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Cardinal Kasper issues clarification on 'Eucharistic hospitality'

President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity Cardinal Walter Kasper has confirmed his agreement with Pope John Paul II that Protestant Christians should not receive the Eucharist in Catholic Churches.

He also stated that Catholics should not participate in communion services of other denominations, as the reception of the Eucharist implies a common faith that does not exist.

Observers had suggested Kasper's position differed from that of the Pope in his latest encyclical. While he has not specifically disagree with the Pope on the Eucharist, he has argued that there are special circumstances that might warrant a reconsideration of Church discipline.

The reconsideration also touches on the situation of divorced and remarried Catholics. The Pope reaffirmed teaching that such couples should not receive the Eucharist as they are living in a situation that separates them from the sacramental life of the Church.

The Italian magazine 30 Giorni questioned Kaspar about statements he and Cardinal Karl Lehmann had made in 1993, when they said that priests should use "pastoral discernment" in judging whether or not remarried Catholics should receive the Eucharist. Their remarks were widely interpreted as a indication of approval for allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

"We did not affirm that divorced and remarried people, understood as a sociological category, should approach the Eucharist," he told the magazine. "We only suggested that, in evaluating particular cases, pastoral discernment is useful."

Catholic World News


Mixed response in Germany to Papal encyclical on Eucharist (2/5/03)
Australian bishops welcome Papal Encyclical on Eucharist (22/4/03)
Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia of His Holiness Pope John Paul II (full text, Vatican website)
Encyclical reflects pope's own eucharistic devotion, bishop says (Catholic News Service)
Eucharist greatest gift Christ gave church, pope says in encyclical (Catholic News Service)
Pope's encyclical on Eucharist: Summary/analysis (Catholic World News)

22 May 2003