The Prodigal Altar Boy

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hans Kung!

Prodigal Altar Boy Blog
19 March 2012

Happy Birthday, Hans Kung!

Today is Hans Kung’s birthday.  I’ll save you the trip to Wikipedia and tell you:

“Hans Kung is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, and prolific author. Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic (Stiftung Weltethos). Küng is "a Catholic priest in good standing",but the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology. He had to leave the Catholic faculty, but remained at the University of Tübingen as a professor of ecumenical theology, serving as an emeritus professor since 1996. Although Küng is not officially allowed to teach Catholic theology, neither his bishop nor the Holy See have revoked his priestly faculties.”

The full Wiki page is here:

Q:  “What’s so important about Hans Kung?” 

A:  In terms of “The TQ Project,” Hans Kung’s book, “The Council, Reform and Reunion,” is central to TQ’s story.  That 1961 book was the main book TQ recommended to his first parish in Alexandria as essential to understanding the Second Vatican Council.  Pope John XXIII’s 1959 encyclical Truth, Unity and Peace, states that while the Council would “…discuss important matters of religion...the most pressing topics will be those which concern the spread of the Catholic faith, the revival of Christian standards of morality and the bringing of ecclesiastical discipline into closer accord with the needs and conditions of our times." (emphasis added)

That last bit on bringing ecclesiastical discipline into accord with the modern age was TQ’s mission.  In an interview, TQ confirmed that press coverage of the Council, combined with implications of the Council as well as the questions it raised, compelled him to educate his parish about the Second Vatican Council.  In his words, “We had to wake the people up.”

I was reviewing Art’s recollection of TQ’s fervor, quoting from stacks of tomes he hauled from the pulpit.  TQ said hundreds of Kung’s book were sold at the parish.