German Bishops Publish Intercommunion Handout with a Rhetorical Trick

"The 25 May letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is also mentioned as an “interpretative frame” for this handout. That letter, signed by the CDF Prefect Archbishop Luis Ladaria, told the German bishops, however, not to publish their intercommunion handout. After that letter, Cardinal Marx met with Pope Francis (during his visit for the 11-13 June C9 Council meeting) and was evidently able to convince him to approve of the handout after all – or at least of the compromise in its method of promulgation.

According to a note that the German bishops published today and which is written and signed by Cardinal Marx and then also signed by Pope Francis, the two agreed, on 12 June, first that the 25 May CDF letter “gives some recommendations,” but “does not give instructions” to the German bishops. The text also states that “the Holy Father does not wish that the text appears as a text of the bishops’ conference, because it relates to a dimension of the Universal Church.” The text shall be an “orientation guide” for bishops who “wish in their diocese to work out criteria in accord with can. 844 CIC.” Third, the Pope and the cardinal say that the Roman dicasteries will continue to work on this topic, as well, thereby also looking at the experiences of other bishops’ conferences. Finally, the note states that, “since the text of the German bishops’ conference shall be an orientation guide for individual bishops, it may also be made public for the use of the bishops.”

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