VATICAN (CWN) -- Dissident theologian Hans Kung has denounced the Catholic bishops of Germany for accepting the decision of Pope John Paul II that Catholic counselors should not provide counseling certificates for women seeking abortions.

      In a sharp attack on the Holy See, the German theologian-- whose heterodox works have prompted the Vatican to warn that he should not be regarded as a Catholic theologian-- lashed out at the bishops for what he called their "servile obedience" to the "Roman Kremlin."

      Kung said that the bishops, by accepting the Pope's decision, had lost their "credibility" and their "apostolic franchise." He desperately urged them to "tenacious resistance" against the authority of Rome, which he said was based on "half-truths" and "camouflage." In a nasty personal dig at Bishop Karl Lehmann of Mainz, the head of the German bishops' conference, he hinted that the German bishops were motivated by their desire to become cardinals.

      Actually the German bishops have already shown at least some resistance to the Pope in this case. Although the Holy Father said that Catholic counselors should "instantly" stop issuing the certificates which are required to obtain abortions, the German bishops said that the practice would be stopped "as soon as possible."

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January 30 - February 1, 1998 volume 9, no. 22          DAILY CATHOLIC