have to understand the biochemistry of nutrition to be able to benefit from its mother’s milk. Similarly, a 7 year old doesn’t have to understand transubstantiation to benefit from the Graces received via Holy Communion. It is impossible for an innocent little child to receive it unworthily.

    Any Lutheran of good will should be allowed to receive the Sacrament if they are willing to make themselves like a little child before it.

    Holy Communion is less of a meal and more like a transplant and transfusion of Divine Life. It is offered by God as a means of spiritual resuscitation to us, festering sinners. It isn’t a reward for self-righteousness. We all must do whatever we can so that as many souls as possible can receive it.

    In the fog of war, sometimes one has to try something in the hope it will work. In medicine this is called a therapeutic trial.

    (Sorry JH if all that was too cliched).

  5. Brother Burrito says:

    John,

    I published your comment so that I could reply to it.

    Why the ad hominem? Is that what Christ wants you to do in His Name?

  6. Roger says:

    The Holy sacrifice of the Mass is the perpetual sacrifice offered by the priest celebrant by virtue of the Communion of the priest celebrant.
    The Lutherans do not believe in the Perpetual Sacrifice but in Justification by Faith.

    Communion isn’t the Holy sacrifice of the Mass because at the Last Supper Our Lord had Not then suffered the Passion.

    1/ A Catholic cannot worship an unconsecrated bread because this is idolatry
    (A Lutheran minister – isn’t an Ordained Priest)

    2/ Catholic priest and Lutheran communicant
    1 Corinthians 11
    27 Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.

  7. johnhenrycn says:

    “Any Lutheran of good will should be allowed to receive the Sacrament if they are willing to make themselves like a little child before it.”

    Very Gnostic of you, old chap, which is why I’m so disappointed to conclude this is exactly what good Pope Francis intends for the sacramental reality of the Church. “He turns it into raw material for spiritual virtuosos to use as they see fit… to manipulate in accord with internal desires, choices and self-constructed projects.” First Things, November 2016, page 68, column 3.
    For the first 2.5+ years of his pontificate (a genuine pontificate) I cut him a lot of slack – as my 3000+ posting history shows – but I’m thoroughly discouraged now (as if he cares). There is only one True Faith, mind: No Salvation Outside Of etc., but we will do well to pray. I’ve heard that when good Pope Francis was a mere Archbishop in the southern hemisphere, he was known as the “eel” by his colleagues. Very slippery, they say.

  8. johnhenrycn says:

    “First Things, November 2016, page 68, column 3.”
    Column 2 actually.

  9. mmvc says:

    Any Lutheran of good will should be allowed to receive the Sacrament if they are willing to make themselves like a little child before it.

    BB, why limit access to the Sacrament to any child-like Lutheran of good will? Why not any baptised Christian or even non-Christian of the same disposition?

    No, this isn’t Church teaching. Unity can only subsist in the Truth. In the full acceptance of Catholic Truth.

  10. Brother Burrito says:

    mmvc,

    “Unity can only subsist in the Truth. In the full acceptance of Catholic Truth.”

    Such as is exhibited by 7 year olds in their innocent ignorance?

    We all must become youngsters again before the Blessed Sacrament, as if for the first time, and meet Christ there.

    All of us who adorn ourselves with His Holy Name, that is.

  11. johnhenrycn says:

    Since the Spring of 2016, Brother Burrito has become a bit loosey-goosey. He’s always been a generous, kind person – never, ever snide like some others I could mention – but something has changed in his life which has made him less stringent in his views. For better or for worse, I guess.

  12. Brother Burrito says:

    Gee, thanks for the faint praise JH!

    I’ll tell you what has changed: For decades scruples kept me away from the Blessed Sacrament. I was always unworthy to receive Him

    Then this year, I threw myself upon His Mercy, made my Confession, and walking up to receive, I prayed like the priest does “Let [this] not bring me condemnation, but health in mind and body”.

    Guess what, my feelings of unworthiness promptly left me, to be replaced by a hunger for Holy Communion. Holy Mass now is the high point of my life each week, instead of being an unwelcome chore. Yep, I’m still a sinner, but my therapy is in progress, thanks be to God.

    If I seem a bit loosey-goosey to you, I must say in all charity that you seem a bit bilious-hideous to me of late. Is there anything eating you? I pray not.

  13. mmvc says:

    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders.” It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible

    1401 When, in the Ordinary’s judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions.

    This is the teaching of the Church. As Catholics we do not have the luxury of making up our own rules.

  14. Brother Burrito says:

    mmvc,

    No, we do not have the luxury of making up our own rules. Agreed!

    The Ordinary for the whole world is the Pope. If he considers it a grave necessity, then he can authorise his ministers to administer the Life-giving sacraments to those giving evidence etc.

    The Catholic Church must be generous, like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are.

  15. mmvc says:

    The Ordinary for the whole world is the Pope. If he considers it a grave necessity, then he can authorise his ministers to administer the Life-giving sacraments to those giving evidence etc.

    We’ll have to wait and see if he chooses to do that on a bigger scale. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t done so yet.

  16. Roger says:

    “..
    In their statement, the leaders acknowledged that “Lutherans and Catholics have wounded the visible unity of the Church.” “Theological differences were accompanied by prejudice and conflicts, and religion was instrumentalized for political ends,”
    ..”

    The above is calling the Holy Ghost a liar and denying Papal Infallibility.
    Pope Leo X Excommunicated Luther .

    St Pio said Luther is in Hell.
    The Faith tells Us that Luther is in Hell.

    Matthew 18
    18 Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.

    31st October 2016 will go down as the Day that Rome Lost the Faith because this is denying that Pope Leo X acted with Christ Authority.

  17. Bryant Ramos says:

    In their statement, the leaders acknowledged that “Lutherans and Catholics have wounded the visible unity of the Church.”

    United we stand, divided we fall, no?
    I admit I jumped on the no love for Martin Luther bandwagon, I could not wrap my sinner heart around the idea of Pope Francis having anything good to say about the man Martin Luther.
    Why not be the generation that pulls together what was once torn apart, why not show the rest of the world how peace is made?
    Am I dreaming too big?
    God bless this move towards peace.

  18. JabbaPapa says:

    Lutheran ministers are not priests, and so it is not in principle licit for a Catholic to participate in their counterfeit “communion” rites.

    But — some Lutherans do profess that in Eucharist is the Real Presence of the Lord in Flesh and Blood, and it has been licit for a very long time that these, in certain particular circumstances, assuming no other cause, could be admitted to Holy Communion.

    This could only change if the Lutherans, or some part of their clergy, abandoned the specific doctrines preventing the transmission of Apostolic Succession, even were this not to constitute full return to Catholicity — the Lutherans who affirm the Dogma of the Real Presence in Eucharist could then be considered as in a situation similar to the Orthodox whereby, with Episcopal authorisation, Orthodox Christians can take Communion at Catholic Masses.

  19. mmvc says:

    But — some Lutherans do profess that in Eucharist is the Real Presence of the Lord in Flesh and Blood, and it has been licit for a very long time that these, in certain particular circumstances, assuming no other cause, could be admitted to Holy Communion.

    This could only change if the Lutherans, or some part of their clergy, abandoned the specific doctrines preventing the transmission of Apostolic Succession, even were this not to constitute full return to Catholicity — the Lutherans who affirm the Dogma of the Real Presence in Eucharist could then be considered as in a situation similar to the Orthodox whereby, with Episcopal authorisation, Orthodox Christians can take Communion at Catholic Masses.

    What about the many Lutheran church groupings (such as the Church of Sweden) whose teachings on homosexuality and other questions of morality are at variance with Catholic teaching? Would they not need to abandon their errors before receiving Holy Communion “in certain particular circumstances”? Or is that covered by the “no other cause” clause?

  20. John says:

    Brother Burrito Oct 31@21.26.

    I expect what Christ wants me to do in His name is to refrain from the continual carping criticism, as evidenced on this blog, aimed at his Vicar on Earth, Pope Francis, and to express dismay at this unfortunate tendency of Modern style Catholics who feel they have a licence to do so.

  21. JabbaPapa says:

    Would they not need to abandon their errors before receiving Holy Communion “in certain particular circumstances”? Or is that covered by the “no other cause” clause?

    Yes and yes.

    Handily, Cardinal Koch has made a statement concerning the more general problem here :

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/11/01/vatican-cardinal-explains-limits-of-eucharistic-sharing/

    The term hospitality is used to refer to welcoming guests to the Eucharist on special occasions or under special circumstances as long as they recognise the sacrament as the real presence of Christ.

    Eucharist Communion, on the other hand, refers to a more regular situation of the reception of Communion by people recognised as belonging to the same family.

  22. mmvc says:

    Thanks, Jabba.

    You may find Fr Hunwicke’s thoughts on Lund interesting:

    Lund
    Well, I do not feel a need to be embarrassed by my Prophecy that at Lund nothing horrendous would actually be done with regard to ‘Intercommunion’. I am always happiest when I have been proved right. This is why I am so happy most of the time.

    The assertion that both Catholics and Lutherans have wounded the visible unity of the Church seems to me radically similar to the language about ‘wounds’ in Cardinal Ratzinger’s Communionis notio.

    I would want to qualify the Holy Father’s suggestion that ‘more unites us than divides us’ by entering a distinguo: I would deem this to be true with regard to many very worthy orthodox Lutherans, but I believe there is evidence that some Lutherans, not least in Sweden, are way out in some quasi-gnostic stratosphere where very little of the Christian God survives. I suspect that there might be Lutherans who would themselves agree with this analysis, and who would be uneasy about ‘Intercommunion’ with such “fellow Lutherans”.

    I disliked most a sly little suggestion that Catholics and Lutherans should be ‘creative’ in their relationships. It seemed to me an example of a dodgy and very typically Bergoglian trick: the use of words which in themselves cannot reasonably be deemed heterodox, but do represent the tiniest of toes gingerly inserted into doors so that those doors can gradually in the future be prised further and unacceptably open.

    However, I have my own, immensely creative, suggestion. The erection of a Lutheran Ordinariate, in which Lutherans who are still Christians would retain their own Patrimony in the full Communion and Magisterium of the Catholic Church. I am not convinced that this is as ludicrous a proposal as most of my readers probably will. I bet Papa Ratzinger would have been open to it.

    Yes, Fr Hunwicke, because Papa Ratzinger was not a pope of blah, blah, but a pope of genuine Christian unity.

  23. Toad says:

    Make that:

    Cathlicans and Lutherics.
    Pinheads dancing on a angel.

    Meanwhile, life goes on.

    (eyes very poor.)

  24. kathleen says:

    Well said, mmvc.

    This is a very interesting article about “Some Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Revolt“. Quite clearly, nothing to celebrate in “The Devastation of Catholic Europe”!

    Martin Luther was a willful heretic – no doubt about it – but that is not to say that all his followers are like him. The Lutheran, NEO, who has commented here in the past, is a great guy with very Catholic ideas. I also have some wonderful Lutheran friends (he is German and his wife, Spanish), and although we have to keep away from theological discussions unfortunately, they are very Christan in outlook and we enjoy their company.
    I would like to evangelise them, but that would be called proselytism and considered ‘unecumenical’ nowadays. 😉

    P.S. The very idea of a “shared Eucharist” is still an abomination though. There is only one way Lutherans can partake of Holy Communion – embracing the Truth and fullness of the teaching of the Catholic Church. Nothing has changed here, however hard the Modernists try it on.

  25. Brother Burrito says:

    Eels make good pies, and good pies are all about solidarity,

    or so I’m told.

  26. Toad says:

    “I would like to evangelise them, but that would be called proselytism and considered ‘unecumenical’ nowadays.😉”
    If I may say so, Kathleen, that’s a very odd – nay, bizarre, reason – coming from you.
    Are you sure it’s not that you just don’t want to make them cross? Fie! (insert smiley face)

    …Why do you think your friends are Lutheran heretics, anyway? Any ideas?

  27. kathleen says:

    Well, Toad, that was said a bit tongue-in-cheek really. But of course, if the opportunity were to arise, I would defend the Holy Catholic Church, tooth and nail… as you would expect of me! 😉

    …Why do you think your friends are Lutheran heretics, anyway? Any ideas?

    My answer would have to be the same for any Protestant who has not embraced the Catholic Church. In the words of the immortal GKC: they have not been shown that “it is the sole guardian of truth”. There is such a lot of anti-Catholic propaganda abounding in the world (and Luther himself was its instigator in spreading hatred and falsehoods abroad) that many people, even sincere Protestants, having been brainwashed since birth, cannot sift through the bias and lies to discover the One True Church.

    Ven. Fulton Sheen said something similar to old Gil when talking about the U.S.: “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

  28. kathleen says:

    This video below from ‘Lutheran Satire’ is hilariously funny; it might even make our Jabba smile 😉 !

    As Father Z asks: “We have to laugh at ourselves once in a while. Right?”

    Right! 😆

    P.S. Some good comments too on Father Z’s post of the video.

  29. Toad says:

    “As Father Z asks: “We have to laugh at ourselves once in a while. Right?”
    It’s an even better idea ro laugh at ourselves all the time. We are all mad. (Even Jabba.)

  30. kathleen says:

    We are all mad.

    Hmmm, can’t say I entirely agree with you there, Toad, but do talk for yourself by all means! 😉
    But we are all sinners for sure, and we all do, say and think mad, silly, wicked things at times, requiring The Good Shepherd to come and seek us out, to carry His repentant ‘sheep’ back home to the Father again.
    Like St Paul we can so often say of ourselves: “I don’t understand what I am doing. For I don’t practice what I want to do, but instead do what I hate.”

    Yes, we know we are weak and stupid fallen humans, and that without God’s grace we would be lost.
    Sadly, Martin Luther, so pumped up with pride, thought himself divine!

  31. John says:

    Kathleen@11.48. Where did you find that Luther ‘thought himself divine’?

    Reformed by a moderator. Mr Kehoe, kindly play the ball and not the other player.

  32. johnhenrycn says:

    Pope Embraces His Esteemed Sister, “Archbishop” Antje Jackelen, primate of the Lutheran church in Sweden.

    If that isn’t sad enough, the Cause of the heroic Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac (d.1960) of Croatia, who was beatified in 1998, has suffered a setback due to yet another instance of ecumenical pandering to our “brothers” in Christ by good Pope Francis:

    The detailed Positio with its numerous personal testimonies was approved. Miracles were verified. An announcement was even made in February 2014 by Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, suggesting canonisation was imminent. At this juncture, however, the leadership of the Serbian Orthodox Church, acting in collaboration with the Serbian government, intervened directly with the Pope. Francis – doubtless to the surprise of the Serbs as much as the Croats, let alone the Vatican – decided the decision would be postponed.

    The Long Battle To Clear A Cardinal’s Name

    And if even that isn’t sad enough, now we learn of pandering (so it seems) by good Pope Francis to the Chinese Communist dictatorship.

    A Year of Mercy? A Long Lent, more like.

    God bless good Pope Francis.

  33. JabbaPapa says:

    We are all mad. (Even Jabba.)

    God Willing, we may yet be able to accuse each other of insanity face-to-face some time next year chez Peaceable ?

    I certainly hope so.

  34. JabbaPapa says:

    Pope Embraces His Esteemed Sister, “Archbishop” Antje Jackelen, primate of the Lutheran church in Sweden.

    …. aaaaaaaaand then forcefully reminds everyone that no woman can become a priest.

    AFAIK, embraces do not constitute heresy, nor sacrilege, nor blasphemy. OTOH, to attack a Pope for providing such embraces is idiotic.

  35. GC says:

    I wouldn’t have called that ‘forcefully’.

  36. kathleen says:

    Well, most Catholics appear to agree that the Pope should never have gone to Sweden in the first place to ‘celebrate’ such a thorn in the Church’s side as the breaking apart of Christendom… And the part played in this revolt by the heretic, Luther! Then Pope Francis would not have put himself into such an embarrassing and hypocritical situation as having to embrace a dressed up, so-called ‘archbishopress’*.
    *(Oops, my computer dictionary tells me there’s no such word as ‘archbishopress’, however I spell it. Knows better than the Lutherans it would seem!)

    Roberto de Mattei, in an article on Il Tempo and translated for Rorate Caeli, calls the Lund fiasco, “Kneeling before Luther”!

  37. JabbaPapa says:

    Roberto de Mattei … calls the Lund fiasco, “Kneeling before Luther”

    Yes well, one is accustomed to that manner of excited exaggeration from that particular quarter.

  38. kathleen says:

    So you see the Pope’s ecumaniac ecumenical journey to Lund in a favourable light, Jabba? 😯

  39. johnhenrycn says:

    Who cares what Jabber thinks? What I’m interested in right now is how all the other regulars and also the irregulars (cf. good Pope Francis, Frere Rabit, Kehoe, Toad, etc) on this blog would vote on Tuesday, if’n they had a vote. This is going to be the most demented election in the history of the land of the Freemasons and home of the Cleveland Indians. What a bunch of losers.

  40. JabbaPapa says:

    So you see the Pope’s ecumaniac ecumenical journey to Lund in a favourable light, Jabba?

    Oh please.

    Opinions on this matter are not starkly opposed as black versus white.

  41. Toad says:

    Vote? \I’d vote against Trump – i.e., for her.
    Glumly, but without hesitation.
    …But I understand his appeal to the deplorable baskets

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