Hans Kung’s Le Monde Interview

Posted by Censor Librorum on Mar 1, 2009 | Categories: Accountability, Arts & Letters, Dissent, Popes

“The church risks becoming a sect.   Many Catholics no longer expect anything from this pope. It’s very sad,” Kung said in an interview published by the French newspaper Le Monde on February 24, 2009. hans_kung_colloquium.jpg

Fr. Kung noted that one of the four traditionalist bishops whose excommunication was lifted by the pope minimized the Holocaust, igniting widespread criticism. The pope’s misjudgement on such an important issue, Kung said, reflected his own isolation.

“Benedict XVI has always lived in an ecclesial environment.   He has not traveled much. He’s always remained closed in the Vatican–which is quite similar to how the Kremlin was at one time–where he is safe from criticism,” Fr. Kung said.

Kung went on to way that in his nearly four years in office the pope has shown a lack of pastoral courage and a lack of awareness of the “profound crisis” in the church.   He suggested the pope could make several important gestures:

–Allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in some circumstances.

–Take steps to “correct” the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae and allow the use of birth control in some cases.

–Abolish the rule of priestly celibacy in the Latin-rite church.

–Institute a new way of electing bishops with the involvement of local Catholics.

Fr. Kung said it would be helpful to call a third Vatican council to deal with these and other issues.

Read the Le Monde interview here.

Fr. Kung’s interview provoked some responses that were humorous…or ironic.   Here are the best from the web..

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, told Vatican Radio he was “hurt” by reading the interview, and contended that the accusations were “unproven, generic affirmations.”

Cardinal Sodano went on to say “Fraternal criticism has always been possible in the church, from the times of Sts. Peter and Paul.   Bitter criticism, on the other hand, especially when it’s so broad, does not contribute to the unity of the church, for which Pope Benedict is working so hard.”

From the blog, Bilgrimage: “Benedict has the reputation for being a great intellectual; yet who more than he has shut down the intellectual life of the Catholic Church, turning it into a sect for the brain-dead.”

From the blog, Enlightened Catholicism: “I expect the blunders will continue unless he decides to launch real reform of the way the church is run. Even in the Vatican you can’t just rely on the Holy Spirit.”

My thanks to the Joseph S. O’Leary homepage, for the above quotes and this rousing call to action: “I suspect in the coming months we will see more initiatives coming from both the laity and clergy calling for real and sustainable change in how Catholicism conducts its business.   It will be coming from people who also really love this Church, even the ones who have left in frustration. It’s way past time for these voices to be heard. The conservative wing of this Church has had their say for the last forty years. The results have been disastrous in the West and placing the blame for these results on those who hae left is rather self serving.” pope.jpg


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9 Responses to “Hans Kung’s Le Monde Interview”

  1. Christine Says:

    Thank you for the link to Le Monde. Let me add one quote:
    To the Monde’s question “How is the Pope still faithful to the teachings of Vatican II?” H.K ends his answer with an emotional: “I think it is scandalous that for the 50 year anniversary (January 1959) of the Council’s convocation, the pope did not make any elogious statement about his predecessor, but instead chose to lift the excommunication of persons opposed to vatican II.”
    Now the fun part is that those same four formerly excommunicated bishops are not sure they want to come back to the fold! They send a letter to the Pope saying in short: Thank you but you and us need first to and discuss Vatican II. If you do not revise it…we stay away. of course this is not a direct quote but it is what they meant. Not nice for Benedict!

  2. Póló Says:

    Thanks for the link to the Le Monde interview. Fascinating.

    I hadn’t really thought about the fact that Vatican II preceded 1968, familiar as I was with the date of both. Explains a lot.

    Küng is advocating the use of the pill in certain cases. Pity he didn’t spell this out. Pius XVII allowed it to regularise periods but this clearly spawned a whack of hypocracy; he was really having his cake and eating it, so to speak.

    I like Küng’s concept of the Pope as a dictator untrammeled by a Supreme Court. It gives him freedom to dictate, which, of course he is doing, but it doesn’t much reflect well on the human rights aspect of his brief.

    The answer to the final question says it all. It is much easier for the Pope to reintegrate the four antisemite Lefèbrists than Küng himself.

    Kyrie Eleison.

  3. Karen Doherty Says:

    Christine, thank you for the extra translation!

    Polo, I agree with you. Here is the unhappy pattern with Benedict – he keeps silent and doesn’t moralize when it comes to the Fr. Marciel and his enablers in the Legionnaires of Christ, but lectures Nancy Pelosi about “pro life” policies on a state visit; he makes exceptions for Anglican married priest converts but not those ordained in Latin Rite who wish to marry; and in the interests of unity he extends a hand of reconciliation with ultra traditionalists like the Lefebrists but not a “liberal” Catholic like Kung. In the interest of a “purer” church he’s not so pure.

    A depressing start to Lent.

  4. Terence Says:

    It is indeed scandalous that the anniversary of Vatican II was marked initially by the readmission of the Council’s most infamous resistors. Ironic then, that the huge public outcry forced B16 to backtrack smartly. The entire farce has invigorated the progressives, to the extent that the end result may well be a net strengthening of the forces for Conciliar revival. The Lord works indeed in mysterious ways, often with a clear sense of humour.

  5. Anonymous Says:


  6. J. Prevost Says:

    Benedict XVI: “Justice is only brought about if there are just people. And there are no just people without the humble, daily endeavor of converting hearts, and of creating justice in hearts.” And what of the innocent who have been abused? Is there no justice for them? They are the most innocent, the most humble. Not only have we closed the windows opened in Vatican II, but we are now retreating from the light into darkness. A truly sad time.

  7. Tim Says:

    People…. you might not like the pope, but he’s our pope.
    Humble submission anyone?
    Something can still be right and be against your personal feelings on the matter. I’d hope you can all appreciate that. The Catholic Church is unique because it doesn’t follow popular trends. Sure, it could knock down all of the inconvenient policies it holds but that would neglect the reason why it held to them in the first place.

  8. mr. Deyan Marconny Says:

    Well, Father Kung has my grestest fespect. He is modest in his comments. I shall not be
    : Catholic Church, as much as Christianity as whole, is past tense, gone. Religion never had evidence on anything.
    Cardinal Sdano is the last person tobe trusted and listened.
    I am proud ex Catolic, present Humanist ans Atheist.
    Read Prof. Richard Dawkins and his opinion is very similar to mine.
    Pope is very arrogant person who never apologized on what was done under Inquisition and dud not properly apologized about Holocoust.
    Catholic Church as far as I am concerned is despicable Organzation, secretive, above the International law and tax exempt.
    They will have the same end as Communism.
    Thank you for reading me.
    Deyan Marconny PhD Historian

  9. Ferrandus Says:

    Interesting sequence of comments, it starts with hard opposition to the Pope, and end with a clearly anti-catholic manifest. Does the same happens to any one person whom opposes so plenty to the Church?

    Of course, one may expect an atheist will disagree with conclusions born from faith. Over all, the Pope is a religious man. His religion is based, over all, in Jesus Christ. This simple fact forces the Church to be traditional, in the sense that time after time we must obey the teachings of our First Master and His first hand disciples. There is no middle point, take it all, or leave it all at your own risk. As He said: ” If you are not with Me you are against Me”, so clearly.

    Considering Kung opinions and suggestions versus the Pope teachings, it is for me obvious that the Pope expressions are much closer to the Gospel, and that he is the one takes the risk of been “crucified” by so much liberal misunderstanding.

    Just one recall: Communism lasted less than one century, even when they always called themselves “scientific”. The Church has prevailed more than 2 thousand years. Only One knows the future, so we hope in His words.

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