No objection in principle, but…

“Not Ready”: Vatican blocks German Intercommunion Proposal — for now

Mr. Luis Ladaria, left, and Mr. Reinhard Marx

The Novus Ordo web is abuzz today with news about and reactions to a letter the new head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Destruction of the Faith, “Cardinal-designate” Luis Ladaria, has sent to “Cardinal” Reinhard Marx of Munich, who is the head of the German Conference of Novus Ordo Bishops.

After Germany’s Modernist pseudo-bishops published a document in February of this year which permits the Protestant spouses of Novus Ordos to receive “Holy Communion” — acc. to Walter Kasper, without having to believe in even so much as Transubstantiation, of course — some dissenting “bishops” complained to the Vatican, and so Francis ordered the disputing parties to come to Rome for a meeting. The result? Francis told them to figure it out themselves — he wasn’t going to settle the dispute.

Today, June 4, it was revealed that the German Novus Ordo bishops had received a letter from Mr. Ladaria, dated May 25, that is being interpreted as a “rejection” of the German intercommunion proposal. The Austrian portal broke the story and released a scan of the original letter on its web site (click on the embedded picture to be taken to the full-size image):

Italian Vaticanist Sandro Magister published on his blog translations in several languages of the Ladaria letter. Here is the full text in English — pay close attention to the underlined parts (underlining added by us):

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Prot. N. 212/2018 – 64727

Vatican City
Palace of the Sant’Uffizio

May 25 2018

To His Most Reverend Eminence
Cardinal Reinhard Marx
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
President of the German Episcopal Conference
Kardinal-Faulhaber Str. 7
D-80333 München
Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Your Eminence, Most Illustrious President!

At the end of our fraternal conversation on May 3, 2018 on the document “Mit Christus gehen…” [“Walking with Christ. On the path of unity. Interconfessional marriages and joint participation in the Eucharist. A pastoral guide from the German episcopal conference”] we determined together that I would inform the Holy Father about the meeting.

Already in our audience of May 11 2018 I spoke with Pope Francis about our meeting and gave him a summary of the conversation. On May 24 2018 I again discussed the question with the Holy Father. Following these meetings I would like to bring to your attention the following points, with the explicit approval of the pope.

1. The multiple ecumenical efforts of the German episcopal conference, in a particular way the intense collaboration with the council of the Evangelical Church of Germany, deserve recognition and appreciation. The joint commemoration of the Reformation in 2017 has shown that in recent years and decades a foundation has been found that allows bearing witness together to Jesus Christ, the savior of all men, and working together in an effective and decisive way in many areas of public life. This encourages us to move forward with trust on the road of an ever deeper unity.

2. Our conversation of May 3 2018 showed that the text of the guide raises a series of problems of noteworthy significance. The Holy Father has therefore reached the conclusion that the document is not ready for publication. The essential reasons for this decision can be summarized as follows:

a. The question of admission to communion for evangelical Christians in interconfessional marriages is an issue that touches on the faith of the Church and has significance for the universal Church.

b. This question has effects on ecumenical relations with other Churches and other ecclesial communities that are not to be underestimated.

c. The issue concerns the law of the Church, above all the interpretation of canon 844 CIC. Since in a few sectors of the Church there are open questions in this regard, the dicasteries of the Holy See concerned have already been instructed to produce a timely clarification of these questions at the level of the universal Church. In particular it appears opportune to leave to the diocesan bishop the judgment on the existence of “grave and urgent necessity.”

3. For the Holy Father it is of great concern that in the German episcopal conference the spirit of episcopal collegiality should remain alive. As Vatican Council II has emphasized, “the Episcopal bodies of today are in a position to render a manifold and fruitful assistance, so that this collegiate feeling may be put into practical application” (Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen Gentium” no. 23).

Bringing this to Your attention, I send You fraternal greetings and wishes of blessing.

Yours in the Lord,

Luis F. Ladaria, S.I.
Titular bishop of Thibica


Ladaria also sent carbon copies of this letter to the following German “bishops”: Rainer Woelki of Cologne; Felix Genn of Munster; Karl-Heinz Wiesemann of Speyer; Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg; and Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg.

Although it is true that the Vatican is saying “no” to the intercommunion proposal in this letter, a strict reading of the text suggests that Rome does so only (1) for the time being, and it (2) does not reject the idea in principle at all, it simply (3) considers it inopportune.

Ladaria says that the German intercommunion document “is not ready for publication” (nicht zur Veröffentlichung reif ist). The word appropriately translated as “ready” here is the German reif, which can also be rendered as ripe or mature. This statement admits of some ambiguity because it is not clear whether Ladaria means that the contents of the document are not theologically mature in the sense that the theology is faulty or insufficient and thus may require some revision, or whether he means that the contents are fine but the time isn’t opportune to make this move.

If we look closely at Ladaria’s missive, we find him objecting only for reasons of practical prudence, not of principle. He says:

  • this touches upon the faith and (therefore) impacts the whole church
  • this affects ecumenical relations with other “churches” in a significant way
  • this impacts church law, which might need to be modified first
  • right now you have dissenters in your own ranks when you’re supposed to be collegial

In other words: The repercussions are huge, and we’re not prepared for this, so hold off for now. We need to wait for a more favorable time. There is no objection in principle. Although Ladaria does state that the issue “touches on the faith of the Church”, that is simply a ho-hum observation from Captain Obvious. The new “enforcer of orthodoxy” is not giving the slightest hint that the intercommunion proposal might conflict with the Faith, he merely observes that it “touches on” it. That is not an objection on principle.

And why should the Modernist Vatican object on principle, anyway? They have long admitted Protestants to the Novus Ordo sacraments “for a good reason”, as we have demonstrated on this web site again and again. The main offender in this regard was “Saint” John Paul II, and he was enabled by “Blessed” Paul VI, who laid the groundwork for it at Vatican II. Since, then, such “sacramental sharing” has been admitted in principle, and so it is now merely a question of tweaking the conditions under which it is permitted. In other words, they already have their foot in the door, and now it is just a question of how far they want to push it open without upsetting people too much. Mr. Ladaria instructs Mr. Marx to keep his foot solidly in the door but not to open it any further for the time being.

There’s nothing a good October synod couldn’t accomplish before long.

Image sources: Composite: Wikimedia Commons; Wikimedia Commons (cropped) /
Licenses: CC BY-SA 4.0 (José Santamaria Cruz); CC BY 2.0 (Universität Salzburg) / fair use

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