Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By CNA Daily News - Europe (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Vatican cardinal clashes with German theologian over ‘Eucharistic meal fellowship’

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

CNA Staff, Feb 10, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).- A Vatican cardinal has responded to a German theologian who criticized him for opposing a proposal for a “Eucharistic meal fellowship” between Catholics and Protestants.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, answered the criticisms in an open letter dated Feb. 8. 

The six-page letter was addressed to Volker Leppin, a professor of Church history at the University of Tübingen and academic director of the Protestant part of the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians (known by its German initials, ÖAK.)

In a Feb. 3 interview with, the website of the Catholic Church in Germany, Leppin lamented what he called the cardinal’s “brusque dismissal” of a 26-page statement issued by the ÖAK on Jan. 24.

Koch told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, last month that he was surprised by the tone and choice of words in the statement, as well as its content and timing.

In their statement, ÖAK theologians contested a critical assessment of the group’s proposal for a “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality” between Catholics and Protestants by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

The CDF raised concerns last September about a 2019 document prepared by the ÖAK entitled “Together at the Lord’s Table,” which envisaged a “Eucharistic meal fellowship” between Catholics and Protestants.

The study found “the practice of mutual participation at the celebrations of the Holy Communion/Eucharist, respecting each other’s liturgical traditions, to be theologically well-founded.”

The ÖAK was established in 1946 to strengthen ecumenical ties. It is independent of both the German Catholic bishops’ conference and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), an organization representing 20 Protestant groups. But the ÖAK informs both bodies about its deliberations.

CNA Deutsch has previously reported that the ÖAK adopted the intercommunion document under the co-chairmanship of Bishop Georg Bätzing, who is now the president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, and the retired Lutheran Bishop Martin Hein. 

In May 2020, an association of members of the EKD and the bishops’ conference concluded “that the study develops a theological framework for the individual decision of conscience, regarding reciprocal participation in the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper.”

A note on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity’s website said that the CDF’s intervention “had become necessary because the ÖAK study had now been given the status of an expert opinion of the DBK [German bishops’ conference], on ​​the basis of which the individual Catholic bishops were to position themselves in terms of doctrine.”

The bishops’ conference was due to vote on the assessment of the official contact discussion group at the end of September but the vote was postponed due to the CDF’s intervention.

In a letter to Bätzing, the doctrinal congregation said that the proposal did not do justice to the Catholic understanding of the Church, the Eucharist, and Holy Orders. 

The CDF cautioned against any steps towards intercommunion between Catholics and members of the EKD.

In his open letter, Koch denied that he was refusing to engage with the ÖAK’s arguments. He also highlighted what he called a “serious discrepancy” between the ÖAK’s claims and common practice in Protestant churches. 

The Swiss cardinal offered the example of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN), one of the member churches of the EKD. He noted that the EKHN invites people who have not been baptized to take part in the Lord’s Supper service. 

Koch said that this practice contradicted the ÖAK’s claim that there is a “basic understanding” concerning an analogous “recognition” to baptism also in the “respective liturgical form of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.”

“If, on the one hand, baptism and the mutual recognition of baptism are considered to represent the foundation of ecumenism, and if, on the other hand, an ecumenical partner relativizes baptism in such a way that it is no longer even a prerequisite for participation in the Lord’s Supper, the question must be allowed as to just who is questioning the foundation of ecumenism here,” Koch wrote in his open letter.

The cardinal said he was surprised “that such discrepancies between claimed ecumenical consensuses and the factual reality in the Protestant churches are not noted by the members of the ÖAK or, if they are, are not voiced, at least only in an extremely minimal way.”

Koch nevertheless expressed gratitude that the ecumenical study group had invested “a lot of energy and passion” in overcoming questions that divide Catholics and Protestants. But he said that such steps could only truly succeed by confronting “concrete reality.” 

He added that unresolved questions should be named openly and then addressed.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Load more ...




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.