Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ratzinger Reported to Give Communion to Protestants

Some doubt now exists that Cardinal Ratzinger might not exactly view a return to tradition as mandatory: "A German Lutheran theologian well known to the cardinal told UPI that he, too, received the sacrament from [Ratzinger's] hands." The notion that this act of sacrilege is a "conservative" act will come as a surprise to traditional Catholics. The Protestant Church (er, churches), no matter what small political values they had to offer medieval Europe, did not, do not, and will never possess Divine Truth. Whether started by madmen (Luther), whoremongers (Henry VIII) or other men, they simply were not inspired by the only Person who matters: Jesus Christ. We see this human failing all the time: the desire for the approbation of men surmounts one's observance of one's duties. Despite this story, it can not be conclusively determined whether or not the good Cardinal is mixing his vows with vodka these days. It had been previously reported, on this very point, that the Cardinal was in full communion (sorry for the pun) with Pope JPII's teaching on the matter: "THE Pope will issue an encyclical today that explicitly forbids Roman Catholics and Protestants from taking Communion together. According to Catholic teaching, only those in full communion with Rome can take part in the Catholic Eucharist, or Holy Communion. The Pope, who turns 83 next month, is said to be alarmed at the increasingly 'liberal' interpretation of doctrine by many Catholics and is using the twilight years of his pontificate to impose a return to tradition.

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"The Pope is also said to be alarmed by the practice of lay preachers distributing the Eucharist in parishes that lack a priest. Panorama magazine said that he and Vatican conservatives, such as Cardinal Ratzinger, believed that too many 'Protestant influences' had crept in to Catholic rituals in the guise of 'modernization.' These included priests placing the Communion wafer, or host, in the communicant's hands (as in the Anglican tradition), instead of on the tongue. Last year the Pope also ordered Catholics to halt the growing practice of Anglican-style 'general absolution' for sins and to return to individual confession." It is tempting beyond belief to criticize the press for this mess. But the reality is probably that there is as much confusion in the rank and file of Catholicism as there is anti-Catholicism in the rank and file of the press. Especially the European press. So, another day; another mystery concerning the Mystery of Faith.

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