Switzerland: Ecumenical intercelebrations, interdiction and the reality…

Source: FSSPX News


The bishop of Basel, Mgr. Kurt Koch, has told the press that Catholic priests who celebrate the Eucharist with Protestants risk disciplinary measures, reports the agency ATS. According to him, the information of such practices could come from the people. The Catholic faithful who feel hurt in their faith, may appeal to their bishop, who is intelligent enough to make the distinction between unjust denunciations and justifiable complaints.

This declaration comes in the wake of the condemnation by the Swiss Bishops Conference (CES) of “serious abuses” in the liturgy, such as participation by the laity in the Eucharistic celebration or intercommunion between Protestants and Catholics at Einsiedeln at the end of June,. The CES will have to make some concrete decisions during its next Assembly.

In the same vein, Mgr. Martin Werlen, Father Abbot of Einsiedeln, has forbidden one of his monks to organize an ecumenical celebration with Communion. Fr. Notker Bärsch, a Benedictine monk for 37 years, and for two years parish priest of the village, had announced this ecumenical celebration with Protestant pastor Urs Jäger. The two men had sent out a letter of invitation to 400 mixed couples. They had planned an ecumenical liturgy and were preparing to celebrate it for the first time at the church of Einsiedeln, on June 26. In the face of the ban by the Father Abbot, Pastor Jäger finally decided to celebrate by himself, a Protestant service – in the Catholic Church – and to distribute communion to those who wished it. “Thus it was a reformed service with Eucharistic hospitality,” he declared.

At Zurich on June 13, the approach was just the reverse. Fr. Franz Stampfli, dressed in priestly vestments, took part in a Protestant service, during the course of which he saw fit to offer the chalice of wine to the faithful, on the 500th anniversary of the reformer Heinreich Bullinger. For him, it was a question of a spontaneous gesture expressing a “spiritual communion”. Fr. Stampfli does not consider that he is at fault. The celebration was marked, for him, by an “interior union with Jesus Christ, who was present”. The supper, through its “symbolism”, has a particular significance, but it is not the same thing as the Eucharist, he said. His presence at the festivities for the 500th anniversary of the reformer Bullinger, was the expression of the good understanding between Catholics and Protestants in Zurich. “We have been living for a long time with ecumenical marriages. For us, it is a sacrament, but not for the reformed Protestants. But in spite of this, we are able to celebrate these marriages together.”

Fr. Stampfli was heard by the bishop of Chur, Mgr. Amédée Grab, who was unwilling to express his opinion on the content of the discussion.