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Cardinal Lehmann says history will be kind to Ratzinger

German Cardinal Karl Lehman, who has clashed with Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith head Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has emphasised his agreement with Ratzinger on the essentials of the Catholic faith.

"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.

Inside the Vatican editor Robert Moynihan said he was surprised when 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."

Lehman and Ratzinger have clashed most notably on the Church's controversial participation in government consultation centres in Germany, which led to the granting of certificates that allowed women to get abortions. Cardinal Lehmann wanted the Church's continued participation in the scheme to save lives, while Ratzinger favoured the avoidance of abortion at all costs.

The text of the editorial is available on Inside the Vatican's website.