Lutheran leader seeks Communion agreement with pope

ROME -- The president of the Lutheran World Federation is calling on Lutherans and Catholics to issue a common statement on Holy Communion to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017.

“Our intention is to arrive at 2017 with a common Roman Catholic-Lutheran declaration on Eucharistic hospitality,” Bishop Munib Younan told the Italian Protestant news agency NEV before meeting with Pope Benedict XVI on Dec. 16.

“Eucharistic hospitality,” means that Catholics would be able to receive Communion at Lutheran worship services, and Lutherans would be able to do the same at a Catholic Mass.

In a speech during his meeting with Younan, Benedict praised progress in Catholic-Lutheran dialogue but did not make any reference to the bishop’s Eucharist proposal.

“It is my hope that these ecumenical activities will provide fresh opportunities for Catholics and Lutherans to grow closer in their lives, their witness to the gospel, and their efforts to bring the light of Christ to all dimensions of society” the pope said.

Women's ordination advocates protest at Vatican

ROME -- A group of women demonstrated in Rome's St Peter's Square on Tuesday (June 8), saying they want "full and equal participation" in the Roman Catholic Church.

The small group held a banner stating, "Ordain Catholic Women," to the apparent curiosity of passers-by in the Via della Conciliazione, the boulevard that leads to the square, before they were asked to move on by police.

Tuesday's protest followed a media conference organized by groups campaigning for women's ordination in the Catholic Church, to protest against a Vatican celebration to mark the end of a "Year for Priests" proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

"Our church urgently needs large numbers of male and female pastors to serve our parishes. Charisma should be important, not gender," said Angelika Fromm, a German representative from the International Movement We are Church.

Fromm said the past 12 months had been "a disastrous year," referring to the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Catholic Church.