Andrea Grillo, professor of sacramental theology at the Pontifical Atheneum of Saint Anselm in Rome and confidant of Pope Francis, speaks out on the Ecumenical Mass, rumored for over a year now, and the prospects of non-Catholic Christians receiving the Eucharist:
“We know that the various Christian traditions, after misunderstandings, struggles, bloody divisions, silences and indifferences, have also been working for some decades to recover lost communion. It is not at all scandalous that the quest for communion is to have a relationship with the celebration of the Holy Supper, Holy Mass, and Sacred Liturgy. It should not be considered only as “the ultimate ambition”: in fact, “Eucharistic communion” is not just at the end of the path, as the final reward for reconstructed communion. No, the opposite must also be true. It may be true that different traditions, different languages, different imaginations, which are mutually recognized in baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, may revive their communion “beginning” from the Lord’s Supper. The fact that Mass and liturgy may not lie at the end, but in the beginning, is a possibility which should be rediscovered and valorised. As a way of initiation, and to let oneself be initiated, and not as a conclusion.
…[there are] at least three levels of experience of the Eucharistic liturgy on which traditions have been highly differentiated that I would like to outline:
a) The Body of Christ - sacramental and ecclesial - as it is understood and lived;
b) The structure of the celebration and its relation to the “sacrifice of Christ”;
c) Ministries with authority and mutual recognition among the various confessions.
What we can identify on these three levels as problematic or as unacceptable should not be solved in advance, almost as a condition sine qua non: true discrimination lies not in this “prior doctrinal agreement” that would enable one common liturgical practice. Rather, as a “preamble”, there should mature in different denominations a willingness to review the differences not as a “lack of communion”, but as “Differences in communion”. Different theories about presence, different understandings of the relationship with sacrifice and various ways of exercising authority have been perceived in history as serious motives for “breaking communion.” Everyone felt denied by the other…[today] these same differences can become motives of “wealth in communion.”
…it is not, therefore, to invent an “ecumenical mass”, but to recognize that the Eucharist is, in itself, fundamentally a question of unity, an ecumenical question.”
On his personal blog, Dr. Grillo brushed off accusations of heresy and modernism from a concerned reader with the defense that “God is not Catholic”.