(Rome) Pope Francis visite the Evangelical Lutheran community of Rome on November 15th. That had been done before him by John Paul II. and Benedict XVI., albeit with slightly different accents. Pope Francis responded to some questions. The second question asked by Anke de Bernardinis, made a veiled question for Pope Francis to answer her question if after the interreligious general audience of 28 October, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rome there would be intercommunion? Which understanding does Pope Francis have of Eucharist? The word "Eucharist" was never used by the Pope, instead, he used the Protestant community's preferred expression "Lord's Supper" throughout.
My name is Anke de Bernardinis and like many people in my community, I'm married to an Italian who is a Roman Catholic Christian. We lived together happily for many years and share the joys and pains. It hurts us very much to be separated by faith, and not to be able to go together to the Lord's Supper. Would that we could do at last as community [ital. comunione] to reach this point?
Pope Francis: Thank you, madam. [Silence]
When asked together to share the Lord's Supper, it is not easy for me to answer you, especially not in the presence of theologians like Cardinal Kasper! I'm afraid! [laughs;laughter; Applause]
I think that the Lord has told us when he gave us this mandate: "Do this in remembrance of me". And if we share the Lord's Supper, remember and imitate him, we do the same, that the Lord Jesus has done. And the Lord's supper, there will be the last banquet in the New Jerusalem, but that will be the last. On the way, however, I wonder - and I do not know how to answer, but will make your question my own - I ask myself: Is this common Lord's Supper the goal of a path or it is to go the provision for the road to go together? I leave the question to the theologians, those who understand something of it.
It is true that in some ways that there are no differences between us; that we have the same doctrine - I underline the word, a difficult-to-understand word - but I wonder: But have we not the same baptism? And if we have the same baptism, then we have to go together.
They are a testimony of a deep path, because it is a conjugal way, a way of the family, of human love and said shared faith. We have the same baptism. If you feel as a sinner - and I feel myself very much a sinner - if your husband feels like a sinner, then you go to the Lord and ask him for forgiveness; your husband does the same and goes to the priest and asks for absolution. This is a help to keep the baptism alive.
When you pray together, this baptism is growing strongly; if you teach your children who Jesus is, why Jesus came, what Jesus has done for us, you are doing the same whether in the Lutheran language or in the Catholic language, but it is the same. The Question: And the Supper? There are issues on which one, if one is honest with himself and with the few theological "Lumina", which I have, nonetheless must respond, see for yourself. "This is my body, this is my blood," the Lord has said, "do this in remembrance of me", and that's a provision on the way which helps us to go. I had a great friendship with a 48-year-old, married Anglican bishop with two children and he had this difficulty: a Catholic wife, Catholic children, himself a bishop. He accompanied his wife and children on Sunday for Mass, then went and directed the worship with his community. It was a step of participation in the Lord's Supper. Then he was gone, the Lord has called him, a righteous man. On your question I will pose to you only one question: How can I go with my husband, so that the Lord's Supper accompanies me on my way? This is a problem that everyone must answer. But a pastor friend told me: "We believe that the Lord is there at present. He is present. You believe that the Lord is present. And where is the difference?" ---- "Ah, there are the statements, interpretations ... ".
Life is greater than the explanations and interpretations. Take always with respect to the baptism: "One faith, one baptism, one Lord," Paul tells us, and draw the consequences. I'll never dare to give permission to do this, because it is not my responsibility. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Speak with the Lord and continue. I do not dare to say more. [Applause]
The video for the answer
That's how Pope Francis answered the question of a Lutheran. Did Pope Francis in his response urge inter-communion? Is the answer of the head of the Catholic Church to be taken seriously: "I'm not saying that you should do it, but do it!"? What theological reasoning is this guide to action based on a question that has separated the Protestant denominations of the Catholic Church for half a millennium.
The video with the original sound begins at the point where the appropriate question is asked.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Bild: CTV (Screenshots)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org