German Muslims outraged at Catholic archbishop's comments on family

Muslims in Germany have criticized comments by a senior Roman Catholic archbishop that suggested they were worth less than Catholics.

Cardinal Joachim Meissner told members of the conservative Catholic group Neocatechumenal Way that "I always say one of your families replaces three Muslim families."

The lay group, founded in Spain in the 1960s, celebrates unique liturgies and emphasizes missionary evangelization.

The head of the Turkish Community in Germany, Kenan Kolat, said Wednesday that the comment strained Muslim-Christian relations in Germany.

Meissner responded by saying he hadn't meant to denigrate the beliefs of Muslims, but acknowledged that his "choice of words was perhaps unfortunate in this case."

The 80-year-old archbishop of Cologne recently re-submitted his request to retire after the pope initially turned him down.