Abstract / DOI
Together at the Lord’s Table – and Elsewhere? Ecclesiological Annotations to an Ecumenical Statement. In 2019 the renowned German «Ökumenischer Arbeitskreis» (Ecumenical Work Group) published the statement «Together at the Lord’s Table». Based on ecumenical research and doctrinal developments to date, it concludes that the remaining differences no longer give reason for a division between the Churches and that a common Eucharist or Lord’s Supper (open communion) between Catholics and Protestants is therefore possible and even necessary. The working group insists that in the Early Church there is no reliable evidence of an authentic Eucharist. It assumes at the same time that since there were diverse forms of the early celebrations of the communities, this would also legitimize a variety of forms of the Eucharist and the Lord’s Supper today. The article points out that the statement is caught up in cultic questions, completely excluding the question of what the participation at the table of the Lord’s Supper means – beyond the liturgy. This is related to the statement’s previously made hermeneutical decision to take Jesus’ meals as point of reference; these were open regarding the participants. However, this cannot be said of the Last Supper, which is decisive for the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper; to this Jesus takes the closest circle of disciples, those who shared life with him. The «solution» intended by the statement of the Ecumenical Working Group in an open communion would be a sham solution. It would not only contribute to numbing the pain of separation of the Churches, but would also eliminate the imposition that lies in the commitment of belonging to a particular community of faith.