Hans Küng is received at Castel Gandolfo

Source: FSSPX News


On September 24 at Castel Gandolfo, Benedict XVI received the Swiss dissident theologian Hans Küng, who has been barred from teaching by the Vatican since 1979. The encounter between the two men took place “in an amicable climate”, according to the communiqué of Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls. The pope and the theologian, now 77, decided not to enter into details on doctrinal questions which have pitted the Swiss teacher against the Magisterium of the Church.

“The pope appreciates, continues the communiqué, the efforts of professor Küng to contribute to a renewed recognition of the essential moral values of humanity through interreligious dialog and in the encounter with secular rationality. (…) The pope reaffirmed his agreement with the attempt by professor Küng to revive the dialog between the Faith and the natural sciences and make the rationality and necessity of the question of God appreciated in scientific thought.”

“Professor Küng underscored that his plan of Weltethos (Global ethics) is by no means an abstract intellectual construction; it is rather a means of bringing to light moral values around which the great religions of the world converge, despite all the differences, and the fact that in these values can be found valid criteria which are perceptible to secular reason”, explained the director of the Vatican Press Office. The Sovereign Pontiff affirmed that “the engagement for a renewed consciousness of values which sustain human life is also and important objective of his pontificate”.

“On his part, professor Küng expressed his approval of the efforts of the pope in favor of the dialog of religions, and also of the encounter with the different social groups of the modern world”, concluded the spokesman of the Holy See.

The dissident theologian has strongly criticized the papacy in its infallibility, accusing the German bishops of servile obedience in 1998 with regard to what he called the “Roman Kremlin”. He has constantly denounced the conservatism of John-Paul II and of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. After the election of Benedict XVI, Hans Küng was quite severe with regard to the new pope, qualifying the choice of the College of Cardinals as an “immense disappointment” for many of the faithful who were hoping for a pastoral and reforming pope. He did add, however: “we must wait”, for “the Petrine service in the Catholic Church is such a challenge that it can change anyone”. It’s necessary to give the new sovereign pontiff  “a chance”, he declared on April 19, the first signals being “quite telling” for him. He specified: “The new pope will have to guarantee the equality of man and woman at every level of the Church and promote ecumenism”. He welcomed the proposals of the pope at Cologne.

The Swiss theologian is the author of the draft of the Declaration for a Global Ethic of the parliament of world religions which was held in Chicago in 1993. On May 11, 2005, he received the 22nd peace prize of the Japanese Buddhist Peace Foundation Niwano. This prize was given to him “for his contribution to and his cooperation in interreligious dialog”. The Japanese foundation considers him in effect “one of the most important theologians of the 20th century”.

Jean-Marie Guénois commented in the 27 September issue of La Croix: “This pope who just a month ago received the successor of Archbishop Lefebvre is manifesting his style. He clearly intends to be nobody’s hostage”.