Vatican declines to rule on German dispute over Communion

The Vatican has declined to rule on a dispute among German bishops over whether non-Catholic spouses can receive Communion, asking the bishops themselves to find a solution.

The Vatican urged the bishops to find a unanimous solution "in the spirit of ecclesial communion" after a German delegation met with top Vatican officials Thursday.

Seven German bishops had written the Vatican asking it to rule on a proposal adopted by the German bishops conference to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive communion in certain circumstances. The seven had argued the proposal undermines the Catholic faith and shouldn't be decided by a national bishops conference.

Pope Francis has sought to decentralize church decision-making in favor of local solutions, and has enraged conservatives by emphasizing conscience and case-by-case solutions to pastoral problems.