Although 2019 just began, it’s possible that this year’s signature doctrinal controversy could also center on the Eucharist.
Rumors are currently making the rounds that Francis may be getting ready for an ecumenical Communion service with Protestants, in particular Lutherans, the details of which have been entrusted to an informal working group. The idea is that despite whatever nuances may separate Lutheran and Catholic understandings of the Eucharist, they would be judged insufficiently serious to prevent mutual reception of the sacrament, at least under certain circumstances.
Such rumors, by the way, have circulated since Francis traveled to Sweden in October of 2016 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and they may very well be inaccurate or exaggerated. Yet the very fact they o at all is revealing, in part because of what that says about people’s perceptions of this pope’s approach to Eucharistic topics.