Pope Francis has asked the Catholic bishops’ conference of Germany not to publish nationwide guidelines for allowing Protestants married to Catholics to receive Communion at Mass, but to continue having diocesan bishops judge specific situations.
Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, confirmed the authenticity of a letter published June 4 on the Italian blog Settimo Cielo.
“The Holy Father has reached the conclusion that the document has not matured enough to be published,” said the letter signed by Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.The prefect had hosted a meeting May 3 with a group of German bishops, including supporters and opponents of the document, and with officials from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
A Vatican statement issued at the end of the meeting said, “Pope Francis appreciates the ecumenical commitment of the German bishops and asks them to find, in a spirit of ecclesial communion, a result as unanimously as possible.”
Ladaria’s letter said he spoke to Francis specifically about the proposed guidelines and the early May meeting on two occasions and mentioned how the Germans’ proposal raises “a series of problems of notable importance.”