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Hans Küng, Catholic theologian who challenged papal authority, dies at 93

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Hans Küng, Catholic theologian who challenged papal authority, dies at 93

The death changed into announced by the Global Ethic Foundation, which Dr. Küng based in 1995. He had Parkinson’s disease, however the immediate cause changed into no longer disclosed.

Dr. Küng, an ordained priest who worked primarily as a student and writer, changed into regarded by admirers and detractors alike as one of many greatest Catholic thinkers of the past century. Unquestionably one of his early books, first printed in English as “The Council and Reunion,” helped present the mental framework for one of the reforms instituted at the Second Vatican Council (in most cases called Vatican II) beneath Pope John XXIII.

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Dr. Küng changed into among the many youngest theologians at Vatican II, which ran from 1962 to 1965, and he cultivated a world reputation as an articulate critic, fluent in six languages, of what he thought of because the church’s failure to adapt to popular times. At some stage in a 1963 speaking tour of the United States, he changed into invited to the White Condominium by President John F. Kennedy, the nation’s first Catholic president, however he changed into banned from showing at Catholic College in Washington.

It wasn’t Catholicism that he adversarial, Dr. Küng stated, however Roman Catholicism — namely, what he considered as an insular, self-reinforcing Vatican forms that amounted to an authoritarian regime. For centuries, he stated, the Vatican had uncared for its spiritual mission because it pursued the accumulation of vitality and wealth, with the pope reigning as an absolute monarch.

“Are no longer the resemblances between the Communist and Catholic methods putting?” he stated. “Are no longer each absolutist, centralist, totalitarian, in short, enemies of human freedom?”

(He also likened the church’s pattern of clerical obedience to the lockstep pondering of defense power leaders in Nazi Germany.)

Dr. Küng believed clergymen could well restful be allowed to marry and that popes could well restful be elected no longer by a secret vote of the College of Cardinals however by in model clergymen and church contributors. He advocated equal rights for females and stated beginning withhold watch over, which the church opposes, could well restful be a matter of person judgment of correct and mistaken.

His ideas were so revolutionary that many seen them as tantamount to a demand a 2d Reformation. Indeed, some scholars considered Dr. Küng because the most extreme threat to the Catholic Church since Martin Luther, the 16th-century German theologian whose criticism of the papacy resulted in a schism that gave upward push to the Protestant Reformation. (Wags even referred to Dr. Küng as “Martin Luther Küng.”)

Restful, he by no formula renounced his Catholic faith, and the church by no formula eliminated him from the priesthood.

“I insist the papacy for the Catholic Church,” he wrote in “The Catholic Church: A Instant Ancient past” (2001), “however at the identical time indefatigably demand a thorough reform of it in accordance with the criterion of the gospel.”

Dr. Küng instructed a decentralized Catholic Church, with the pope and cardinals stripped of their characteristic because the sole interpreters of ecclesiastical doctrine. He maintained that the first allegiance of a Catholic changed into to the instance of Christ, no longer to the church’s hierarchy and what he thought of as its capricious and outdated rules.

“Many Christians are asserting, ‘Jesus, sure; the church, no!’ ” he stated in a 1977 speech at the College of Notre Dame.

In his dozens of books, Dr. Küng examined Catholicism by the lens of various spiritual traditions. He primitive historical diagnosis to quiz the virgin beginning of Jesus and to demonstrate that the Catholic Church had existed for 1,000 years sooner than celibacy became mandatory for clergymen.

His 1970 book “Infallible?: An Inquiry” (printed in English in 1971) attacked the doctrine of papal infallibility: the belief that when the pope speaks on matters of faith and morality, he is inerrantly moral.

Dr. Küng renowned that the doctrine had been adopted thoroughly in 1870 and that there were various historical examples of popes making foolish, ignorant and morally uncertain choices.

In a evaluation in the Original York Times, theological student Martin Marty called Dr. Küng’s scrutinize “a reverent book by a upset man who urges that Catholicism dwell no longer by the propositions of the church however by Christ’s gospel.”

The Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith — the body that determines orthodoxy in the church — suggested the dissident priest to pause espousing what it called his “unsuitable views” as a professor of Catholic theology. Dr. Küng refused, denouncing what he called a “Roman inquisition” in opposition to him.

In 1979, after John Paul II changed into named pope, the Vatican declared that Dr. Küng had to offer up his location at the College of Tübingen. (It is a state college, however professors of Catholic theology needed to be permitted by the church.)

By then, Dr. Küng changed into a wholly-promoting creator with a great following among liberal-minded clergymen and church contributors. Students held demonstrations in opposition to the Vatican’s resolution, and a whole lot of Protestant and Catholic clerics signed letters of deliver.

Dr. Küng moved to a various division at Tübingen as a professor of ecumenical theology and as director of the college’s Institute for Ecumenical Research.

Unquestionably one of many Vatican officers who took part in the resolution changed into Joseph Ratzinger, a German priest Dr. Küng had helped recruit to the Tübingen college. But as Dr. Küng held on to his liberal spiritual views, Ratzinger grew more conservative. He rose in the church hierarchy, changing into head of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith. In 2005, after the death of John Paul II, he became Pope Benedict XVI.

Dr. Küng, who had criticized John Paul II’s leadership, had a cordial dialogue with Benedict in 2005, however the church’s stance in direction of the theologian didn’t soften. Dr. Küng became a solid critic of his onetime colleague.

“I mediate it’s obligatory that we develop no longer sink into pessimism,” Dr. Küng suggested the German journal Der Spiegel in 2011. “But my prognosis has proven that the church is ill, and it’s the sickness of the Roman machine. Beneath these situations, I will’t merely behave admire an ineffective physician and explain that all the pieces will almost definitely be stunning.”

Hans Küng changed into born March 19, 1928, in Sursee, Switzerland. His father had a successful shoe industry, and his mother changed into a homemaker. He had 5 youthful sisters.

He changed into 11 when he made up our minds to turn correct into a priest. He studied at the Pontifical Gregorian College in Rome, changed into ordained in 1954 and acquired a doctorate in theology in 1957 from the Catholic Institute of Paris. He also studied in Germany, England, Spain and the Netherlands.

Dr. Küng served as a priest in Switzerland in the late 1950s sooner than foundation his educational profession. He joined the college at the College of Tübingen in 1960.

Unquestionably one of his more in model books, “On Being a Christian” (1974), sold more than 200,000 copies in Germany. Yet every other, “Does God Exist?” (1978), wrestled with the most simple quiz of faith. Dr. Küng’s conclusion changed into that no one could well indicate or disprove God’s existence.

His various books covered such topics as song, Judaism, death and demise, contemporary artwork, psychology, racism, economics and the ambiance. Some of his writings were adapted for a symphonic work by British composer Jonathan Harvey.

After retiring as a professor in 1995, Dr. Küng established the Global Ethic Foundation, which seeks to promote thought across cultures and religions. His admirers incorporated frail secretary of state Henry Kissinger, frail United Nations secretary in model Kofi Annan and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu.

A listing of survivors could well no longer be confirmed.

When Argentine Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis in 2013, Dr. Küng hoped for a recent period of liberalism in the Catholic Church, however he changed into upset that most necessary swap changed into slack in coming.

He had long argued that the church changed into a human institution and that clergymen and popes were discipline to the identical flaws and failings as all of mankind.

“There are no unreformable areas of the Church,” Dr. Küng as soon as stated, “since the divine and immutable is nowhere with the exception of embodied in the human and mutable.”

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Hans Küng, Catholic theologian who challenged papal authority, dies at 93