COLOGNE, July 15, 2004 ( – Breaking with the custom of diplomacy, a German cardinal has made some blunt accusations in a public forum against another leading German prelate. Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, known for his “conservative” views, has accused his colleague, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the Archbishop of Mainz of promoting a leftist, liberalized view of the Catholic faith according to England’s Catholic magazine, The Tablet.

The article says, Cardinal Meisner, who will host the Pope and the youth of the world next year for World Youth Day, says Lehmann has encouraged dissident theologians and ideas at last month’s annual Katholikentag conference in Ulm.

Several priests and theologians who have been dismissed or penalized by the Church authorities were invited to give their views at the conference, one of whom is the notoriously anti-Catholic Hans Kung whose license to teach as a Catholic theologian was revoked and Bishop Jacques Gaillot, who was dismissed from the diocese of Evreux, France, in 1995 for opposing Catholic teaching on women priests and the use of condoms in AIDS prevention. Cardinal Meisner asked, “Does unorthodoxy predestine a person to be invited to the Katholikentag?”

Dissident and so-called “liberal” theologians have been extending their reach within European Roman Catholic circles openly for forty years. The movement has created a crippling divide in what was once seen to be a unified Catholic voice on issues such as abortion, contraception and divorce.

Cardinal Lehman is considered one of the most “liberal” of the German Catholic hierarchy. He was one of the bishops who fought for years with the Vatican over their issuance of abortion counselling certificates which allowed women to obtain government-funded abortions. Decisive action had to be taken by Church authorities to put an end to the practice. A letter was read in 2000 by the German nuncio from Vatican defender of Church doctrine, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger that said, “whoever continues to operate in the system of counseling centers is placed in open opposition to the Pope.”  Read previous coverage of the German abortion certificates:   ph


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