Cathblog Defends Fr Küng from Heresy Charge

Christine Hogan on Cath blog has come to the defence of Fr Küng against online charges of heresy. If the working definition of someone who is a heretic is “someone who should be burnt at the stake” (as Christine seems to assume) then he is certainly not a “heretic”.

And truly, someone can only be called a “heretic” if the Church officially declares them to be so. As Christine points out, Fr Küng is a priest “in good standing” with the Catholic Church.

That doesn’t mean that he has not, from time to time (and time and time again) professed doctrines that could be defined as “heretical”. The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines “heresy” as a “belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine”. According to the Catholic Encycopledia of 1911, St Thomas Aquinas defined “heresy” as “a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas”.

No-one can deny that Fr Küng has professed plenty of such “beliefs or opinions” in his time. But he is not, strictly, a “heretic” because the Church has never declared him so. If it were to ever do so, there would be plenty of other professors of “contrary” beliefs who would also have to be considered as candidates for the same charge.

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36 Responses to Cathblog Defends Fr Küng from Heresy Charge

  1. Matthias says:

    And from the proddie perspective a heretic is one who’s beliefs run counter to Scripture .Examples at the moment, of protestants being labelled heretics/apostates by other Protestants are the leaders of the Emergent church such as Brian McLaren,Rick Warren and Jim Wallis. If you go to websites such as HERESCOPE or slice of Laedocia you will see what i mean
    My brother as a Church of Christ theological student , studied Kung as part of his degree ,and although not a Christian now-thanks to the Baptisimal regenerationists in the QLD church of Christ conference- still has a high regard for Kung and also for Aquinas.and little for some of his former colleagues who treated him shabbily

  2. Terra says:

    Oh dear, Cath News strikes again! Now we are not allowed to call a spade a spade lest we suddenly organise for the Spanish Inquisition to make house calls…

    Actually you don’t need to be declared a heretic to be one – it is one of those things that incurs latae sententiae excommunication.

    What is required is to publicly reject a teaching of the Church that is part of the body of the faith, and persist in this rejection in the face of correction. Formal declation of the excommunication is only necessary if further action (such as dismissal from the clerical state) is contemplated.

    In Fr Kung’s case, he isn’t actually in good standing – his persistent espousal of erroneous views has led to his license to teach theology being revoked.

  3. Tony says:

    @ Terra,

    Oh dear, Cath News strikes again!


    Now we are not allowed to call a spade a spade lest we suddenly organise for the Spanish Inquisition to make house calls…

    Now? Was it not always thus?

    Actually you don’t need to be declared a heretic to be one – it is one of those things that incurs latae sententiae excommunication.

    But you need to be declared a heretic to be recognised (officially) as one. All else is speculation.

    In Fr Kung’s case, he isn’t actually in good standing – his persistent espousal of erroneous views has led to his license to teach theology being revoked.

    After which (1979) the new Pope Benedict had a ‘cordial’ meeting with Kung in 2005. Surely any official notion of ‘not in good standing’ would have been resolved then or since?

    • Schütz says:

      I was going to cite the fact that the Holy Father had a cordial meeting with Kung in 2005 myself, but then I thought “that doesn’t technically prove that he is in ‘good standing'” since the Pope meets with lots of people of many different beliefs or none. It does prove that Papa B is “Mr Cordiality”.

      • Tony says:

        It does prove that Papa B is “Mr Cordiality”

        An example to us all, I’m sure you’d agree!

        You’re either in good standing or not. If he’s not then we’d either know about it or assume that without evidence to the contrary, he is.

  4. Pax says:

    Terra’s comment “In Fr Kung’s case, he isn’t actually in good standing – his persistent espousal of erroneous views has led to his license to teach theology being revoked” succinctly establishes why it is puzzling that the writer of the article would say Father Kung is in good standing. Is she ignorant of this fact ?
    I sometimes wonder if the priests like Father Kung should be sent to a poor parish with a holy parish priest for a time to see the reality of the faith in daily living away from the ivory tower of academia.Is he active in his priestly ministry ?Does he say the mass and dispense the sacraments.?
    There is a severe shortage of priests.In the police force they are putting paper pushing policeman back on the beat Perhaps the Church needs to send some of our paper pushing religious back out into the vineyard?
    Perhaps I am showing my ignorance but I weary of the academic religious who show no qualms in espousing ideas clearly against the teaching of the magisterium and yet making full use of their title of priest or sister in the Church. If they cannot accept the teaching why don’t they say I no longer believe and go or if they don’t want to leave go into a contemplative monastery and pray for the arrival of the Church of their imaginings which they are so convinced is the true church.
    Yes I know I am sounding grumpy because in trueth that is how the constant drip drip drip of thei mutterings affectcs me at times.Obviously I have to do a lot more work on the virtue of patience and pray for these souls instead of sounding off!
    Converts to the faith have this courage.Many have come from a denomination they loved and were loved and respected in but there came a point in their lives where they could no longer say with honesty that they believed in that denomination as offering Truth.
    Yet I know it is free discussion of ideas and dialogue that has enabled them to come home to Truth so where do we find the balance between honest and free exploration of ideas without losing fidelity to Truth?

    • Schütz says:

      Is he active in his priestly ministry ?Does he say the mass and dispense the sacraments.?

      As far as I know, the answer is yes – although not in a parish situation because he, like the Holy Father, is well past retirement age now, so I think we can go easy on him on this score.

      • Terra says:

        I suppose one can debate what ‘in good standing’ means but the claim to be in such a state is not uncommon amongst many who reject core teachings of the Church. And this is where automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication for heresy comes into play (not withstanding all of the technical difficulties surrounding this).

        I don’t actually think he has been active as a priest for a long time (but if someone knows better, by all means point to the evidence. But of course, even if he is still exercising his ministry, he certainly wouldn’t be the only heretical priest around the world to be doing so – have the two South Brisbane priests been laicized yet for example?!).

        Fr Kung has both had his license to teach theology revoked and several of his books subject to notifications by the CDF. It doesn’t get much stronger than that these days (to the detriment of the faithful in my view).

        The bottom line is that if one has had one’s opinions formally corrected by the CDF, and continue to hold them and present them publicly nonetheless, we are entitled to conclude that that person is a heretic given the current definitions in canon law and the CCC.

        Fr Kung has continued to be attached to a university (albeit not teaching theology), but that is not the same thing as exercising priestly office – and in fact his lack of return to a parish ministry may be at least de facto recognition of his latae sententiae excommunication.

        The Pope, as Mr Schultz has pointed out talks to lots of people, heretics and otherwise. In a way its part of his job – to try and persuade people to see the truth and repent.

        • Peregrinus says:

          Kung is 82, and fact this provides a completely satisfactory explanation of why he is not in parish ministry. It is nonsense – scandalous nonsense – to present this as implying “de facto recognistion of his latae sententiae excommunication”.

          He [i]is[/i] a “priest in good standing”. He is incardinated in the Diocese of (from memory) Chur, and he has all the usual faculties to engage in priestly ministry. From memory, in a newspaper profile I read some years ago he was said to be still actively ministering, saying mass daily and doing holiday relief work as required in parishes in Tubingen. He would then have been about 75. Whether he still does that, I can’t say. But if he doesn’t, it certainly isn’t because he can’t.

          • jules says:

            Küng’s faculty to teach Catholic doctrine was removed in 1979. He’s a heretic as evidenced by his own words .Tell me which catholic can defend these words of Küng……
            “thinking of abortion as a birth control method evidently doesn’t respect life.” This, he said, is one extreme. But the other extreme is the Church’s — “the one that doesn’t permit anything and doesn’t see abortion as a serious problem for many women, especially poor women, because the rich ones have other methods to resort to.”
            There is a great difference between the classic Catholic doctrine and St. Thomas Aquinas’ position, because he thinks that human animation is a process and there is not a human person from the beginning,” He goes on to say…… “Because the human person, says St. Thomas Aquinas, presuppose an anima intellectualis, an intellect, what distinguishes humans from animals, it is clear that at the beginning there is not a human person.”
            I REST MY CASE. Kung declares he knows when a human person begins and God does not!
            Perhaps he should go back to scripture 101, “”Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(Jeremiah 1:4-5)
            And Tony I wonder if you realise why it was said that King should spend time in a poor parish. IMO it is the faith of the simple, the poor, the down trodden who still say ‘yes’ to God despite being poor or suffering. Kung needs to see that simple faith is greater than rejection of church doctrine.

    • Tony says:

      I sometimes wonder if the priests like Father Kung should be sent to a poor parish with a holy parish priest for a time to see the reality of the faith in daily living away from the ivory tower of academia.

      Such ‘wonderings’ could be applied to many in the academy or, indeed, the Vatican. When was the last time PB16 spent time in a ‘poor parish’, I wonder?

      • Matthias says:

        Good suggesiton Tony and not just related to the Catholic Church. perhaps the hierarchies of the Anglican ,Uniting and Baptist churches could spend time in those of their churches who are in Christ’s Name “seeing needs and meeting them and seeing hurts and helping to heal them” (an old Church Growth Movement statement).when i was teaching in TAFE i was enrolling a young lady into a Disability course and the chap with her ,i thought was her dad. he was Marist Brother working in the Exodus Community here in Melbourne’s Heidelberg West/Heights which is a Housing Commission area. he and a nun worked in this Mission and had supported numerous young people through their studies. I said ,i hoped that the hierarchy would get out and see the good work this Community is doing

  5. Terra says:

    I stand corrected. I was relying on some gobbledly gook rationalisations quoting the man himself as to his status.

    But here’s the thing. We live in an age when many people think it is perfectly ok to receive communion even though they are in a state of mortal sin. We live in an age where many priests and even bishops continue to minister despite not believing in the efficacy of the sacraments they offer, hold and preach erroneous views, and/or abuse other people in other ways.

    The fact that these people continue to deny their objective state doesn’t make the truth go away.

    A person who persistently holds erroneous opionions is subject to automatic excommunication. An excommunicated person is forbidden to have any ministerial part in the celebration of the mass or any other sacraments or sacramentals.

    The fact that the proper authority apparently hasn’t acted to enforce this provision of canon law in any particular case is completely unsurprising – its the same neglect of their duty that has seen child abuses go unchecked by so many bishops.

    But the fact that remains that just as child abuse is a mortal sin, so is heresy.

    And those who hold to a heresy are heretics.

    And a heretic is not ‘in good standing’ with the Church.

  6. Peregrinus says:

    I think it befits us to be a little less dogmatic about this.

    It is true that canon 1364 declares that “a heretic . . . incurs a latae sententiae excommunication”. But what is a heretic?

    Canon 751 answers that: “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith”.

    Aha! the brighter student will cry. Heresy does not embrace the denial or doubt of any truth, but only of those truths which are “to be believed by divine and Catholic faith”. And which are they?

    Canon 750 casts some light on this but, it has to be said, not a lot: “A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium.”

    There’s quite a bit in that, and the comments in a blog are not the place to unpack every element of this canon. Suffice it to say that there is a spread of opinion about this. At one extreme, “liberals” will argue that almost nothing falls under the scope of ordinary infallible magisterium so it’s virtually impossible to incur excommunication for heresy. At the other extreme, “traditionalists” will argue that everything the majority of Catholics believe (or used to believe, before they were infected with “modernism”) is part of the ordinary infallible magisterium of received teaching (so in fact the vast majority of contemporary Catholics are in a state of heresy). And of course there are a variety of more nuanced positions between these two extremes.

    And that’s not all. There are norms for licit theological dissent both in general and with regard to particular issues; academic theology consists of enquiry, so – especially for an academic theologian such as, oh, Hans Kung, for example – disagreement from or challenges to official teaching cannot be assumed necessarily to constitute heresy as opposed to conscientious dissent.

    And there are a couple of other relevant canons which have to be taken into account here, because canon law is read as a whole; they will influence how canon 1364 is interpreted and applied.

    Canon 212 para 3: “According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they posses, [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinions on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful.”

    Canon 749 para 3: “No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.”

    All of this creates a fair degree of openness – vagueness, if you will – about how exactly canon 1364 works in practice. Those who like things to be nicely cut-and-dried won’t welcome this, but it is the case. And, in fact, it’s a typically Roman approach to the matter.

    It’s all very well for blog commenters to pontificate about Kung being excommunicated, but neither the pontiff nor anybody with any actual canonical authority has said anything of the kind, or behaved as if they accepted anything of the kind. His own bishop has not treated Kung as he should, if he believes Kung to be excommunicated. The Bishop of Tubingen has not treated Kung as he should, if he believes that. No Vatican dicastery has treated Kung as it should, if it believes that.
    It’s noteworthy that when the powers could be could no longer stomach Kung they didn’t take the obvious course, if the views expressed in this thread are correct, and formalize his excommunication; they suspended his teaching licence. That may be a pointer as to how far they think Canon 1364 would carry them in this instance. It certainly lends no support at all to those who argue that he is excommunicated.

    And it’s no good saying that they are simply neglecting their canonical duties. The church authorities have excommunicated [I]other[/I] theologians, so it is quite plain that they are willing to do so where they believe there is a sound canonical basis.

  7. Terra says:

    Oh dear peregrinus. There are issues about when latae sententiae excommunication takes effect – but they have more to do with the excusing clauses which can mitigate (such as being under age, etc) than what does or does not have to be believed.

    Most canon lawyers (based on precedent, not your claimed adherence to ‘traditionalism’) take a fairly broad reading of the words in canon law on this one.

    There is of course room for theological debate and dissent. But firstly it is in a very narrow range of circumstances and areas, not on the biggies. And in Kung’s case we are not talking about the grey areas, but things that have been firmly defined. Secondly, the right to dissent does not continue once the Church has firmly ruled on something – and it is important to remember that the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has in fact acted and issued formal notifications (ie statements that the views espoused are not consonant with catholic teaching) on several of Kung’s books.

  8. William Tighe says:

    All this thread does for me is to confirm me in my belief in the uselessness of “latae sententiae” excommunications. As for Kung, I haven’t heard that he’s ever retracted his assault upon and rejection of the definitions of Vatican I, which he did as long ago as 1970.

    I think of him plainly as a heretic, and that it has been a derelection of duty on the part of his own successive bishops, and even of popes not to have made the consequences of that rejection plain to him.

    • Tony says:

      While I don’t necessarily agree with your conclusions, William, at least your logic is sound!

      I can only see a value in retrospect for LC excommunication after a more official prounouncement. Maybe along the lines of ‘You are now excommunicated and, what’s more, We believe LC applied from this point in your life. So there!’.

    • William Tighe says:

      I should have added that the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox (for the former, cf. the Code of Eastern Canon Law of 1990) have neither the concept nor the practice of “latae sententiae” excommunications; any and all excommunications must be “ferendae sententiae.”

  9. Peregrinus says:

    My point is not that Kung is, or is not, excommunicated. My point is that it is not easy to say whether he is excommunicated or not and, more importantly, it is not for us to say it at all. Whether he is excommunicated matters to Kung, but not to you or me, and – after Kung himself – the person whose business this is is Kung’s bishop, not you or me.

    Canon Law is not set up to enable us to know whether someone else is the subject of a latae sententiae excommunication. This is (I have no doubt) deliberate. Whether Kung is excommunicated in canon law is no more our business than , in civil law, the question of what he has written in his will (assuming he has made one). It becomes our business when – if ever – the matter is brought into the external forum by the relevant authorities; not before.

    I understand William’s views that a latae sententiae excommunication is a bit pointless. The only thing I can say in its defence is that it must be remembered that, in canon law, penalties have quite a different function from the function they have in civil law. Civil law penalties are there to express social disapproval or condemnation of a crime, to exact retribution, etc. Canon law penalties are “medicinal”; they are imposed primarily for their effect on the individual concerned, with the hope that they will call his or her attention to their wrongs, and encourage them to repair their relationship with the Body of Christ. From that point of view it is generally unnecessary that people I have never met and of whose particular existence I am unaware should know that I am excommunicated; what matters is that I should know of it.

    Even then, of course, a latae sententiae excommunication will only achieve the desired effect if it is imposed in circumstances in which there can be no doubt about its imposition. Thus, latae sententiae excommunication for having an abortion is largely pointless; most Catholics who have abortions are probably aware that the church condemns abortion, but are unaware that the canonical penalty of latae sententiae excommunication is attached. And, in fact, if you are unaware that a particular act carries a latae sententiae excommunication is attached to a particular act, then canon law provides an exception and says that, for you, there is no latae sententiae excommunication. Thus latae sententiae excommunications only affect those who have some knowledge of canon law.

    More to the point, a latae sententiae penalty is not much use in a situation where there can be any real degree of doubt about whether it has been incurred or not. If I attempt to assassinate the pope, I’ll generally be in no doubt that I’ve done that. But whether my dissent amounts to heresy, to dissent falling short of heresy or to a legitimate exercise of my canonical right to make my opinions known, to which I am bound in conscience, is a matter over which faithful Catholics can (and do) differ in good faith. I struggle to see any value in attaching a latae sententiae penalty in such circumstances

  10. Past Elder / Terry Maher says:

    De Lubac in 1950 was forbidden to publish or teach by his order (SJ); de Lubac was a peritus at Vatican II, a member of both its Preparatory Theological Commission and the Theological Commission itself and was made a cardinal by JPII.

    Chenu’s book Le Saulchoir was put on the Index of Forbidden Books by Pius XII in 1942; Chenu was a peritus at the Council particularly influential in Gaudium et spes.

    Urs von Balthasar in 1950 was banned from teaching by the Catholic Church; JPII named him a cardinal, and he co-founded Communio with de Lubac and a guy named Jospeh Ratzinger.

    Congar was banned from teaching or publishing by the Catholic Church; after the Council, JPII, greatly influenced by him, made him a cardinal.

    Yeah you can really tell a lot about a guy’s orthodoxy from his being banned from teaching and/or publishing by the Catholic Church.

    Rock on, Hans.

    • Schütz says:

      Hi there, Terry! We’ve been missing ya!

      • Matthias says:

        Yes i echo that as well. Good to have the cranky yankee back- that is said with affection PE/TM.

      • Past Elder / Terry Maher says:

        I ain’t back. And I ain’t a fan of Hans either, don’t believe bupkis he says. But he bloody well is who he is straight up, which is more than one can say for the postconciliar RCC, which now teaches in conciliar documents and on blogs like this holds things that an RCC you never knew taught me was a danger to the faith, and now it IS the faith.

        Judas H Priest in the chancery, poor old Hans gets bagged on as a bleeding heretic and everybody jumps all over his having his licence to teach as a Catholic theologian revoked — and speaking of jumping, when I heard that news years ago I jumped straight out of my chair watching the news and shouted “They finally sacked the $&#@”!, hard as that may be for you bleeders to imagine of the normally irenic and pacific me — but for all jumping Judas’ sake the list big dudes at VII is a veritable litany of dissenters, with the milder ones prevailing, but mild dissent is nonetheless dissent and once labelled as such by the very church that now promotes it.

        And speaking of sacking, poor Catherine. Damn near jumped in on that one. Can I still bring her to the pizza party if she’ll go with me?

        • Matthias says:

          No forget the Foul Mouthed Princess,as i keep on telling you,her ego is bigger than the rest of us and she will want the Pizza all to herself,as it is all about her!!! And besides if she finds out you are a Lutheran then -“strike me lucky” to quote an Australian comic of yesteryear (Roy Rene for Aussies)- and an american ,she will probably seek to engage you on one of her polemics and you must realise that she is quite a rude person ,injecting and not listening-given her actions on a recent TV panel show.
          By the way what is the temperature in your neck of the woods ,becaise i am freeziong here in Melbourne.

          • Past Elder / Terry Maher says:

            As of 2215 hours 12 May 2010, it is 49 Fahrenheit, which is 9C, and raining. 49 is our statistical low at this time of year –Spring here — but it was only barely over that for a high to-day. Statistical high would be 72F.

            I grew up in Minnesota, where one does (or at least did) not reach for so much as a light jacket much above freezing (32F, 0C) and cold doesn’t start until below 0F.

            No wonder all the Scandinavians settled there.

            • Past Elder / Terry Maher says:

              Back at die Abtei the locals spoke of weather so cold the Kee-Kee birds were calling. You know: Kee, Kee, Kee-rist it’s cold out here!

              Not to mention the meteoroligical classic, Brass Monkey Warnings. Don’t know is that one is known in Aussieralia though.

              Catherine might know of it though, she seems well versed in such things among her many endearing traits.

              Foul mouthed? Hell, she wouldn’t stand a chance from a veteran of, shall we say, table talk with Germans full of anti-freeze, shall we say. And I’m not even a real German! I just play one in LCMS.

            • Matthias says:

              Yes brass monkeys and the saying is an English naval term in that the the stand that held cannon balls on HM Ships were called bRASS mONKEYS and when they froze in colder climes and dropped out of their positions then it was said that ” it was so cold it froze the balls off a brass monkey”.Told to me by a colleague exBritish army medic ,whose expertise was in rescuing gunshot victims off battlefields under fire as he did in the Malayan emergency in the 50’s ,then they sent him to Cyprus because he was so good at it

            • Past Elder / Terry Maher says:

              Great Judas amidships Matthias, you alone are worth all the postconciliar poppycock promoted on this blog.

              That said, to my wonderment and yet confirmation of my admiration for Wikipedia, though I wish they spelled it Wikipaedia, there is a fine discussion of this venerable phrase, which I learned from my dad, although it does not support this etymology of the phrase.

              However, and in keeping with this blog’s stated dedication to “politeness”, I wonder if its euphemistic form — cold enough to take ’em off a brass monkey — also is part of what Crocodile Dundee told me is known as something pronounced “strine”.

              And if any purist is thinking if he wonders this and goes on about the spelling of Wikipedia why doesn’t he use “spelt” and “learnt” — hah, beatcha to it!

  11. Peter says:

    The following text appears on the base of the blog posts at Cathblog:

    “Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate. Our bloggers express opinions which may be contrary to Church Teaching and the views of Church Resources”

    Kudos to them for being honest about their intended scope of comment. Like Cardinal Pell once said, however, why does the Catholic Church pay one cent towards providing a platform to consistantly take the “Contrary to Catholic teaching” line? The Labor party supports the right of the Liberal party to exist, to be heard and to seek votes, and vice versa. But neither of them would fund, support or promote opposing views.

    Can we have full disclosure on WHO is paying these people who are so eager to run defamatory headlines on the Pope yet leap quickly to the defence of those in open and persistant defiance of Church teaching?

    • Peregrinus says:

      Church Resources is a co-operative commercial organisation which co-ordinates the buying power of church and voluntary agencies to secure better deals on purchases from suppliers. It was originally established by the Catholic Bishops, but is not funded by them and its membership is not confined to Catholic organisations. It generates its own funds through commissions on purchases that it organises. Its business model is very successful, and has been replicated in a number of other countries.

      The Cathnews service was started as a platform which would attract the regular attention of people who might benefit from the work of Church Resources. The idea is that people who run church agencies are interested in media coverage pertinent to religious/church issues. They could sign up to receive a daily e-mail and/or they could visit the CathNews webpage, and get a “packaged” presentation of media stories of relevance to churches, to religion or to spirituality. There they would also be exposed to information/advertising about the services of Church Resources, the deals that they had negotiated, etc. I just went on to the CathBlog page now, for example, and found an ad for a corporate mobile phone package from Telstra, negotiated by Church Resources, and an ad for the online edition of the Catholic Weekly (which I suspect, but don’t know, is a paid advertisement).

      The business model only works if the CathNews service offers content which will attract the regular attention of busy people running church agencies; it has to be interesting. It also has to compete with other online services of interest to churchy people, like, e.g., Sentire cum Ecclesia. (Yes, I know ScE isn’t selling anything, and doesn’t carry ads, but five minutes spent reading ScE is five minutes not spent reading a Church Resources webpage.) For this reason, the orginal CathNews service was in due course supplemented by the CathNews discussion forum – the market wanted either to contribute to discussions, or to follow them. When that became too much trouble to monitor it was axed, and (after a while) CathBlog replaced it.

      From the outset, the policy has always been to carry material which will [i]interest[/i] the market, not necessarily material with which the market agrees, or of which it approves. Media stories critical of Catholicism, or of religion, have always been carried on Cathnews, and discussed in the forum/the blog. Only the most narcissistic Catholic want to read exclusive praise, and (happily) there aren’t enough of those to make the Church Resources business model viable if CathNews ends up looking like one of the feebler diocesan newspapers. We’ve all seen Catholic discussion forum which “permit no dissent” wither on the vine, and become places in which the same six people constantly scratch one another’s backs.

      So, CathBlog publishes a diversity of opinion, including dissenting and critical opinion. That’s not only necessary for its business plan, but also good for the health of the church. A healthy church wants to know what is being said in opposition to it, wants to consider that, wants to respond to it. CathNews provides a useful and necessary service.

      • Peter says:

        ” Only the most narcissistic Catholic want to read exclusive praise, and (happily) there aren’t enough of those to make the Church Resources business model viable if CathNews ends up looking like one of the feebler diocesan newspapers.”

        Actually, I agree with you regarding the feeble nature of some diocesan newspapers, but you use euphamisms to paper over CathNews’ flaws. Their persistant one-sided attack on the Church cannot be explained away as ‘diversity’. True diversity would be as quick to leap to the defence of Pell and Pope as it is to shut down any criticism of Kung, Kirby and Ko.

        The reality is they don’t, and wont, on the basis of the idiology which drives the editorial team.

  12. Christine says:

    Kueng is 82??? Wow, I didn’t realize that many years have passed already!

    If this list from Wiki is accurate, he certainly has received some, er, eclectic awards.

    •1991 Swiss cultural prize
    •1992 Karl Barth prize
    •1998 Theodor Heuss prize from the Theodor
    Heuss foundation
    •1998 Interfaith gold Medallion from the
    International Council of Christianity and
    Judaism, London
    •1999 prize from the Federation of the Lutheran
    •2000 GLOBArt Award
    •2001 Planetary Consciousness Prize from the
    club Of Budapest
    •2003 Great Order of Merit with star
    •2004 German Druiden medal from the Weltethos
    •2005 Niwano Friedenspreis
    •2005 Baden-Wuerttemberg medal
    •2006 Lew Kopelew prize
    •2007 Cultural prize of German freemasonry
    •2007 Honorary Citizen of City of Tübingen
    •2008 Honour for civil courage by the circle of
    friends Heinrich Heine (Düsseldorf)
    •2008 Otto-Hahn Freedom medal in gold of the
    German society for the United Nations, LV
    Berlin Brandenburg, for “outstanding
    earnings/services to peace and people
    communication, in particular for his
    exemplary employment for humanity,
    tolerance and the dialogue between the
    large world religions”.
    •2009 Abraham Geiger prize from the Abraham-
    Geiger-Kolleg at the University of Potsdam.

    I guess he’ll keep striving for utopia until the day he passes from this world. Or did I miss the teaching of Jesus that universal peace would come around before the Parousia?

  13. Terra says:

    Awards from Lutherans, Freemasons (still a prohibited organisation for catholics) and the like. I rest my case.

    • Matthias says:

      I have just been reading a book entitled ” Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis, and the Swiss Bankers “.It is written by a Australian jewish writer Mark Aarons ,who was a son of the Communist Laurie Aarons ,and John Loftus,a lawyer who worked in the US justice Department.
      I have to say that although they take pains to emphasise that they are not criticizing the Church, Pope Paul and a small cabal of priests in the Vatican- mainly Ukrainian and Croatian- do not come out of it very well. In fact amongst the latter there was quesitons around war crimes
      So lutherans and freemasons Terra -bah humbug. However we must remember that the actions of individuals are not indicative of an organisation.
      Then i read about Sophie Scholl, who was executed by the Nazis along with her brother and friend,for their urging of fellow students to resist joining the Werhmacht. They were brought up lutherans,but apparently it was the writings of Cardinal Newman ,that inspired them to take this action. They were also inspired by a german Cardinal who preached a sermon,that they heard whilst attending Mass-they were going to convert but decided not to upset their Lutheran mother-. criticising the Nazi euthanasia program .Sophie’ last words “”How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?” I think they are words that are pertinent for today

  14. Matthias says:

    I should add that apprently Sophie Scholl’s mother’s last words to her were “remember Jesus”

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