The Swiss Hans Küng, one of the most renowned Catholic theologians in the world, died today in the German city of Tübingen at the age of 93, reported a spokeswoman for the Weltethos Foundation (World Ethics).
John XXIII appointed him official advisor to the Second Vatican Council and Küng acted as an expert and advisor to the bishops of his country between 1962 and 1965
Küng became the first sanctioned of the pontificate of John Paul II. In 1980 he ceased to belong to the Faculty of Theology of the University of Tübingen, but he retained, due to a special status, his chair of Ecumenical and Dogmatic Theology, as well as the direction of the Ecumenical Research Institute.
The Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Küng, known for having denied the infallibility of the pope, which caused the suspension of the Vatican in 1979, died this Tuesday in Tübingen (southwest) at the age of 93, his foundation reported.
Küng died “in peace at his home in Tübingen,” said a spokeswoman for the Weltethos Foundation about the theologian, considered one of the greatest popularizers of Catholic issues in the world with a work translated into more than 20 languages.
Born in Sursee, Lucerne, Switzerland on March 19, 1928, Küng received a degree in Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1953, ordained a priest in 1954, and was assigned to the diocese of Basel, further studies and obtained a doctorate in theology with the thesis “The justification in Karl Barth”.
Official Councilor of Vatican II
Pope John XXIII appointed him official advisor to the Second Vatican Council and Küng acted as an expert and advisor to the bishops of his country between 1962 and 1965.
Among his first works, he published “The Council and the Unity of the Church”, “The Structures of the Church “, of 1964 and” Freedom today “, of 1966.
It was in 1967 when he published” The Church “, one of his controversial works in which he pronounced on the suppression of the ” imprimatur “ or prior censorship of theological books and the abolition of celibacy, followed in 1976 by ” Infallible ?: a question” , in which he manifested himself against the dogma of pontifical infallibility.
For these works, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, former Holy Office,
On February 21, 1975, the Vatican made a statement in which disciplinary sanctions were not issued against the theologian but he was admonished not to continue teaching theses “that are opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church”, but he refused to retract .
“He can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian”
In 1979 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sanctioned him with the withdrawal of the ecclesiastical authorization to teach and stated: ” he can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian .”
Küng became the first sanctioned of the pontificate of John Paul II. In 1980 he ceased to belong to the Faculty of Theology of the University of Tübingen, but he retained, by a special status, his chair of Ecumenical and Dogmatic Theology, as well as the direction of the Ecumenical Research Institute.
Since 1995 he presided over the World Ethics Foundation “Weltethos” (Universal Ethos), which he created and through which he was in charge of studying and promoting dialogue between religions.
Despite the fact that in 2003 the German political and religious leaders highlighted the merits of Küng and asked the Catholic Church for his rehabilitation, in 1997 Cardinal Ratzinger, then precept for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that later he would come to the Papacy as Benedict XVI, ruled out the possibility of the rehabilitation of the Swiss theologian.
He was a personal friend in the past of the now emeritus pope and his companion at the University of Tübingen. Benedict XVI received the theologian Küng in Castel Gandolfo, which was the summer residence of the popes, in September 2005, in an interview that the theologian described as “hopeful.”
Francisco, “a Catholic spring”
About Pope Francis, Küng confided in a 2013 interview with the German weekly “Der Spiegel” that he was confident that he would put an end to celibacy among Catholic priests , while criticizing the beatification process of Karol Wojtyla.
He assured that with Jorge Bergoglio a “Catholic spring” came to the Church, both in form and in content, and said that this meant a “break” with what Benedict XVI “represented”.
That same year, Küng said that he was considering resorting to assisted suicide to end his life, given the progression that he suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
“I do not want to continue living as a shadow of myself , ” he wrote in the third and final volume of his memoirs.