A manifesto for enlightened Catholicism

From the always inspiring Hans Kung, one of two surviving theologians of Vatican 2, the other being Joseph Ratzinger. True ecumenism.

 One shouldn’t be misled by the media hype of grandly staged papal mass events or by the wild applause of conservative Catholic youth groups. Behind the facade, the whole house is crumbling.

In this dramatic situation the church needs a pope who’s not living intellectually in the Middle Ages, who doesn’t champion any kind of medieval theology, liturgy or church constitution. It needs a pope who is open to the concerns of the Reformation, to modernity. A pope who stands up for the freedom of the church in the world not just by giving sermons but by fighting with words and deeds for freedom and human rights within the church, for theologians, for women, for all Catholics who want to speak the truth openly. A pope who no longer forces the bishops to toe a reactionary party line, who puts into practice an appropriate democracy in the church, one shaped on the model of primitive Christianity. A pope who doesn’t let himself be influenced by a Vatican-based “shadow pope” like Benedict and his loyal followers.

Who would Kung pick among the Paddy Power runners and riders?


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  • “Who would Kung pick among the Paddy Power runners and riders?”

    My guess would be a “modernist” like Schonborn, arguably a heretic, who has no problem throwing the priests of his diocese to the wolves for uploading basic Catholic dogma. Of course in Austria they’ve also got priests rejecting Transubstantiation and while including animals in the liturgy, so thankfully he has no chance.

  • Ruarai


    that’s a poorly worded title old boy.

    Kung himself has been at the forefront of pointing out how many of the achievements of the “Enlightenment” were actually achievements of the counter-enlightenment of which the scholastic and natural law tradition have formed a key foundation.

    Kung’s whole philosophy and theology is in many ways about navigating away from and demonstrating the pitfalls of “Enlightenment thinking” – by drawing on Catholicism while attempting to resist the authoritarian tendencies that tend to follow anyone in power who claims absolutist positions. (Good luck with that Kung, you might say.)

    Anyways, it is a great op ed.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Enlightened Catholicism… now that would be an Oxymoron, Ted.

  • keano10

    Angelo Scola of Milan is looking increasingly likely to assume the Papacy. Conservative, old and very safe. Probably not what the Church requires just now…

  • Bishops Finger

    I backed a 50/1 shot that an atheist website was tipping— hes now 125/1. On a loser even if he wins:(

  • sherdy

    Could I place my vote of Hans Kung for Pope?

  • Newman

    What Fr Kung wants is for the Church to adopt a western liberal agenda….it is precisely because it seeks to transform the world with the gift of what has been revealed to us that the Catholic church will not crumble but survive and flourish again. To sign up to what the Guardian wants would simply make the church indistinct and insipid. Once the world starts to alter church teaching we really are in trouble

  • abucs

    I think what Hans Kung sees crumbling is his own liberal Christianity, especially within the church.

    Cries of ‘we have to stop being Catholic to save the Catholic church’ fall on increasingly deaf ears now.