Rehabilitate Prof Hans Küng
We have been delighted to receive messages of support and comment for our initiative to reinstate Prof Hans Küng as a Catholic Theologian. A selection is given below.
Message received from Fr Hans on 28 April 2016
Dear René Reid,
Thank you for your kind mail. Personally I do not strive for an official rehabilitation, but I appreciate your sympathy and loyalty and welcome your initiative. The Pope’s fraternal response to my »Appeal« may encourage you.
With all good wishes,
Catholic Church Reform Int'l joins with We Are Church International (WAC-I) and the European Network Church on the Move (EN-RE) as we all gather at their joint conference in Rome to offer congratulations to Professor Hans Küng on his 90th birthday.
In 1962, we were pleased when he was appointed by Pope John XXIII to be a theological advisor to members of the Second Vatican Council. We recall, in the late '60s, his becoming the first major Roman Catholic theologian since the late 19th century Old Catholic Church schism to publicly reject the doctrine of papal infallibility, in particular in his book Infallible? An Inquiry (1971). We remember with sadness in 1979 when he was stripped of his "missio canonica," his license to teach as a Roman Catholic theologian. He carried on teaching as a tenured professor of ecumenical theology at the University of Tübingen until his retirement in 1996. Author of numerous books, including Can We Save the Catholic Church (2014), he addressed, so simply yet eloquently, the challenges that Catholics face in today's world.
We shared his joy when, in March of 2016, Hans Küng received a personal letter from Pope Francis addressing him "Lieber Mitbruder" (Dear Brother in German) and responding to his request for a free and open dialogue on the dogma of infallibility. Shortly afterwards, we sent a letter to Pope Francis requesting "that we do not wait until years after his death to reinstate him, as was the case with Galileo, Teilhard de Chardin, and other distinguished Fathers of the past." We asked then and we again ask now: "Pope Francis, we earnestly and respectfully urge you to reinstate him now." Fr. Küng has been one of the great inspirations to Catholics and reform movements worldwide. He has served as one of our consultors since our founding in 2013. If he has been a voice of hope and encouragement for you as well, we invite you to join with us and so many others in signing this letter now.
Grateful for your continued support,
Rene Reid, CCRI director
Click on image to see
I wish this project well having long had a high regard both for Professor Kung and for his writings. However, the questions could have been better worded. As a priest of the Church of England (for 56 years) I signed of course as a Catholic priest – a designation Hans Kung himself would regard as including not only Roman Catholic, Melkite Catholic, and Maronite Catholic priests but also Anglican and Episcopalian, Old Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox – and indeed I think he would not regard the orders of the ministers of “non-conformist” Churches as invalid.
(The Revd Dr) John Bunyan
Please reinstate Hans........a great theologian. One we are most proud of. His thinking is such an asset to us.
Chris Mcdonnell has posted this on the ACP website:
In a posting I made on the ACP site on October 12th 2013-which was in fact a review of Kung’s new book “Can the catholic church survive?” – I concluded with this comment:
“A most significant and charitable action towards Kung would be for Francis to restore Kung’s credentials as a Catholic Teacher who, throughout these difficult years has remained a priest in good standing. The restoration of Teilhard de Chardin only came after his death. It would be a pity if history were to repeat itself.”
I made a similar comment recently in an article in the Catholic Times on the occasion of his birthday.
Further, in an article in the Dominican Journal SPIRITUALITY in December last year, I developed the argument:
“Hans Kung is now in his late 80s and in recent years has not enjoyed good health. What a gesture of generosity it would be, recognising his significant contribution to the Council and the post-Conciliar years, were his teaching credentials to be restored. Throughout these difficult years, he has remained a priest in good standing with the Church and there has never been any suggestion of parting company with the See of Peter.”