Sunday, December 30, 2012

Was reading Hans Küng a preventative, innoculating RC Seminarians from becoming sexual predators?

I know, correlation doesn’t mean causation. But I was surprised to find that explanation among these comments, ostensibly from priests, or at least, former Roman Catholic seminarians, in response to this recent article about Hans Küng:

Vincent of Valley Forge • 3 days ago
Hans Kung and certain other loyal critics of the modern papacy were on our favorite, unauthorized reading list "a few years back" at St Charles Seminary here in the Philadelphia area. Funny thing: none of us who secretly met and read Kung in St Charles were among those others who later became predators of children. [emphasis added] Yes, a few of us left the seminary or later, left the priesthood. But those of us who left became professionals, in one field or another, and some are still Catholic. Those of us who have stayed and been ordained (some of us go back decades to remember our secret reading of Kung at St Charles) try to be good pastors and give the sermons our people need. And we keep our heads down. We love being priests. We pray for the conversion of the Vatican [emphasis added].

Now with Archbishop Chaput we have more reason than ever to keep our heads down. He probably thinks we are being reverend. But the right word is cautious.

And this:

emmettcoyne [in response to] Vincent of Valley Forge • 2 days ago
Vincent of Valley Forge's clandestine seminary reading of Hans Kung triggered my seminary memory of HK. I was at Mt. St. Mary Seminary in the archdiocese of Cincinnati. Some 'affectionately' referred to it as 'East Berlin' as the rector essentially created an intimidating environment to faculty and students. We hardly ever left the grounds, essentially under ecclesiastical house arrest. So it was most suprising when we were forced onto buses to Music Hall in downtown Cincinnati to hear a young Swiss theologian, Hans Kung, speaking of his book, "The Council: Reform and Reunion."

My suspicion was the rector was unaware of the radioactive material Kung was letting loose on hitherto totally indoctrinated, unquestioning seminarians. For some of us, drinking this 'new wine' was intoxicating and we were never the same, and set free to imagine church as a liberating community of pilgrims and not a cult of control.

Kung's spirit on inquiry of doctrinal subjects reflects Jesus of Nazareth who dissented from the current interpretation of Torah Law and offered his 'new wine' which was rejected by the then official religious hierarchy of Judaism, culminating in his being handed over to Roman authorities because he was "stirring up the people with his teaching." You know the ending of that story.

Kung has been spared a similar death because progressive democratic societies have put a brake on capital punishment for dissent. [emphasis added].

Yes, Küng has been spared the death sentence. Patrick Granfield, (The Limits of the Papacy, New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company ©1987) outlines the nature of the “correction” of Küng, provided by “The Pope, especially through the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (SCDF)”:

In 1967, the SCDF began its investigation of certain theological positions of Hans Küng, professor at Tübingen University in German. On February 15, 1975, it issued a document pointing out certain opinions of Küng that differed from the doctrine of the Church: his teaching on infallibility and the magisterium and his position on the position of valid consecration of the eucharist by a nonordained baptized person. Although Küng repeatedly refused to go to Rome to discuss his case with the Congregation, communication between the two parties continued.

On December 15, 1979, the congregation issued a declaration that noted that some of his theological views continued to be “a cause of disturbance in the minds of the faithful.” … Subsequently Küng was removed from the Catholic faculty of theology at Tübingen, but he remains as director of the Institute of Ecumenical Research. It should be noted that he was not excommunicated, declared a heretic, nor forbidden to exercise his priestly ministry.

Nevertheless, Küng has not been well-liked at all at the Vatican. Here’s a selection from the main article linked above, discussing the relationship between Ratzinger and Küng over the years:

Küng and Ratzinger were the youngest and most influential progressives to advise bishops at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65)… at the University of Tübingen, Küng, a native of Switzerland, and Ratzinger, who had grown up in the Nazi darkness of his native Germany, soon found themselves at odds over the sweeping changes in the church, in a theological debate that would echo across Europe and the global church.

Now, during the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, Küng, an internationally renowned scholar, and Ratzinger, known as Pope Benedict XVI, are even more at odds. Of the many issues that divide them, Küng sees the attempt to rein in the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious as a sign of myopia, a failure of vision.

"You cannot deny that Joseph Ratzinger has faith," said Küng, in a coat and tie, seated in his office, speaking in calm tones in the blue twilight. "But he is absolutely against freedom. He wants obedience."

"He is against the paradigm of Vatican II." Küng paused. "He has a medieval idea of the papacy."

"Many sisters are better educated and more courageous than a lot of the male clergy," he said matter-of-factly. The Roman Curia "will try to condemn them."

The legendary intellectual battle between Küng and Ratzinger holds a mirror to divisions in the larger church. Their split began shortly after Vatican II. During the student revolts of 1968, Ratzinger was appalled when protesters disrupted his classroom. That same year, Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, which condemned the use of artificial contraception, met with enormous protest from laypeople, theologians like Küng, and even scattered bishops.

Ratzinger shifted to the right, embracing institutional continuity. Küng attacked papal infallibility as an accident of history, devoid of genuine theological meaning.

Küng sees the clergy abuse crisis and the crackdown on the leadership organization of American nuns as symptoms of a pathological power structure [emphasis added].By his lights, the impact on church moral authority, and finances, is a crisis rivaling the Protestant Reformation.

In his years at the university here, Ratzinger, polite and bookish, was a familiar sight on his bicycle. "He did not have a driver's license," recalled Hermann Häring, a retired faculty theologian who knew both men.

Ratzinger saw the church's future in rebuilding its orthodox roots.

From academia Ratzinger rose to archbishop of Munich and Freising, then a cardinal appointed in 1981 by Pope John Paul II as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the old office of the Roman Inquisition. As he prosecuted theologians for straying from official teaching, he became known as an enforcer of truth.

Küng became a highly influential popular theologian with a stream of writings, including a book critical of papal infallibility. The Vatican reacted with a doctrinal investigation and suspension of Küng's license to teach theology in 1979. But at University of Tübingen, a public facility that dates to 1477, Küng had job safety. Still a priest, he became a pariah to orthodox Catholics and an intellectual hero to mainstream believers as he kept publishing and speaking.

Finally, on this topic, here is an interview with Küng that Steve linked to about a year ago, Küng’s view on the future of the Roman Catholic Church.

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