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Vatican reportedly rejects German bishops’ Communion for Protestants plan

Cardinal Marx (AP)

The Vatican has reportedly rejected a draft proposal from the German bishops to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Communion in some circumstances.

Several outlets report that, with approval from Pope Francis, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rejected the proposal, although exact details have yet to be made public.

The bishops had passed a proposal to allow Protestants who are married to Catholics to receive Communion after making a “serious examination of conscience” with a priest or other person with pastoral responsibilities. They must also “affirm the faith of the Catholic Church”, and wish to end “serious spiritual distress” and a “longing to satisfy hunger for the Eucharist”.

However, a group of bishops led by Cardinal Rainer Woelki strongly criticised the proposal and appealed to Vatican for a ruling.

According to National Catholic Register, several sources in the Vatican and Germany say Archbishop Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the CDF, wrote a letter rejecting the proposal, but that Pope Francis wants the letter to remain secret.

Austrian Catholic news site Kath.net was the first to report the rejection on Wednesday, citing “well-informed Vatican sources”.

However, the German Bishops’ Conference has denied receiving the rejection. A spokeswoman told the Catholic Herald that the bishops had “no knowledge” of any decision.

Sources quoted by National Catholic Register reject this denial, likening it to “throwing sand in one’s eyes” and a case of “smoke and mirrors.”

At time of writing, the exact wording and nature of the reported rejection remain unknown.