German bishops last month published an “orientation guide” that permits some Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion under certain circumstances.

More than two-thirds of German bishops’ conference voted in favor of the document in February (then called a pastoral handout), but it drew widespread criticism, in particular from seven German bishops. Among their chief concerns was treating this issue as a pastoral one instead of a “question of the faith and unity of the Church” which they said was “not subject to a vote.”