Pope Francis met with a congregation of Lutherans in Rome, giving them a chalice and kind words. Then a woman asked when she might be able to share Holy Communion with her Catholic husband. Read what the Pope said after the jump.
From a transcript posted at Whispers in the Loggia: “Life Is Bigger Than Explanations” – To Rome’s Lutherans, Pope Talks Conscience on Communion:
I can only respond to your question with a question: what can I do with my husband that the Lord’s Supper might accompany me on my path? It’s a problem that each must answer [for themselves], but a pastor-friend once told me that “We believe that the Lord is present there, he is present” – you believe that the Lord is present. And what’s the difference? There are explanations, interpretations, but life is bigger than explanations and interpretations. Always refer back to your baptism – one faith, one baptism, one Lord: this Paul tells us; and then consequences come later.
I would never dare to give permission to do this, because it’s not my own competence. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. [Pauses] And I wouldn’t dare – I don’t dare say anything more.
The very possibility raised by the pontiff is scandalizing conservative Catholics and Orthodox folks like Rod Dreher, who says that sacramental Christianity would be destroyed by intercommunion with the “Protestants.” Nevermind that the Lutheran theology of the Lord’s Supper is probably closer to Rome’s than to that of other Protestants. And that Lutheranism is no less sacramental than Dreher’s own Orthodoxy, also not in fellowship with Rome.
ELCA and members of the Lutheran World Federation would be glad of being able to share Communion with Roman Catholics. Confessional Lutherans–like members of the LCMS, WELS, ELS, and the International Lutheran Council–have their own reasons for rejecting altar fellowship with Rome. We agree with the conservative Catholics and orthodox in being shocked at the Pope’s statement, though from the other side.