Reports of Ecumenical Mass are ‘utterly false’, says Vatican
The Vatican this week strongly denied reports that a commission has been established to examine the possibility of an “ecumenical Mass” which would allow Catholics and Protestants to celebrate a shared Eucharist.
Archbishop Arthur Roche, the number two official at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said reports of a joint Mass were “utterly false”.
The statements were made to The Tablet. Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office called the reports “simply untrue.”
Their denials also follow reports in The Australian that Archbishop Roche and Archbishop Piero Marini – the former Master of Ceremonies for John Paul II – were both involved in the commission while the Prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Robert Sarah, whose views on the liturgy have sometimes clashed with Pope Francis’, had not been informed.
The Australian newspaper did not get any reply from the Vatican to its press queries. It reported that the proposed joint Mass would include prayers, readings from scripture and a common Communion, but the Catholic and Protestant clergy would pray the words of consecration silently.
Church teaching prevents Catholics and other Christian denominations from sharing communion. An ecumenical liturgy was agreed between Catholics and Lutherans to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Pope Francis prompted speculation about Lutherans receiving communion during Mass in November 2015.
According to the Church’s canon law and the 1993 Ecumenical Directory there are certain cases of emergency or “grave necessity” in which “intercommunion” is possible.
German Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki said such a Mass would be theologically impossible. An ecumenical Mass would have “no basis”, he said, because Catholics and Protestants “do not agree on the central issues”.