Letter of the Cardinal Primate of the Netherlands on the question of Eucharistic communion to Protestants proposed by the majority of the German Bishops

- defender of the faith -

LETTER OF CARDINAL PRIMATE DUTCH TO THE QUESTION OF THE MASS COMMUNION TO THE PROTESTANT MAJORITY PROPOSAL FROM THE BISHOPS OF GERMANY

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The German Bishops' Conference It voted overwhelmingly in favor of directives imply that a Protestant married to a Catholic can receive the Eucharist after satisfying a number of conditions: He shall have completed an examination of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibility; He must have affirmed the faith of the Catholic Church, in addition to having "wanted to put an end to serious spiritual hardship and must have a" desire to satisfy the longing for the Eucharist ".

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Seven members of the German Bishops' Conference They voted against these guidelines and asked the opinion of some departments of the Roman Curia. The consequence has been to send a delegation of the German Bishops' Conference, who spoke in Rome with a delegation of the Roman Curia, including the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

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The answer of the Holy Father, given by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the delegation of the German Conference, namely that the Conference should discuss new drafts and groped to reach a unanimous result, If possible, It is completely incomprehensible. The doctrine and practice of the Church concerning the administration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist to Protestants are perfectly clear. The Code of Canon Law says about it:

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"If there is danger of death or if, the diocesan Bishop or the Episcopal Conference, urgesse other grave necessity, Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the same sacraments to other Christians who do not have full communion with the Catholic Church, which can not access the minister of their own community and ask them spontaneously, provided that manifest, these sacraments, the Catholic faith and are properly disposed " [Code of Canon Law, can. 844 § 4; Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 1400].

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This therefore concerns only emergency cases, especially where it is a danger of death.

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The inter-communion is, in principle, only possible with Orthodox Christians, because the Oriental Churches, although not in full communion with the Catholic Church, They have true sacraments and above all, by virtue of apostolic succession, a valid priesthood and Eucharist [Catechism of the Church Catolica n. 1400, Code of Canon Law, can. 844, § 3]. Their faith in the priesthood, Eucharist and also in the Sacrament of Penance is equal to that of the Catholic Church.

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Instead, Protestants do not share the belief in the priesthood and the Eucharist. Most German Protestants are Lutheran. The Lutherans believe in consubstantiation, which implies the belief that, in addition to the body and blood of Christ are really present also the bread and wine, in the moment in which they are received. If someone receives the bread and wine without believing this, the Body and Blood of Christ are not really present. Outside this time of receipt, There remain only the bread and wine and are not present the body and blood of Christ.

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Obviously, the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation differs essentially from that of the Catholic transubstantiation which implies faith that what is received under the figures of the bread and wine, even if he administered to someone who does not believe in transubstantiation and even outside the administration time, remain the Body and Blood of Christ because we are no longer the substance of bread and wine.

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For these essential differences should not administer communion to a Protestant, although married to a Catholic, because the Protestant does not live in full communion with the Catholic Church and, therefore, He does not explicitly share faith in the Eucharist. The differences between the belief in transubstantiation consubstantiation and that are so big that you really must demand that someone who wants to receive communion explicitly and formally enter into full communion with the Catholic Church (except in a case of danger of death) and confirm this explicitly to accept the faith of the Catholic Church, including the Eucharist. An examination of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibility does not give sufficient guarantees that the person involved really accept the faith of the Church. accepting, the person can still do only one thing: enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

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The drafts for the guidelines of the German Bishops' Conference They suggest that this is just a few cases of Protestants, married to Catholics, they would like to receive communion, making use of these directives. However, experience shows that in practice these numbers usually become larger. Protestants, married a Catholic, seeing other Protestant married to a Catholic to receive communion, They think they can do the same. And in the end even unmarried Protestant and Catholics will want to receive it. The overall experience with this type of regulations shows that the criteria will spread rapidly.

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Now the Holy Father informed the delegation of the German Bishops' Conference that will discuss new drafts for a pastoral document on the administration of Communion, among other things, and groped to find unanimity. Unanimity on what? Assuming that all members of the German Bishops' Conference, after having discussed again, decide unanimously that one can administer communion to the Protestant married to a Catholic (This does not happen), This - although contrary to what they say about the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church - will become the new practice in the Catholic Church in Germany? The practice of the Catholic Church, founded on his faith, is determined and you do not change statistically when a majority of the Bishops' Conference votes in favor of this, even making it unanimously.

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What say the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church They should have been the reaction of the Holy Father, as the successor of St. Peter, is "the both of the multitude of the faithful perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops' [cf. Lumen Gentium n. 23]. The Holy Father would have to give to the delegation of the German Bishops Conference of clear guidelines, based on sound doctrine and practice of the Church. So he should also answer the Lutheran woman who asked him 15 November 2015 if he could receive communion with his Catholic spouse: this is not acceptable, instead of suggesting that she could receive communion according to his being baptized, according to his conscience. Renouncing to clarify, It creates great confusion among the faithful and endangers the unity of the Church. They do so even the cardinal publicly offering to bless same-sex relationships, which is diametrically opposed to the doctrine of the Church, based on Sacred Scripture, namely that marriage, in the order of creation, It exists only between a man and a woman.

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Noting that the bishops and especially the successor of Peter missing in the hold and transmit faithfully and drives the deposit of faith, contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I can not think Article 675 the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

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"Before the coming of Christ, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems, the price of apostasy from the truth ".

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X Willem Jacobus Card. Eijk

Archbishop of Utrecht

Primate of the Church of Holland

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One thought on "Letter of the Cardinal Primate of the Netherlands on the question of Eucharistic communion to Protestants proposed by the majority of the German Bishops

  1. Today is 10 They may and have already gone already 5 days since the Primate of the Church of Holland officially announced to the entire catholicity “THE SUCCESSOR OF PETER TO KEEP MISSING AND TRANSMIT FAITHFULLY AND UNITS’ THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH”: maybe I missed something, but it seems that there is calm Oltretevere…

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