ROME, January 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of Finnish Lutherans were offered Holy Communion by priests at a mass held in St. Peter's Basilica following a meeting with Pope Francis on January 15, according to a report by the Finnish periodical Kotimaa 24.
Lutheran bishop Samuel Salmi was visiting the Vatican as the head of a delegation that included a youth choir that was to perform there. Salmi says he met privately with Pope Francis.
After the personal audience with the pope, the delegation was present at a celebration of the Catholic mass. According to Salmi, at the time of communion the non-Catholics placed their right hands on their left shoulders, a traditional way of indicating that they were ineligible to receive the Eucharist. However, the celebrating priests insisted on giving them communion.
Salmi told Kotimaa 24 that “I myself accepted it [Holy Communion].” He added that “this was not a coincidence,” and nor was it a coincidence when last year the pope seemed to accept the notion of a Lutheran woman receiving communion with her Catholic husband.
Marko Tervaportti, Director of the Finnish Catholic Information Centre, issued a clarification regarding who may legitimately receive Holy Communion: January 20, 2016