Religion: Vatican Under Fire

167 theologians vs. the Pope

By now it has become a familiar ritual: Roman Catholic academics launching a public broadside against the Pope. But last week's outburst was exceptional both for the numbers -- 167 theologians from West Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland -- and for the timing. The so-called Cologne Declaration came on the heels of protests by clergy and lay people over John Paul II's choice of conservative European Archbishops.

The declaration criticized, besides the papal appointments, the Pontiff's teachings and his attempts to control scholars. "When the Pope does that which is not part of his office, he cannot, in the name...

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