It's simply impossible to spoof or satirize the inanities that come forth from Hans Küng. He is living proof that intellectual brilliance (yes, the man has a thick CV and is very learned) does not equal wisdom and certainly does not insure humble loyalty to the Church and her teachings. I dare say (okay, it's not very daring) that "humility" is not a word that hangs out, let alone associates, with Küng.
Other qualities lacking in Küng's various public utterances are originality and creativity; in direct contrast to Pope Benedict XVI, who he continually insults, he might just be the most clichéd Stuck-In-The-Mythical-Sixties-Forever "thinker" around. For example, this from a recent pronouncement by the man who would be infallible but never pope:
Wow! Does he mean to say that the Pope, by virtue of his despotic powers and his access to clandestine channels, can magically transform the Catholic Church into a run-of-the-mill mainline, generic, dying Protestant denomination? Talk about turning wine into water (and bad water at that).
Whereas President Obama, with the support of the whole world, is looking forwards and is open to people and to the future, this Pope is orientating himself above all backwards, inspired by the ideal of the mediaeval church, sceptical about the Reformation, ambiguous about modern rights of freedom.
Whereas President Obama is concerned for new cooperation with partners and allies Pope Benedict XVI, like George.W Bush, is trapped in thinking in terms of friend and foe. He snubs fellow Christians in the Protestant churches by refusing to recognize these communities as churches. The dialogue with Muslims has not got beyond a lip confession of ‘dialogue’. Relations with Judaism must be said to have been deeply damaged.
Whereas President Obama radiates hope, promotes civic activities and calls for a new ‘era of responsibility’, Pope Benedict is imprisoned in his fears and wants to limit human freedom as far as possible, in order to establish an ‘age of restoration’.
Whereas President Obama is going on the offensive by using the constitution and the great tradition of his country as the basis for bold steps in reform, Pope Benedict is interpreting the decrees of the 1962 Reform Council in a backward direction, looking towards the conservative Council of 1870.
Ah yes: massive government spending and growth—which has been going on in the U.S. for a few decades now—equals "bold steps in reform", while interpreting the Second Vatican Council in the light of established doctrine and authentic Tradition is ushering in a new Dark Age. Like I've said before, Küng really needs to write less and read more. And yet, admittedly, he does provide both a bit of levity and a reminder of how fortunate we are to have a truly great German theologian and humble son of the Church as Vicar of Christ.
On a more serious note, one has to wonder to what degree Küng is even Catholic (to put it bluntly). In a 2005 piece for Catholic World Report, "Hans Kung Has a Religion the New York Times Can Love", Donna Steichen wrote:
Also at Santa Clara University, Küng spoke in favor of married priests, women priests, and intercommunion. Elsewhere, his writing reveals far more radical deviations from the essentials of the Creed, the authenticity of John's Gospel, the pre-existence of Jesus, even the doctrine of the Trinity (see, e.g. Christianity: Essence, History and Future, [Continuum, 1995], Credo: The Apostles' Creed Explained for Today [Doubleday, 1994], My Struggle for Freedom: Memoirs [Eerdmans, 2003], and Küng's foreword to Born Before All Time? The Dispute over Christ's Origin [Crossroad, 1993]). Küng's ecumenism is apparently aimed toward a synthesis of the three "prophetic" monotheistic religious systems: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Seen in that light, his Global Ethic campaign assumes more ominous proportions. He denies that he is trying to invent a new world religion. His standard presentation assures listeners that adopting his universal ethical principles will in no way compromise their present beliefs and practices. But the distinctive beliefs historically accepted by major world religions would not remain, if his grandiose plans should carry the day.
Related IgnatiusInsight.com Articles and Book Excerpts:
• Hans Kung Has a Religion the New York Times Can Love | Donna Steichen
• Authority and Dissent in the Catholic Church | Dr. William E. May
• Curran's Attack on John Paul II Rebutted | Dr. William E. May
• "A Revolutionary of the Christian Type" | Peter Seewald | The Preface to Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait
• Benedict XVI's Theological Vision: An Introduction | Monsignor Joseph Murphy | From the introduction to Christ Our Joy: The Theological Vision of Pope Benedict XVI
• The Theological Genius of Joseph Ratzinger | An Interview with Fr. D. Vincent Twomey, S.V.D.
• The Courage To Be Imperfect | The Introduction to Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age (A Theological Portrait) | D. Vincent Twomey, S.V.D.
• Is Heresy Heretical? | Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.