Professors attest theological deficits to the Vatican

Dhe dispute between the Vatican and the churches in Germany over ecumenical hospitality at the Lord’s Supper continues. The FAZ has received a new paper from the “Ecumenical Working Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians” (ÖAK), in which the committee insists that the faithful may in future participate in the Lord’s Supper of the other denominations on the basis of a decision of conscience. The Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Luis Cardinal Ladaria, warned the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) urgently against such a step in September. The DBK chairman, Bishop Georg Bätzing from Limburg, is the board of the ÖAK.

Reinhard Bingener

Political correspondent for Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Bremen based in Hanover.

“Doctrinal comments” were attached to the letter from Cardinal Ladaria, which essentially accuse the ÖAK of representing a Protestant concept of theology and church and of dissolving the unity of the Eucharist, church and ministry. The ÖAK certifies these “doctrinal remarks” from Rome on 26 pages for their part as serious theological deficits. The letter states that the Vatican’s criticism is “not easy to recognize in substance and thrust because of the tortuous train of thought, the many assumptions (‘actually’) and dazzling comparatives (‘rather’). The theologians of the ÖAK are particularly critical of Rome’s assertion that there was a uniform form of the Eucharist in early Christianity and that “unity” with regard to church, ministry and Lord’s Supper was “the criterion of origins”.

Read the original of the document here.

The ÖAK considers it historically and exegetically indisputable that such a normative basic form never existed. In addition, with such an assertion, the church’s magisterium was confronted with new problems. “The not infrequently uncritical idea of ​​continuous development confronts Roman Catholic hermeneutics in particular with immense intellectual challenges,” says the paper. The ÖAK considers the criticism from Rome to be inaccurate and methodologically questionable in many other places.

Luis Francisco Kardinal Ladaria Ferrer


Luis Francisco Kardinal Ladaria Ferrer
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Image: dpa

How to proceed in the debate about the Lord’s Supper is currently being discussed. The faith commission of the DBK meets from Friday to this Saturday. The bishops have proposed to continue the clarification process within the Roman Catholic Church and to stay in close contact with the Vatican. Specifically, an internal expert conference with representatives of Protestant and Orthodox churches as well as an international conference in Rome are planned.

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