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Pope Francis encouraged a Lutheran woman to decide for herself whether she should receive Communion when she attends Mass with her Catholic husband.
The Pope made his stunning remark—which seems to conflict with the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1400) on intercommunion—during a November 15 visit to the Christuskirche, the home of the Evangelical Lutheran community in Rome.
The Pontiff engaged in a short question-and-answer session with parishioners at the Christuskirche, then joined them in praying Vespers and delivered a short homily.
The most noteworthy question for the Pope was posed by a woman who asked why she could not join with her husband in receiving Communion at a Catholic church. “I ask yourself what you’re asking me,” Pope Francis replied. “I ask myself the same question.”
Saying that “I’m scared” to delve into the theological issues involved, the Pope, he said:
I leave this question to theologians, to those who understand. It is true that in a certain sense sharing means saying that there is no difference between us, that we have the same doctrine—stressing that word, which is a difficult word to understand. But do we not have the same Baptism? And if we have the same Baptism, we should walk together.
The Pontiff declined to address the differences between the Catholic and Lutheran understandings of the Eucharist. “You believe the Lord is present,” he said. “And what’s the difference? There are explanations and interpretations, but life is bigger than explanations and interpretations.”
Returning to the woman’s question, the Pope said: “There are questions that only if one is sincere with oneself and the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own. See for yourself.” He went on:
I would never dare give permission to do this as it is not my competence. One Baptism, one Lord, one faith. Speak with the Lord and go ahead. I dare not say any more.
In his homily following the Vespers service, the Pope said that both Catholics and Lutherans must offer each other forgiveness for the violence of past conflicts. He also said that joint prayer and liturgical services will bring Christians closer together.
In greeting the Pope to the Christuskirche, the pastor, Rev. Jeans-Martin Kruse, reminded his congregation that this was the 3rd appearance by a Roman Pontiff at the Lutheran church. St. John Paul II visited in December 1983 (when the church was marking the 500th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther), and Pope Benedict XVI in March 2010.
November 16, 2015
– See more at: http://www.catholicculture.org