Catholic World News

Vatican cardinal: allow Communion for Protestant spouse ‘every time’

August 02, 2018

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio has said that the German bishops’ policy, allowing for Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Communion on a regular basis, is consistent with the laws of the Church.

Cardinal Coccopalmerio— who recently retired from his post as president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the Vatican body charged with interpretation of canon law— told Vatican Insider that the law currently allows for Protestants to receive Communion under exceptional circumstances. However, he went on to say that when a Protestant attends Mass together with a Catholic spouse, “We can honestly answer that it is an exceptional case.”

When pressed by Vatican Insider to say whether a Protestant could receive Communion routinely when attending Mass with a Catholic spouse, the cardinal answered in the affirmative.

Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s statement appeared to be a direct contradiction of a recent statement by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Müller had told an Australian Catholic journal that intercommunion, as envisioned in the German bishops’ policy, is “not possible.” Cardinal Müller explained that the reception of the Eucharist is an indication of shared faith, and Protestants do not share the Catholic faith in the Eucharist.

Again Cardinal Coccopalmerio took a contradictory stand. He said that the desire of a Protestant to receive the Eucharist is sufficient evidence of a shared faith. In his words: “It is quite evident that non-Catholic Christians who request access to the Eucharst must have the same faith of the Catholic Church in this sacrament.”

Conceding that Protestants have debated with Catholics about the Eucharist, Cardinal Coccopalmerio argued that these debates are no longer an obstacle to sharing in the sacraments:

But the Catholic Church, especially since Second Vatican Council, has the full conviction that current non-Catholic Christians, if they do not profess the same truths as the Catholic Church, they do so without fault, are in good faith and are therefore in the grace of God.

In fact, the Italian cardinal argued:

Let us be clear: non-Catholic Christians have the spiritual need to receive the conferral of grace through the administration of the sacraments. They therefore have the spiritual need to receive the sacraments. We can also say that non-Catholic Christians have the right to receive the sacraments. And the Catholic Church has the duty to administer the sacraments to these Christians.

 


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  • Posted by: jan02 - Aug. 03, 2018 12:04 AM ET USA

    If a non-Catholic Christian truly believes that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, what would be stopping them from becoming Catholic? Indeed it is the hunger for the Eucharist that has brought many people into the Church. Why do the German Bishops seek to circumvent this?

  • Posted by: Oliver Plunkett - Aug. 02, 2018 7:10 PM ET USA

    This spread of confusion in the Church is diabolical. The laity are like sheep without a shepherd and the wolves are among us. If there are any Bishops reading this, can you please, please, work to get the Holy Father to procllaim the truth, speak up about this injustice to our faith, and put the enemy to flight? Souls are being lost at the hands of our shepherds and they will be held accountable for their silence and inaction. Please help!

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Aug. 02, 2018 6:41 PM ET USA

    Another agenda driven statement. If they have need then get Catholic teaching and accept the Roman Catholic teachings. At the rate this ultraliberal cardinal is going there will be no point in being Catholic. All religion is equal. Hogwash.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Aug. 02, 2018 6:40 PM ET USA

    Another agenda driven statement. If they have need then get Catholic teaching and accept the Roman Catholic teachings. At the rate this ultraliberal cardinal is going there will be no point in being Catholic. All religion is equal. Hogwash.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Aug. 02, 2018 6:34 PM ET USA

    There is something utterly dishonest about this opinion. If the Protestant spouse regularly attends Mass and believes that the Eucharist is what it is, the only logical conclusion is that there is an obligation for the spouse to accept the Catholic faith, and then receive communion. German theology has sunk far below the standards set by Cdl Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.