Priest in Germany Suspended for "Open Communion"

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BERLIN, JULY 17, 2003 ( A priest was suspended for leading an "open Communion" service recently at a Lutheran church, the Associated Press reported.

Bishop Reinhard Marx of Trier barred Father Gotthold Hasenhuettl, a professor emeritus at the University of Saarbruecken, from celebrating Mass and withdrew his Church teaching permit, AP said.

On May 29, around 2,000 people crowded into Gethsemane Church as Hasenhuettl distributed Communion to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

"I cannot accept a priest practicing an open communion that was specifically forbidden in this form by the Pope in his latest encyclical," Bishop Marx said. "I still hope that Hasenhuettl will relent."