Hans Kueng, dissident Catholic theologian, dies at 93


Although forbidden by the Vatican to show theology, Kueng was an influential voice for liberal Catholics and a prolific creator, difficult Catholic doctrines on papal authority, contraception, divorce and different points.

Kueng’s profession was lived in opposition to Benedict and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, however in retirement Kueng was delighted by “the brand new reform-friendly environment” impressed by the election of Pope Francis.

The profession of the Swiss-born Kueng intertwined with that of Joseph Ratzinger, the long run Benedict. Kueng, then a professor on the College of Tuebingen, urged the college’s theology division to rent the younger Ratzinger in 1966.

The pair participated within the Second Vatican Council within the Nineteen Sixties as “periti,” or advisers. Kueng later wrote that he and Ratzinger had been identified there because the “teenage theologians,” although they had been then of their 30s.

Later, they took totally different paths.

Ratzinger left Tuebingen in 1969 after left-wing scholar upheavals rocked the campus, and his courses had been at one level interrupted by sit-ins. Kueng was stripped of the best to show Catholic theology at Tuebingen in 1979 after difficult Catholic doctrine — most importantly papal infallibility, which holds that the pope can by no means be mistaken when he makes “infallible” pronouncements.

Ratzinger, by then a cardinal, was the Vatican’s chief guardian of orthodoxy from 1981 to 2005. Whereas Benedict was not on the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Religion on the time Kueng was disciplined, he was reportedly concerned within the determination in his position as archbishop of Munich and Freising.

Ratzinger defended the Vatican’s therapy of Kueng, saying in his 1997 ebook “Salt of the Earth” that he revered the trail Kueng had taken however that Kueng “mustn’t then demand the church’s seal of approval.”

Kueng’s estrangement from the Vatican passed off beneath Pope John Paul II, and the theologian sharply criticized the Polish-born pontiff’s strategy to operating the church — although he voiced admiration for the globe-trotting John Paul’s wider affect on the world stage.

“There’s a blatant contradiction between the international coverage of this pope and his home coverage,” Kueng informed The Related Press on the twenty fifth anniversary of John Paul’s papacy in 2003.

“I discover it outstanding how the pope spoke out for human rights, freedom and democracy and particularly towards the warfare in Iraq, and likewise for the dialogue of religions,” he stated. “However, alternatively, he represses freedom within the Catholic Church, he helps the inquisition towards reformist theologians and bishops. He holds illiberal positions on questions like contraception and abortion.”

Two years later, Kueng stated of Benedict’s election that it was “an infinite disappointment for all those that hoped for a reformist and pastoral pope.”

Nonetheless, he stated the brand new pope needs to be allowed 100 days to “study.”

A reconciliation appeared doable in September 2005, a number of months after Benedict’s election, when the pope granted Kueng an viewers.

The Vatican stated the 2 spent a number of hours collectively and had a pleasant theological dialogue — although they skirted the variations that divided Kueng and the church.

Kueng stated that they had beforehand met solely as soon as, in Bavaria in 1983, since he was stripped of his license to show, and that was a “reasonably tense scenario.”

However the 2005 assembly was “a really important occasion” and a step ahead after he spent 25 years asking to see John Paul, he stated — “now I received the impression that he was the identical particular person I knew from the completely happy Tuebingen years.”

Nonetheless a lot that assembly might have mended private fences, Kueng turned a vocal public critic of Benedict’s traditionalist papacy over the next years.

In 2010, because the church within the pope’s German homeland and elsewhere reeled from revelations of a long time of sexual abuse of kids by clerics, Kueng wrote in an open letter to bishops that Benedict’s papacy was more and more “one among missed alternatives and unused possibilities.”

The church, he stated, was “within the deepest disaster of confidence for the reason that Reformation.” He faulted the pope, amongst different issues, for failing to succeed in out extra to Protestants and obtain a “lasting understanding” with Jews; stirring distrust amongst Muslims with a 2006 speech; failing to assist folks in Africa fight AIDS by permitting using condoms; and failing to push ahead the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Kueng was irked by Benedict’s determination to elevate, “with out preconditions,” the excommunication of 4 bishops consecrated with out papal consent by the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X — one among them a Holocaust denier whose rehabilitation sparked outrage amongst Jews and Catholics alike.

Kueng stated that efforts to cowl up sexual abuse had been steered by Ratzinger’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Religion, and he regretted that the pope hadn’t delivered a “private mea culpa.” And he referred to as on bishops to demand change: “Don’t ship messages of devotion to Rome, however calls for for reform!”

Kueng was born on March 19, 1928 in Sursee, central Switzerland. After graduating from highschool in Lucerne, he studied philosophy and theology on the Pontifical Gregorian College in Rome.

He was consecrated as a priest in 1954 and later continued his research in Paris, on the Sorbonne and the Institut Catholique, the place he gained his doctorate with a dissertation on the doctrine of justification — the topic of an extended dispute between Catholics and Protestants over how folks obtain salvation.

Kueng labored as a priest in Lucerne within the late Fifties, earlier than shifting to the theology school of Germany’s College of Muenster and later to Tuebingen. He remained in Tuebingen for the remainder of his life.

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