Wednesday, September 30, 2020


This new adoration chapel is built within this parish's main church! When I was in Macon, a visitor to our beautiful church came up to me and said, "whoever built this church really must have loved the Lord."  I think we can say the same about this chapel.

New Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at St. Catharine's Church in Columbus, Ohio

New Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at St. Catharine's Church in Columbus, Ohio

We were recently contacted about the completion of a new  Eucharistic Adoration Chapel  at St. Catharine Church in Columbus, Ohio.  The chapel includes an altar, tabernacle with throne, ambo and Stations of the Cross. In addition, eight stained glass windows depicting saints …


 Press title for article:

Cardinal Pell Returns to Rome, as Legal Proceedings Against Cardinal Becciu Are Being Organized

The Australian cardinal’s return is unrelated to the scandal enveloping the Italian cardinal, but previously they had opposing perspectives on how to oversee Vatican financial management.

Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal George Pell (photo: Alexey Gotovsky / CNA)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020




 Which is that four week preparation for the most important Feast of the Liturgical Year: Halloween. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Forget about Columbus Day, Forget about Thanksgiving and certainly forget about Xmas. Halloween trumps all of that in importance.

In my rectory neighborhood, I have already seen houses decorated with goblins and ghouls and orange lights. That makes me angry because we should prepare for Halloween 🎃 during this Advent Season, not celebrate it. The month of November should celebrate the Season of Halloween. 

But, all kidding aside, I saw this at Liturgical Arts Journal:

A (Pre-55) All Hallows Eve Devotional Booklet from Ancilla Press

A (Pre-55) All Hallows Eve Devotional Booklet from Ancilla PressIt sometimes comes as a surprise to Catholics -- especially (if not also ironically) of those who tend to be of a more traditional bent -- that what we call "Halloween" was an official liturgical vigil of the Church. As such, it has had its own proper Office and M…

But I have a question, when I was a child in the late 1950’s and early 60’s in Georgia, Halloween was a one day celebration for children to get dressed up in costumes and get candy and other goodies as they went door to door saying “trick or treat.” Sometimes “hoods” in the neighborhood would pull pranks small and big but that was the extent of it. Decorations usually went up the night before or the day of. Most houses had carved pumpkins but some went all out with a horror scene in their yard quickly removed after the day of Halloween.

Today, it seems to have morphed into an adult venue, a bit darker and no hint of it being the Eve of All Hallows’. 

The Alleluia Charismatic Community in Augusta will have nothing to do with ghosts and goblins, they insist their children dress up as saints and martyrs. My favorite costume is Saint Denis, with his head in hands. For them it truly is an All Hallows’ Eve. 

By the way the Alleluia Community in Augusta, while ecumenical, is primarily Catholic and is exactly the same kind of community that our new Supreme Court nominee belongs to. 

Monday, September 28, 2020



I believe the Democratic Party has inherited in a secular way the puritanical leanings of our country’s founding. Of course it is a secular Puritanism, not religious. Thus in a campaign pitch, Candidate Biden says he will make mask wearing a national law and one’s patriotic duty. 

Patriotic duty? Is that manipulation? Is that Puritanism?

Religious people manipulate people to wear masks not by cogent biological reasons but rather making it a religious issue, one of altruism striving to protect those most vulnerable regardless of the fact that the masks being worn by the majority of people who wear them don’t protect them but reduce sneeze particles from reaching a person with no mask or an ineffective mask. 

They call it a pro-life issue. Really?

I opine, you retort. 



The Associated Press article below (press title for full story) reports that Cardinal Pell believes his accuser in the sex abuse trial was set up by Cardinal Becciu. Of course, in my most humble opinion, Cardinal Becciu had to have help to accomplish such a complicated task. Who might that be? It has to be the mafia who evidently has high stakes in the opaque Vatican finances. 

Of course, Cardinal Pell was a bull dog trying to clean up the Vatican finances. But if the mafia is involved with the help of a cardinal and no telling who else, Pell’s job was one heck of a dangerous job as he found out.

Cardinal Pell has implied before that he was set up by someone in the Vatican. I suspect that Pope Francis not only came to the sure and certain realization that Becciu was corrupt as it concerns the finances he was overseeing, but that he was involved in Pell’s situation in Australia. 

If true, perhaps Becciu should not only be defenestrated, but also decapitated and perhaps in the most public way possible. 

In the meantime, recall that early in His Holiness’ pontificate, a large outdoor statue of St. Michael the Archangel was erected in the Vatican gardens and Pope Francis asked Pope Emeritus Benedict to be present for the blessing of this statue. I think that Pope Francis knew that even in the Vatican we need the intercession of St. Michael to exorcise the evil that strives to destroy the good. Perhaps this gesture early on is now bearing fruit today. 

Report: Cardinal Pell returning to Vatican in crisis

Report: Cardinal Pell returning to Vatican in crisis

In this Feb. 27, 2019, file photo, Cardinal George Pell arrives at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia. Pell, Pope Francis' former finance minister, will soon return to the Vatican during an extraordinary economic scandal for the first time since he was cleared of child abuse allegations in Australia five months ago, a newspaper has reported, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. (Credit: Andy Brownbill/AP.)

Sunday, September 27, 2020


I have seen two words associated with the "you are fired!" of Cardinal Angelo Becciu by Pope Francis at Thursday night's massacre to add a third word:

John Allen of Crux uses the term defenestration which I had not heard in a long, long time if ever. So I had to look it up. Defenestration (from Old French fenestre, inherited from Latin fenestra which is also the Italian word for window but spelled finestra) is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.

But others reporting on this have called what Pope Francis did to Cardinal Becciu, a decapitation. This seems a bit more gruesome to me but the act is quick compared to being thrown out of a window left to languish on the ground, cement or asphalt or perhaps rocks and boulders, thorns and thistles. 

Which do you prefer, defenestration of decapitation? As an aside, I have always wondered about the quickness of the guillotine. Is there enough blood in the brain for the eyes in your head which is in the basket and perhaps looking up to see the blood on the blade of the guillotine for a split second or so?

But what does this say about the body of teachings Pope Francis has put forward concerning accompanying in a merciful way the sinner, even the notorious adulterer living with a paramour while still in a sacramental marriage and allowed by some bishops and priests to receive Holy Communion. Shouldn't they too experience defenestration?

I suppose if we use the metaphor of the Church a field hospital, sometimes you have to do amputations (a 4th word for what happened to Cardinal Beccui?)  and other times you simply give palliative care until the patient dies. You can't save the patient's life.

Is what Pope Francis did to the miserable sinner Cardinal Beccui, a defenestration? a decapitation? a massacre? an amputation? And how does this jive with accompaniment and mercy?

I opine, you retort.


 Technically, in the Extraordinary Form, unbleached candles should be used and altar accoutrements should be “funereal” for lack of a better term.

But how many pre-Vatican II parishes did so or could afford to do so or had laity who would change the altar accoutrements just for a funeral? Anyone remember? I don’t. I never went to a pre-Vatican II Requiem. 

My parish in Augusta, prior to Vatican II, used candle tubes for the six high altar candlesticks. Those are tubes that look like candles but have inserted into them a spring action holder of the actual beeswax candle which allowed most of these expensive candles to be used while the exterior shell or tube remains the same height, foreverrrrr.

With today’s EF Requiems, how many parishes have funeral accoutrements? 

Saturday, September 26, 2020



Just imagine a conclave in which one of these cardinals was elected pope:

Cardinal Groër of Austria

Cardinal McCarrick of USA

Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland

Cardinal Becciu of Italy

It could have happened, and someone like them in the future could be. What to do? What to do? Oh, what is the Church to do?

Obviously, one would hope back ground checks are observed and there is some kind of vetting policy, but is there, especially if a pope becomes a cowboy and selects bishops from the periphery of the world and then names them a cardinal without even asking them?

We know nothing about most of the cardinals that Pope Francis has named. They come from small obscure dioceses, not from large sees where their tin must be tested. 

How are we to know that a cardinal who is elected pope isn’t a pathological liar, thief, pervert, criminal or all of the above?

Dear God, save us!



This is from Whispers in the Loggia, Rocco Palma: 

Breaking Form, Pope "Decapitates" A Cardinal – With Becciu's Exile, A Monster Vatican Precedent

In a 2016 interview with his hometown paper, Pope Francis told La Nación one key to his governing style: 

"I don't cut off heads," he said. "I've never liked doing that."

Yet now, the pontiff has done just that, effectively stripping one of his inner circle of the red hat in stunning, dramatic fashion.

My comments:

There has been a recent string of statements coming from the Vatican and with Pope Francis’ approval, all of which are stunningly traditional, pragmatic and even authoritative:

First, the Vatican told the German bishops, most now heterodox, that only priests could be pastors of parishes because of Vatican II’s theological and doctrine concerning the ecclesiology of the Church. That’s pretty conservative and a no-brainer for the orthodox, but not so much for the heterodox who hate both Trent’s and Vatican II’s orthodoxy. 

Secondly, Cardinal Sarah, with Pope Francis’ approval, stated things need to get back to normal with opened churches and public Masses, a clear challenge to countries, states, cities who have draconian rules against churches having public services compared to public riots and the like.

Thirdly, Cardinal Ladria of the CDF has issued some stunning new directives and demanded a heretical priest, Fr. Flannery of Ireland, agree to the Church’s teaching on the male only priesthood, male and female Holy Matrimony and renounce gender ideology, if he wishes to have his suspension from the priesthood removed. 

Fourthly, the CDF reiterated that the nature of the Church (ecclesiology) the nature of the priesthood precludes intercommunion in response to a very heterodox document from the heretical German bishops outlining their plans to pursue inter-communion: In a letter to Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, the CDF said that the proposal did not do justice to the Catholic understanding of the Church, the Eucharist, and Holy Orders. 

But even Pope Francis himself recently voiced anger and discontent about the Amazon Synod as though its participants thought it was a parliamentary procedure poised to pass directives opposed to the teachings of the Church, as though these are up for grabs. 

And now, in a bit of righteous anger and rage, Pope Francis decapitates one of the closest advisors he has had and removes from him the rights of being a Cardinal of the Church, a man he elevated to become a Cardinal only two years ago. This sets a precedent that more heads could and will roll regardless of How high up you are in the Church. (Could this one day be the pope himself, if a mechanism is put into place to legally decapitate a pope, or better yet, return the tiara and then knock it off)? 

Pope Francis indelicately called upon millions of young people in Brazil, at the beginning of His Holiness’ pontificate to go out into the Church and make a mess. They have not done so as far as I can see, but the Holy Father in eight short years has done so. Is His Holiness’ backtracking on all of this advice to the young people and His Holiness, himself, starting to clean up His Holiness’ own mess and returning some sanity and stability to the Church prior to the next conclave?

I opine you retort.



On my High Blood Pressure” post on eulogies at Requiems, this was a comment I received: 

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5:24 - You have a point, indeed. The presumption of many traditionalists is that people today are desirous of the "Pray, Pay, Obey" model of the "Good" Old Days of the Church. There may be a very small segment of the population that feels this way, but most are not inclined to be so.

The majority know that the Church belongs to all who are baptized, not just to the few who are ordained. That majority won't be told what to do and when to do it. Pastors who work in this outdated model will find that their flocks will, rightly, leave for places where their dignity will be respected.

Let’s talk about the laity’s rights. Are they above canon and liturgical law? Is this ideology, quite prevalent in the heterodox of the Church, that the majority of the laity and clergy, who once were laity, chosen from among them, “won’t be told what to do and when to do it” something we should take seriously?

What is implied here is that the laity have a right to plan their liturgical celebrations and the way in which they will be “Church” regardless of the Faith, Morals, and Canon Law of the Church. They will no longer pray, pay and obey. Really? They will no longer pray????? They will no longer give sacrificially of the time, talent and treasure????? They will no longer be obedient to God and Holy Mother Church????? REALLY?????

Are we even speaking about Christianity here??????

But let’s talk about giving the people what they want. Would the person posting the comment above be all in favor of a pastor making sure that a family desiring the EF Requiem for their deceased loved one be given that option? And not doing so, would this person posting this comment then say, “Pastors who work in this outdated model will find that their flocks will, rightly, leave for places where their dignity will be respected” as though they are consumers of religion rather than adherents???????

Friday, September 25, 2020



What Has Stalled Progress in Uprooting the Vatican’s Financial Corruption?

A range of sources agree that profound change is required to correct the flawed underlying mentality that continues to give rise to problems, and has allowed senior officials to escape taking responsibility.

Police patrol St. Peter's Square and the Vatican on March 25.
Police patrol St. Peter's Square and the Vatican on March 25. (photo: Register file photo/Edward Pentin)


++Becciu tells media he’s a “bit dazed” by events. "Until 6.02pm I felt a friend of the Pope, a faithful executor of the Pope. Then the Pope says he no longer has faith in me because magistrates told him I’d committed acts of embezzlement". "I renew my trust in the Holy Father.”


 The gesture of the cartoon character on the left is a classic devil gesture of Italians and more than likely a gesture Cardinal Becciu made behind Pope Francis’ back and toward the Church.

When I was in a very liberal 1970’s seminary, our professors continually complained about doctors of the law, like Pope Francis has done throughout his papacy. It is usually directed toward canon lawyers and canon law. But in practice it can also be directed against civil law.

In other words, it opens the door to lawlessness both in the Church and civil society. In my most humble opinion, I think this attitude toward canon law, rubrics, law and order which “doctors of the law” creates, a denigration of law and those who promote it and leads to lawlessness such as breaking one’s vows made in Holy Orders and Marriage and stealing Church funds and diverting them to other purposes, personal or family. 

This is a little more from an Italian newspaper L’Espresso about the now stripped Cardinal Becciu. The translation is a google translation that I have tried to clean up, although the google translation is how I write, but I digress:

He would have diverted alms money to hedge funds and family favors.  L'Espresso on newsstands today, Friday 25 September, exclusively reveals the truth about the resignation of Cardinal Angelo Becciu ordered by Pope Francis.  After the investigation into the case of the Pence of St. Peter's funds used for the purchase of a luxury building in London for 160 million, the bomb explodes on the cardinal who allegedly diverted alms money to speculative funds and favors for the family.

 Becciu, 72 years old and Sardinian from Pattada, had been "promoted" with the purple, Prefect for the Congregation of the Cause of Saints since June 29.  During his mandate he had entrusted - as L'Espresso reconstructs - the entire Vatican bank to the financier Enrico Crasso, formerly of Credit Suisse: but the management also had a family aspect.  "According to the papers we have seen - we read - the Deputy of the Secretariat of State has requested and obtained twice from the Italian Episcopal Conference and once from the Obolo di San Pietro a non-repayable loan in favor of the cooperative" Spes "  , operational arm of Caritas of Ozieri, province of Sassari, whose owner and legal representative is his brother Tonino ".

 In the papers of the scandal, therefore, the truth about the money of the poor that ended up in the brother and offshore and the reason for the resignation ordered by the Pontiff who now wants clarity and punishment for those responsible.  "The use made of the Pence of St. Peter, a collection of donations for the social actions of the Church towards the poor, is perhaps the symbol of how much the apostolic mandate has been betrayed for real estate and financial speculation  ; a speculation that does not represent a one episodic case but - as L'Espresso exclusively reconstructs - a real method that has distinguished the Secretariat of State under the direction of Cardinal Angelo Becciu. A modus operandi that Pope Francis never liked  who - while speculators, brokers and financial promoters played with the cash of the Secretariat of State and of the Pence of St. Peter - in fact weaved a network of new regulations and surveillance for Vatican finances ".

My comments: I think Becciu could go to prison in the Vatican City State, or worse for him, in an Italian prison where he may truly do penance. There will be others who will go to the guillotine too and I suspect these could be other bishops and priests working in the Vatican. 

This has mafioso written all over it. Pope Francis will need, in justice, to rectify much of the damage this former cardinal, with Vatican approval, did to certain faithful employees in the Vatican including Cardinal Pell and some lay auditors who were actually doing their job and very well.  

The other aspects of this mess and all of it can be traced to Becciu and his manipulation of Pope Francis, concerns not only Cardinal Pell and the injustices done him, but also Cardinal Burke. Becciu is behind the Vatican take over of the Knights of Malta, a lay order in the Church comprised of exotic rich members who donate all kinds of money for charitable means and usually charities supported by the Holy See.

The was a coup led by Becciu of this order, Burke was ousted by the pope and guess who replace him as the Vatican liaison, Becciu. Pope Francis also fired the duly elected head of the Knights and they are still in chaos by what Becciu did. And how did Beccciu profit by his association with the K of M. These are legitimate questions that have to be answered transparently and also what was done with Peter’s Pence which American contribute heavily!





In the morning, I read a variety of papers on line. I usually look at the obituaries too, now called by many newspapers, “tributes.” This morning in a paper I will not name and a town I will not name is this little ditty:

“A funeral Mass will be held to celebrate the life of .....”

Of course the Church or the parish where this funeral “celebration of life” will take place has no control over obituaries, although I think funeral homes should be alerted to the proper terminology for obituaries and assist families who write them about proper names for the funeral rites of the Catholic Church. 

Can we do that???????

Thursday, September 24, 2020



Vatican's Cardinal Becciu renounces the cardinalate in shocking move


VATICAN CITY — One of the highest-ranking cardinals in the Catholic Church resigned his Vatican post unexpectedly Sept. 24, with the city-state giving no explanation for the dismissal.

In a surprise bulletin late in Rome, the Vatican said Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu had both left his position as head of office responsible for overseeing Catholic sainthood causes and renounced "the rights connected to the cardinalate."

Read the rest there. 


 Updated with point 5 below:

There are five  statements that show our Church is heading towards a schism similar to the Great Schism or perhaps more like the Protestant Reformation.
1. The CDF has made clear what constitutes a valid baptism and by way of it, implied though, that words matter as well as form which constitutes a valid sacrament.
2. Responding to radical bishops and the radical “church” in Germany, the CDF made clear that the German Church’s proposal for intercommunion with Protestants offends the Orthodox not to mention orthodox Catholics. This is what the CDF said:
In a letter to Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, the CDF said that the proposal did not do justice to the Catholic understanding of the Church, the Eucharist, and Holy Orders. 
3. Then the CDF made clear what would be necessary for a schismatic Irish theologian priest must do to have his suspension from the priesthood lifted:

(Schismatic Fr.) Flannery revealed the Vatican's move against him to NCR on Sept. 15, releasing both a letter from the doctrinal congregation and four "doctrinal dispositions" he was asked to affirm. They regard the church's official positions on a male-only priesthood, gay relationships, civil unions and gender identity.

4. A comment on my blog sums up what where we may be heading:

Anonymous Jake said...
Some English Catholic clergy are pushing for something similar (along with the ordination of women). They’ll probably declare their hand at the next synod. It’s not just happening in Germany. I expect a flurry of demands from liberal dioceses around the world to pressurise the pope for change on the hot button issues.

 5. Press title:

Swiss bishop calls for a council on female priesthood, ‘otherwise we will experience a schism’

When push comes to shove, Pope Francis while allowing already talked to death possibilities of female ordination, same sex union and gender ideology, Even more talk has ultimately said no to these. His Holiness has also said that it is definitively declared as a part of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church that women cannot be ordained priests. This was under Pope St. John Paul II.

And now through his own appointed Cardinal ladaria of the CDF, Pope Francis definitively puts the breaks of the disruption of the Sacraments of the Church and amorality proposed by a significant number of clergy and laity, to include bishops throughout the world.

Why I say that the coming schism won’t be like the Orthodox Schism but rather like the Protestant Reformation is that the neo-schism upcoming will lead to invalid sacraments especially as it regards Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony. The Great Schism left Apostolic Succession and valid Sacraments in place, the bishops simply broke with the pope, a true schism. The Protestants lost Apostolic Succession when it declared there were only two Sacraments, Baptism and Communion. However, you need a valid priesthood for a valid “Eucharistic dogma”. You can’t have the Sacraments of Penance, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick without a valid priesthood. You can’t have a valid marriage without being validly baptized, one man and one woman both biologically so and with no impediments.  

Let’s speculate Pope Francis or a future pope allows for female ordination, same sex unions and the rest of the rubbish of the left heterodox, what would I do and I hope you would do? I would remain in union with the Church of Rome and leave it to the Holy Spirit to sort things out more than likely after my death. 

I will always be in union with Rome. I am a Roman Catholic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


 Can you pick me out??????

This is Bishop Wach of Pensacola-Tallahassee who sat next to me at the 10 AM Brunch at Savannah’s Desoto Hotel.

Two brothers:

I don’t think this occurs in many Dioceses. Our new Metropolitan Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer is our former bishop and the ordaining Bishop for our new bishop. Bishop J. Kevin Boland is our Emeritus Bishop. I was the Master of Ceremonies for his ordination in 1995. This will be a historic photo:

We had a glorious celebration for the ordination of our new bishop today at Savannah’s Cathedral Basilica. It was splendid, the music and chanting of the propers spectacular. It was just wonderful and we are off to a wonderful start with our new bishop, who has Bishop-Elect has visited so many of our parishes   In just a short month. 

Here are some things that tickled me pink and maybe you too:

1. Under his chasuble, Bishop Parkes wore the deacon’s dalmatic. I wonder if I was the only one to notice it?

2. On Sunday, October 11th, Bishop Parkes will celebrate St. Anne’s 10:30 AM Mass (that’s my parish folks).

3. And this bombshell, yes it is for our diocese: On All Saint’s Day, yours truly will be the celebrant for the Cathedral Basilica’s 1 PM Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata. But here’s the bombshell, but don’t tell anyone, it’s just between you and me, Bishop Parkes will  preside at this EF All Saints Solemn Mass coram episcopo. He will also preach!!!!!!!!! (Subject to change).

Don’t tell anyone. 


 And he tries to burn it down! Maybe he doesn’t like its modern architecture? Maybe he’s possessed? Maybe he’s drunk? Maybe he is a criminal rioter? Maybe all of the above? The Church is Incarnation Catholic Church in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Oddly enough, Bishop Gregory Parkes, the brother of my new bishop, as of about 1:45 pm or so today, Bishop Stephen Parkes. And the taller Bishop Parkes is in Savannah right now and is a co-consecrator.

Our bishop, by the way, is only 6’4”!

A shirtless man broke into Incarnation Catholic Church in Town ‘N Country near Tampa on Friday night and poured flammable liquid onto three wooden pews before setting them on fire. The man then ran from the church, news outlets reported.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


 From the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR), in the pits of despair now:

Vatican cardinal defends issuing fidelity oaths to Irish priest Tony Flannery


VATICAN CITY — The head of the Vatican's powerful doctrinal congregation Sept. 22 defended his office's request that an Irish priest sign four strict oaths of fidelity to Catholic teachings, saying the move, while "very unpleasant," was part of the congregation's duty as the global church's orthodoxy watchdog.

Responding to a question from NCR about the case of Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery, who has been suspended from ministry for eight years, primarily over his support for women's ordination, Cardinal Luis Ladaria said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had done "everything possible" to dialogue with the priest.

"On some points, we have had to take some measures, which were never a judgment on the person, because this is left only to our Lord, but [a judgment] on his teachings or his behavior," said Ladaria.

"We have tried always to maintain our respect towards Fr. Flannery, but the duty that we have, according to the arrangement of the church, is to protect the faith and therefore to indicate some things that do not conform with this faith," said the cardinal.

Read the rest there.



Vatican’s Doctrinal Office Critiques German Theologians' Intercommunion Call

The 57-page text advocated “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality” between Catholics and Protestants, based on previous ecumenical agreements on the Eucharist and ministry.

Archbishop Luis Ladaria at a book presentation at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Nov. 27, 2014.
Archbishop Luis Ladaria at a book presentation at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Nov. 27, 2014. (photo: Bohumil Petrik / CNA/EWTN News)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has criticized an appeal by German theologians for intercommunion between Catholics and Protestants. 

In a letter to Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, the CDF said that the proposal did not do justice to the Catholic understanding of the Church, the Eucharist, and Holy Orders. 

The letter, dated Sept. 18, was signed by CDF prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria and secretary Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, and accompanied by a four-page doctrinal note. 

The letter and note, obtained by CNA, were prompted by a document entitled “Together at the Lord’s Table,” issued by the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians (ÖAK) in September 2019.

The 57-page text advocated “reciprocal Eucharistic hospitality” between Catholics and Protestants, based on previous ecumenical agreements on the Eucharist and ministry. 

The CDF letter said: “The question of the unity of the Eucharist and the Church, in which the Eucharist presupposes and brings about unity with the communion of the Church and her faith with the pope and the bishops, is undervalued in the aforementioned document.” 

“Essential theological and indispensable insights of the Eucharistic theology of the Second Vatican Council, which are widely shared with the Orthodox tradition, have unfortunately not been adequately reflected in the text.”

The CDF said that Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, had requested a doctrinal assessment of the document in May. It noted that the German bishops had discussed the text at their plenary meeting that month in Mainz.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German language news partner, reported that the ÖAK adopted the intercommunion document under the co-chairmanship of Bishop Bätzing and the retired Lutheran Bishop Martin Hein. 

It added that Bishop Bätzing announced recently that the text’s recommendations would be put into practice at the Ecumenical Church Congress in Frankfurt in May 2021.

The ÖAK was founded in 1946 to strengthen ecumenical ties. It is independent of both the German Catholic bishops’ conference and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), an organization representing 20 Protestant groups, but it informs both bodies about its deliberations. 

The doctrinal congregation emphasized that significant differences in understanding of the Eucharist and ministry remained between Protestants and Catholics.

“The doctrinal differences are still so important that they currently rule out reciprocal participation in the Lord’s Supper and the Eucharist,” it said.

“The document cannot therefore serve as a guide for an individual decision of conscience about approaching the Eucharist.”

The CDF added that the ÖAK text should inspire further theological discussions. But it cautioned against any steps towards intercommunion. 

“However, an opening of the Catholic Church towards Eucharistic meal fellowship with the member churches of the EKD in the current state of the theological discussion would necessarily open new rifts in ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Churches, not only in Germany,” it said.