A Lutheran pastor has said he believes Pope Francis “opened the door” to intercommunion when the Holy Father spoke to his church last month, and that his parishioners generally have the same opinion. Pastor Jens Kruse of Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran Church said in a Dec. 12 interview with the Register (see full transcript below) that he thinks his flock feel freer, in accordance with their conscience, to receive the Eucharist in the Catholic Church after Francis’ comments.Though we do not always treat it that way, the language of theology and the language of the ecumenical conversation is carefully chosen so that misunderstandings do not occur. It is pretty clear that either Rome has misunderstood the Pope or the Lutheran Pastor misunderstood him. Either that or the world is upside down and the Pope with the magisterium of Rome is forgetting the Reformation conflict and judging Augustana a catholic confession. But I am pretty sure that this is not the case. This interview took place Dec. 12 and it will not take long for the machinery of the Vatican to start printing a more carefully worded and nuanced statement of what the Pope meant to say or should have said. Either way it shows what a problem Rome has when Popes begin to wing it while the world is listening. And this Pope has a habit of it. Which may or may not be his intention but it does not help the ecumenical conversation one bit!
The Holy Father caused controversy during his visit to Pastor Kruse’s church Nov. 15 when he urged a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic to "talk to the Lord" about receiving holy Communion "and then go forward", but added that he "wouldn’t ever dare to allow this, because it’s not my competence.” (The video of the exchange with English subtitles can be seen here). Some felt the Pope, although his comments were not immediately clear, had by no means allowed intercommunion.
But in this interview, Pastor Kruse says he believes a door has been opened to celebrate the Eucharist together — a door that Lutherans had thought had been closed “for an eternity.” He also says he feels there is “no danger” of a Lutheran receiving the Eucharist “in the wrong way” because he would be “receiving Jesus Christ and not the teachings of the Catholic Church.” He further states that the Pope had introduced a new approach to the Eucharist, no longer viewing it as the end of ecumenism, but rather a “gift on the way to unity”.
His comments in support of Lutherans receiving the Eucharist run contrary to those of Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, who, in a Nov. 30 interview with Aleteia, stressed “there is no intercommunion” between Catholics and Protestants and that it wouldn't create unity but rather “promote profanation”.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
So what did the Lutheran get from Francis' comments?
Read the whole story here... quotes below.