The Vatican's head of relations with Islam has criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury as mistaken and "naive" for suggesting that some aspects of Sharia law in Britain were unavoidable.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, in a wide-ranging discussion with reporters about Christian-Muslim relations, also said he was confident that a new, permanent body between the Vatican and Muslims would help defuse misunderstandings in the future.
"I think it was a mistake, a mistake because, above all, one has to ask what type of Sharia. And then, it was a bit naive," Cardinal Tauran said in answer to a question at a breakfast meeting.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sparked a religious and political storm in Britain and beyond last month when he raised the prospect of Islamic law in the United Kingdom.