History Will Judge Cardinal Ratzinger Well, Says Lehmann

«He Has Had a Very Difficult Job»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the archbishop of Mainz, has long been on the opposite side of debates with fellow countryman Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

They differed on the Church´s controversial participation in government consultation centers, which led to the granting of certificates that allowed women to get abortions.

Cardinal Lehmann, president of the German bishops´ conference, favored staying in the system, in order to save lives. Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, favored a position that would avoid anything that made the Church seem as if it were an accomplice in such abortions.

The Pope eventually asked the Church in Germany to stop granting the certificates and to continue helping women in crisis pregnancies.

Now that the debate has ended, Cardinal Lehmann has wished to emphasize his ultimate agreement with Cardinal Ratzinger on the essentials of the faith.

And not only that, the former has praise for the latter.

«I think Ratzinger´s work will be judged very positively by history — even more positively than it is now,» Cardinal Lehmann said in the June issue of the magazine Inside the Vatican.

Robert Moynihan, the magazine´s director, was surprised, but Cardinal Lehmann reiterated: «You can quote what I said. I judge Ratzinger´s work very positively, and I think as time goes by, history will judge it in an ever more positive way. He has had a very difficult job, the second most difficult job in the Church, after the Pope. I think he has carried it out very well.»

Cardinal Lehmann added: «It is necessary to set limits, as he has done; to say this is acceptable, and [that] is not.»

According to Moynihan, Cardinal Lehmann´s statements are one of the clearest results of last month´s extraordinary consistory of cardinals, held in Rome.

«It seemed to me that Lehmann was deliberately offering an olive branch at a time when many see a growing distance between the German Church and the Roman Curia,» Moynihan said.

In fact, the U.S. journalist added, the meeting of 155 cardinals made very clear the «need to reaffirm the central importance and authority of Rome, even amid calls for greater collegiality.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation