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Hopes for shared communion

ROME (SE): “I hope that the next declaration opens the way for shared Eucharistic communion in special cases,” Walter Cardinal Kasper said in expressing his hope for ecumenical progress through intercommunion.

Speaking to Avvenire, published by the Bishops’ Conference of Italy, on December 10, Cardinal Kasper said, “Personally, I hope that we can use an unofficial text, prepared by a commission in the bishops’ conference of the United States of America (US), regarding this subject.”

LifeSiteNews reported on December 14 that he believes that intercommunion is just a matter of time. He wants to apply the same principle that is being argued for in the case of remarried divorcees to receive communion under special circumstances to mixed marriages.

He called it a rule of exception and holds high hopes for the admission of Lutherans to Catholic communion, particularly in family settings.

“The next declaration will open the Eucharistic sharing in particular situations, especially in mixed marriages and families, and in countries like Germany and the US where this pastoral problem is extremely pressing,” he said.

The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity explained that communion is an ultimate aim, rather than a means of ecumenism and that it can only be achieved after full visible communion of Lutherans with the Catholic Church.

But he hopes that shared communion will also become a means of resolving the division and it only seems to be halted by what he called rigid forces in the Church.

“But we cannot expect miracles,” Cardinal Kasper said. “I hope that this year will serve to complete the way of reciprocal knowledge that encourages dialogue and brings forth the decision to walk together into the future.”

He added that while he knows that unity will subsist in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, he hopes that will continue to increase until the end of time.

But at the same time he regretted that in the present state of our relations with other traditions we still lack much necessary mutual belief and understanding.

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