The influential and controversial Swiss theologian Hans Küng died Tuesday at the age of 93.
Küng served as a theological adviser at the Second Vatican Council but repeatedly clashed with Rome in the years that followed.
The tensions culminated in a 1979 declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that Küng had “departed from the integral truth of Catholic faith, and therefore he can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian nor function as such in a teaching role.”
The CDF cited his opinions on the doctrine of infallibility, expressed in his 1971 book Infallible? An Inquiry, as one of the reasons for the move.
From the 1990s, Küng championed the idea of a “global ethic,” emphasizing common ethical values in the world’s major religions.
Leading tributes to the theologian on April 6, Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, said: “With the death of Prof. Dr. Hans Küng, theological scholarship loses a renowned and controversial researcher.”
“In his work as a priest and scholar, Hans Küng was concerned to make the message of the Gospel understandable and to give it a place in the lives of the faithful.”
“I am thinking in particular of his efforts with regard to a living ecumenism, his commitment to interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and the Global Ethic Foundation he founded, with its important research and projects on peace, justice, and the integrity of creation.”
He continued: “Hans Küng never failed to stand up for his convictions. Even if there were tensions and conflicts in this regard, I thank him expressly in this hour of farewell for his many years of commitment as a Catholic theologian in communicating the Gospel.”
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