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ROME (RNS/ENI) The Vatican newspaper has criticized the Swiss-born Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung after he accused Pope Benedict XVI of an “unecumenical luring away” of discontented Anglicans.
A column signed by the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, Giovanni Maria Vian, in Thursday’s (Oct. 29) edition said an article by Kung published in several European newspapers contained “lies and inaccuracies”.
The Vatican announced in October that Benedict will set up a structure to allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church, while preserving elements of Anglican spiritual and liturgical practices.
Observers have said the scheme is directed mainly at Anglicans who disagree with the ordination of women and of homosexuals.
In his article, published in English by The Guardian newspaper in London, Kung described Benedict’s action as “a dramatic change of course: steering away from the well-proven ecumenical strategy of eye-level dialogue and honest understanding.”
“The Roman thirst for power divides Christianity and damages its own church,” Kung wrote. “It is a tragedy.”
The Vatican revoked Kung’s license to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he criticized church teachings on papal infallibility and the virgin birth.
The Vatican newspaper accused Kung of distorting Benedict’s intentions, “an action that aims at restoring the unity [of the Church] desired by Christ.”
Benedict, who was then Joseph Ratzinger, was a colleague of Kung when both were theology professors at Germany’s Tubingen University.
Five months after his election in 2005, Benedict invited Kung, to a friendly meeting.
However, “Since then, with influential media unfailingly repeating his words, Kung has several times criticized Benedict XVI harshly and without foundation,” Vian wrote.
By Luigi Sandri
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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