Vatican sets record straight on dual Catholic theologian

Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls has denied press speculation that Pope Benedict XVI knew that German biblical scholar Klaus Berger claimed to be both Catholic and Protestant, and raised no objections.

CLICK HEREVatican Information Service says that the Pope, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, had no knowledge of Berger's dual confessional identity.

Navarro Valls said that in 1968, Berger participated in the Protestant Supper and became a 'member of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church. He said that the German press had precise knowledge of 'the matter in its formal aspects' and 'raised no objections.'

"This assertion is false," he said. "Until the current discussion arose, no information beyond what was commonly known reached the cardinal, now Pope; there was no knowledge of a dual confessional identity. Thus, the cardinal had no reason to take up a position on the question of Mr. Berger's confessional identity and, indeed, he never pronounced himself on the subject."

"Obviously, the norms of Catholic canon law, which exclude dual membership of the Catholic Church and of a Protestant 'Landeskirche,' remain in full force without exception, and are therefore also valid in this case. The Church cannot obtain any dispensation from this rule, not even in the Sacrament of Penance."

Declaration on the confessional identity of Klaus Berger (Vatican Information Service 8/11/05)

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9 Nov 2005