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