Swiss theologian Hans Küng, known in the Catholic Church for questioning the doctrine of papal infallibility, died on Tuesday, April 6. He was 93.
Küng championed reform of the Catholic Church since its 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, where he was a young adviser arguing for a decentralized church, married priests, and artificial birth control.
He was appointed professor of theology at the University of Tübingen, in southwestern Germany, in 1960 but the Vatican stripped his license to teach Catholic theology in 1979.
The university made him instead a professor of ecumenical theology, securing him a post from which he wrote dozens of books, some of them best sellers, and many articles.
Küng, who had Parkinson’s disease, was born on March 19, 1928, in Sursee, Canton of Lucerne, and studied in Rome before being ordained in 1954.
In the early 1990s, Küng initiated his “Global Ethic” project, aimed at describing what the world’s religions have in common and establishing a set of common values.
In 2010, he called on Catholic bishops to defy Pope Benedict XVI and push through reforms from below to restore the credibility of the Church in the midst of sexual abuse scandals.
He described Pope Francis as “a ray of hope.”
In his doctoral dissertation, he argued for the convergence between Catholics and Reformed on the doctrine of Justification, claiming that the same thing is affirmed with different words.
He dedicated himself to the study of the history of religions, especially the Abrahamic ones, and was known for his positions in the theological and moral field, often critical of various points of Catholic doctrine.
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