Wednesday, April 7, 2021


 From Vatican News:

Hans KüngHans Küng  (UNED Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia)

Swiss theologian Hans Küng dies aged 93

The 93 year-old theologian participated in the Second Vatican Council. A critic of the doctrine on papal infallibility, his authorisation to teach Catholic theology was revoked in 1979. 

By Vatican News

Swiss theologian Hans Küng died on Tuesday at the age of 93 in his home in Tübingen, Germany.

Born in Sursee on 19 March, 1928, he was ordained a priest in 1954. Three years later, in his dissertation for the doctorate, he argued for the convergence between Catholics and Reformed on the doctrine of Justification: he claimed that, in reality, the same thing is affirmed with different words. In 1960 he became professor at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Tübingen, and later took part in the Second Vatican Council as an expert, where he had the opportunity to engage with Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI.

In addition to having dedicated himself to the study of the history of religions, especially the Abrahamic ones, he was known for his positions in the theological and moral field, often critical of various points of Catholic doctrine. In particular, he spoke out against the dogma of papal infallibility as understood by the First Vatican Council. In 1979, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith revoked his faculty to teach as a Catholic theologian, but he continued to work as professor emeritus of ecumenical theology at the University of Tübingen.

The meeting between Benedict XVI and Küng

Hans Küng repeatedly criticised both St John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

At the beginning of Pope Benedict's pontificate, on 24 September 2005, a meeting took place between the two at Castel Gandolfo. In its report on the encounter, the Bulletin of the Vatican Press Office stressed that the meeting took place "in a friendly atmosphere": "Both parties were in agreement that it made no sense in the context of the meeting to enter into a dispute about persistent doctrinal questions between Hans Küng and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church." The conversation instead focused on two themes that were of "particular interest for the work of Hans Küng: the question of Weltethos (world ethics), and the dialogue between the reason of the natural sciences and the reason of the Christian faith".

The statement of the Press Office continued, saying Küng "emphasised that his project of Weltethos is in no way an abstract intellectual construction; rather, it highlights the moral values about which the great religions of the world converge, despite all their differences, and which can be perceived as valid criteria - given the convincing reasonableness of them - by secular reason." For his part, Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation of "Professor Küng's effort to contribute to a renewed recognition of the essential moral values of humanity through the dialogue of religions and in the encounter with secular reason," stressing "that the commitment to a renewed awareness of the values that sustain human life is also an important objective of his Pontificate." At the same time the Pope reaffirmed his agreement with Küng's attempt "to revive the dialogue between faith and the natural sciences and to assert, with regard to scientific thought, the reasonableness and necessity of the Gottesfrage (the question about God)." Küng - the communiqué concluded - expressed "his approval of the Pope's efforts in favor of the dialogue of religions and also of the encounter with the different social groups of the modern world".

In spite of this meeting, positions remained distant on many issues such as priestly celibacy, female priesthood, contraception, euthanasia.

In his research Küng also analyzed the relationship between faith and science, contesting the claims of some scientific theories to arrive at absolute certainties. In recent years he had slowed down his public activity, to the point of retiring to private life, for health reasons.


Anonymous said...

They left out how beloved he was of Freemasons, where his writings fit right in with this supplier of books of interest to Freemasons. Read the descriptions of these works.

Pierre said...

Strange that Kung was very happy to don his academic robes while eschewing attire which told the world he was a priest. Sounds like he had disordered priorities.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In the 1970's the priestly cassock and biretta were forbidden in my seminary even for the priests teaching there. They were Sulpicians. However, when we had academic events, they certainly put on their academic garments and overlays and completely weird hats. Yes, hypocrisy but that is academics for you.

Pierre said...

I assume that directive on cassocks and birettas violated Church law

JR said...

Although I would prefer priests wear a cassock (religious Order priests such as Franciscans and Dominicans seem to have no problem wearing habits), I wish priests would at least ditch that cheap-looking "tab" shirt in favor of one with a real Roman collar! On the other hand, a "with it" pastor I know only wears clericals when the bishop visits, or at some "public" event like parish dinners; otherwise secular clothes. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

JR, I , myself, have absolutely zero idea who you might be referring to !!

Pierre said...

Anonymous at 11:46,

All you have to do is look at some photos of Father McDonald, who sometimes where's the tab collar JR is referring to. It is quite common and it may be convenient but it looks awful.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But of course, priests in tab collars who look awful may well be the suffering our Lord is placing upon those who behold such horrors for their purification and eternal salvation. Don't look a gift tab collared priest in the mouth in other words.

Anonymous said...

Romulus Augustus here, one cannot say how much damage this man wrecked so upon Mother Church yet, nothing was ever done about it and was praised by many in the Novus Ordo rank and file. On the other hand Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who NEVER wavered from The Roman Catholic Church yet was vilified by the top brass, funny how one believes in ALL the teachings of the Roman Catholic Faith and you are called all types of names and treated like a leper. Remember Lefebvre will one day be made a Saint, not in our life time but one day.

John Nolan said...

I think there are a lot of people out there who consider Lefebvre more worthy of sainthood than his persecutor Paul VI, who raised papal absolutism to new heights yet ushered in and oversaw a catastrophic collapse.

As for Küng, he will no doubt enjoy the company of a host of 'expert theologians'; Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Rahner, Schillebeeckx ...