For those of you who don't know much about Hans Kung and Pope Benedict the articles and links at the BOTTOM of this post may be of some use. ( These are highlighted in blue.)
In case you are wondering why I am writing about Hans Kung you need to see my previous post which is breaking news as Hans Kung has strongly criticised the recent invitation of Pope Benedict to disenchanted members of the Anglican Church.
Few Roman Catholic theologians have received as wide a recognition in the 20th century among Christians of all kinds as has Hans Kung.
The sheer breadth of his learning and interests has attracted many people, from the ranks of theologians to the ordinary person in the pew. His many books have covered an enormous range.
His mind is clear and keen - though I must add that he uses more words than I would think necessary to make his points.
Two aspects of his life and work have captured the imaginations of many:
1. As an eminent scholar, at one time considered a bright and rising star in the Roman Catholic Church, he stands out for having criticised and challenged the idea that Christian authority can be absolute.
2. Kung has championed the position that the scope of ecumenism is far wider than the Christian denominations.
In his view, the ecumenical calling of the Church embraces the whole earth, including other faiths and the so-called secular world.
Hans Küng is President of the Global Ethic Foundation and was named a theological consultant for the Second Vatican Council by Pope John XXIII and played a major role in the writing of the documents of Vatican II.
Father Kung, has frequently challenged official church positions on papal infallibility, birth control, priestly celibacy and the all-male priesthood. In 1979 the Vatican withdrew permission for him to teach as a Catholic theologian, although it did not restrict his ministry as a Catholic priest.
Father Kung has known Pope Benedict for some 50 years.
Küng wrote in The Catholic Church: A Short History (2002), Introduction, p. xviii: "In 1979 I had personal experience of the Inquisition under another pope. My permission to teach was withdrawn by the church, but nevertheless I retained my chair and my institute (which was separated from the Catholic faculty).
"For two further decades I remained unswervingly faithful to my church in critical loyalty, and to the present day I have remained professor of ecumenical theology and a Catholic priest in good standing.
I affirm the papacy for the Catholic Church, but at the same time indefatigably call for a radical reform of it in accordance with the criterion of the gospel."
SOME USEFUL LINKS