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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Vatican cardinal explains limits of Eucharistic sharing

The Catholic Church continues to insist that sharing the Sacrament of Communion will be a sign that Christian Churches have reconciled fully with one another, although in some pastoral situations, guests may be invited to the Eucharist, said Cardinal Kurt Koch.

During Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden, from 31st October to 1st November, the Swiss cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was asked about the possibility of Catholics and Lutherans receiving Communion together.

The Catholic Church, he told reporters, makes a distinction between “Eucharistic hospitality for individual people and Eucharistic communion.”

The term hospitality is used to refer to welcoming guests to the Eucharist on special occasions or under special circumstances as long as they recognise the Sacrament as the real presence of Christ. Eucharist Communion, on the other hand, refers to a more regular situation of the reception of Communion by people recognised as belonging to the same family.

Picture: Archbishop Antje Jackelen, primate of the Lutheran Church in Sweden, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, are seen as Pope Francis arrives on 31st October in Malmo, Sweden. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).