Sharing the Eucharist? Critical Comments from a Canonical Perspective on the Statement “Together at the Lord’s Table” (2019) of the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians


The following article analyses the statement of the Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians entitled “Together at the Lord’s Table” (2019) from the perspective of canon law of the Latin Church. First, it briefly presents the content of the statement, then it summarises the opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The article shows that the alternate participation in the Protestant
and Catholic service of celebrating the Lord’s Supper / Eucharist by virtue of baptism alone is problematic from the perspective of Catholic canon law. Canon law builds on Catholic ecclesiology and sacramentology, based on the connection between baptism and the Church as well as the Church, the ministerial priesthood, and the celebration of the Eucharist. The article, then, shows the instruments of canon law for the protection of the Catholic faith regarding the apostolic succession as the only valid condition for presiding over the Eucharistic community and the Eucharist as the substantial presence of Christ. In the final chapter, the implications of participation in ecumenical worship for the Catholic faithful will be summarised. The participation of Protestants in Catholic worship, as proposed by the Statement, is not explicitly regulated by canon law. The CIC, in Canon 844 § 4, lays down only the conditions under which Protestants may licitly receive selected sacraments (the Eucharist, the anointing of the sick and the sacrament of penance), while for a valid reception of the Eucharist their baptism alone enables them.


ecumenism; canon law; “Together at the Lord’s Table”; intercommunion; norms on reserved crimes

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Normae de delictis Congregationi pro Doctrina Fidei reservatis [07.12.2021], [accessed 13.12.2021].

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Prot. N. 1230/2019 — 78677 [18.09.2020], [accessed: 15.11.2021].

De Lubac H.: Corpus Mysticum. Eucharistie und Kirche im Mittelalter. Einsiedeln 1969.

Francis: Apostolic Constitution “Pascite Gregem Dei” [23.05.2021], [accessed 10.11.2021].

Francis: Rescriptum ex audientia SS.mi: Rescritto del Santo Padre Francesco con cui approva le Norme sui delitti riservati della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede [11.10.2021], [accessed 13.12.2021].

Gemeinsam am Tisch des Herrn. Ein Votum des Ökumenischen Arbeitskreises evangelischer und katholischer Theologen, [accessed 20.11.2021].

John Paul II: Apostolic letter issued ‘Motu proprio’ “Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela” [30.04.2001]. AAS 93 (2001), pp. 737—739.

Lehrmäßige Anmerkungen zum Dokument Gemeinsam am Tisch des Herrn (GTH) des Ökumenischen Arbeitskreises katholischer und evangelischer Theologen (Jäger-Stählin-Kreis). Attachment to the letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Prot. N. 1230/2019 — 78677 [18.09.2020], [accessed 15.11.2021].

Münsterischer Kommentar zum Codex Iuris Canonici. Eds. K. Lüdicke u.a. Essen 1984.

Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism [25.03.1993].

Statement of the Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Dorothea Sattler from the Catholic side on the study “Gemeinsam am Tisch des Herrn. Ein Votum des ÖAK” [11.09.2019], [accessed: 15.11.2021].

Vatican II: Decree on Ecumenism “Unitatis redintegratio” [21.11.1964].

Vatican II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church “Lumen Gentium” [21.11.1964].

Vatican II: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy “Sacrosanctum concilium” [4.12.1963].

Zubert B.W.: “Interkomunia w świetle nowego Kodeksu.” Prawo Kanoniczne: kwartalnik prawno-historyczny 31 (1988), nos. 1—2, pp. 13—29.


Published : 2022-08-10

Jiří Dvořáček
Palacký University in Olomouc  Czechia

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Copyright Owners of the submitted texts grant the Reader the right to use the pdf documents under the provisions of the Creative Commons 4.0 International License: Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY SA). The user can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose.

1. License

The University of Silesia Press provides immediate open access to journal’s content under the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license ( Authors who publish with this journal retain all copyrights and agree to the terms of the above-mentioned CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

2. Author’s Warranties

The author warrants that the article is original, written by stated author/s, has not been published before, contains no unlawful statements, does not infringe the rights of others, is subject to copyright that is vested exclusively in the author and free of any third party rights, and that any necessary written permissions to quote from other sources have been obtained by the author/s.

If the article contains illustrative material (drawings, photos, graphs, maps), the author declares that the said works are of his authorship, they do not infringe the rights of the third party (including personal rights, i.a. the authorization to reproduce physical likeness) and the author holds exclusive proprietary copyrights. The author publishes the above works as part of the article under the licence "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International".

ATTENTION! When the legal situation of the illustrative material has not been determined and the necessary consent has not been granted by the proprietary copyrights holders, the submitted material will not be accepted for editorial process. At the same time the author takes full responsibility for providing false data (this also regards covering the costs incurred by the University of Silesia Press and financial claims of the third party).

3. User Rights

Under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, the users are free to share (copy, distribute and transmit the contribution) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material) the article for any purpose, provided they attribute the contribution in the manner specified by the author or licensor.

4. Co-Authorship

If the article was prepared jointly with other authors, the signatory of this form warrants that he/she has been authorized by all co-authors to sign this agreement on their behalf, and agrees to inform his/her co-authors of the terms of this agreement.

I hereby declare that in the event of withdrawal of the text from the publishing process or submitting it to another publisher without agreement from the editorial office, I agree to cover all costs incurred by the University of Silesia in connection with my application.