Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hans Küng?

I know I have a few Roman Catholic visitors. Would any of you be willing to comment on Hans Küng? I haven’t read anything by him, but I have familiarity with the basics:

“In the late 1960s Küng became the first major Roman Catholic theologian after the late 19th century Old Catholic Church schism to reject the doctrine of papal infallibility, in particular in his book Infallible? An Inquiry (1971). Consequently, on December 18, 1979, he was stripped of his license to teach as a Roman Catholic theologian but carried on teaching as a tenured professor of ecumenical theology at the University of Tübingen until his retirement (Emeritierung) in 1996. To this day he remains a persistent critic of papal authority, which he claims is man-made (and thus reversible) rather than instituted by God. He was not excommunicated and remains a Roman Catholic priest.”

Roman Catholics, would you consider this man to be in serious error? How would you feel about belonging to a church in which you denied an important official teaching it holds?


pilgrim said...

I'm no longer RC, but I went to hear Hans Kung speak once.

Quite boring actually.

But I do remember him saying Christianity, was the way, the truth and the life.

Hmm, I thought Christ was.

I realize theat Christ's people reflect Him and all, but we ought not to usurp Him and His role.

Albert said...

One of Hans Kung's books is available in the library of my school, a university run by members of Opus Dei. I am a former Roman Catholic.

I think Kung has discovered the rationality of NOT believing in a dogma that neither has any Biblical nor historical basis.

Iohannes said...

I recently saw his book Infallible? An Inquiry at a library. I only glanced at it, but it looked like one of the primary distinctions he makes is between infallibility and "indefectibility".

Along similar lines, you might like to look into Francis Simons, a liberal bishop in India, who in the 1960s wrote Infallibility and the Evidence.

Here are a couple of Time articles on the two men:

BTW, Al Kimel's blog used to have this on the side bar:

"You have done more damage to the Catholic Church than 'Humanae Vitae'!" --Hans Küng

L P Cruz said...

I am also curious, how about comparing Kung's view with that of Newman?


Pilgrim, well said, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, not the Church or Christian life.

Iohannes said...

Or with that of Lord Action?

Iohannes said...

Lord Acton, I meant.

theo said...

James asks:
"Roman Catholics, would you consider this man to be in serious error?"

Dear brother James,
Answering as a laymen, I understand that as a Catholic teacher of theology, Father Küng would indeed be in serious error were he to teach his belief as Catholic doctrine.

If I am to take the article at face value, it appears that the Church did indeed bar him from teaching his belief as Catholic Doctrine, though he could still teach under purely academic discipline outside of the authority of the Church. Apparently he submitted to the authority of the Church, even though he personally held some doctrine about that authority to be incorrect.

This is why we see that Father Küng was not out of full communion with the Church in spite of his belief that is contrary to an important doctrine. This is nothing new. You will note that even among the litany of saints are some (such as St. Jerome) who professed contrary to Church doctrine but submitted to Church authority regarding their declaration of what it is the Church actually teaches.

I've noted elsewhere that to the best of my knowledge today there no longer remains any provision for formal excommunication within Catholic cannon law. A Catholic expressing contrary belief, though prohibited from *teaching* it, would not be formally excommunicated. Were he to actually teach his belief as Church Doctrine, he would effectively excommunicate himself, by formally declaring his church is not the same church as The Church.

Humbly submitted by your brother in Christ,