A Lutheran pastor has said he believes Pope Francis "opened the door" to intercommunion when the Holy Father spoke to his church last month, and that his parishioners generally have the same opinion.

Pastor Jens Kruse of Rome's Evangelical Lutheran Church said in a Dec. 12 interview with the Register (see full transcript below) that he thinks his flock feel freer, in accordance with their conscience, to receive the Eucharist in the Catholic Church after Francis' comments.

The Holy Father caused controversy during his visit to Pastor Kruse's church Nov. 15 when he urged a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic to "talk to the Lord" about receiving holy Communion "and then go forward", but added that he "wouldn't ever dare to allow this, because it's not my competence." (The video of the exchange with English subtitles can be seen here). Some felt the Pope, although his comments were not immediately clear, had by no means allowed intercommunion.

But in this interview, Pastor Kruse says he believes a door has been opened to celebrate the Eucharist together - a door that Lutherans had thought had been closed "for an eternity." He also says he feels there is "no danger" of a Lutheran receiving the Eucharist "in the wrong way" because he would be "receiving Jesus Christ and not the teachings of the Catholic Church." He further states that the Pope had introduced a new approach to the Eucharist, no longer viewing it as the end of ecumenism, but rather a "gift on the way to unity".

(Excerpt) Read more at ncregister.com ...