Küng Claim: Dogma of Infallibility Up For Discussion – How Likely Is That?

Fr. Hans Küng, the Swiss theologian, has told The Tablet that he has received a letter from Pope Francis that responds to his “request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility”.    

 In my view, the Catholic Church as a community of faith will be preserved, but only if it abandons the Roman system of rule. We managed to get by without this absolutist system for 1,000 years. The problems began in the 11th century, when the popes asserted their claim to absolute control over the Church. (Interview: Spiegel Online International, 21 September, 2011

In my view, the Catholic Church as a community of faith will be preserved, but only if it abandons the Roman system of rule. We managed to get by without this absolutist system for 1,000 years. The problems began in the 11th century, when the popes asserted their claim to absolute control over the Church.
(Interview: Spiegel Online International, 21 September, 2011)

 

The Tablet has been unable to confirm the existence of the letter as Küng refused requests by The Tablet and the National Catholic Reporter to the Swiss theologian to view a copy of the letter.  

“On 9 March, my appeal to Pope Francis to give room to a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion on the problem of infallibility appeared in the leading journals of several countries. I was thus overjoyed to receive a personal reply from Pope Francis immediately after Easter. Dated 20 March, it was forwarded to me from the nunciature in Berlin.”

Küng said that in the Pope’s reply, Francis makes the following points which “are significant” to the Swiss theologian: The fact that Pope Francis answered at all and did not let my appeal fall on deaf ears; the fact that he replied himself and not via his private secretary or the Secretary of State; that he emphasises the fraternal manner of his Spanish reply by addressing me as Lieber Mitbruder (Dear Brother) in German and puts this personal address in italics, that he clearly read the appeal, to which I had attached a Spanish translation, most attentively.

“[And] that he is highly appreciative of the considerations which had led me to write in which I suggest theologically discussing the different issues which the infallibility dogma raises in the light of Holy Scripture and Tradition with the aim of deepening the constructive dialogue between the ‘semper reformanda’ 21st century Church and the other Christian Churches and post-modern society.”

“Pope Francis has set no restrictions,” Küng added. “He has thus responded to my request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility. I think it is now imperative to use this new freedom to push ahead with the clarification of the dogmatic definitions which are a ground for controversy within the Catholic Church and in its relationship to the other Christian Churches.

The Swiss theologian said in his statement to The Tablet that the letter is part of the “new freedom” that Pope Francis has brought to the Vatican.

“I am fully convinced that in this new spirit a free, impartial and open-ended discussion of the infallibility dogma, this fateful key question of destiny for the Catholic Church, will be possible,”Küng said. “I am deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this new freedom and combine my heartfelt thanks with the expectation that the bishops and theologians will unreservedly adopt this new spirit and join in this task in accordance with the Scriptures and with our great church tradition.


Full text of Fr. Hans Küng statement. Translation: Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, Vienna

The Pope answers Hans Küng

On 9 March, my appeal to Pope Francis to give room to a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion on the problem of infallibility appeared in the leading journals of several countries. I was thus overjoyed to receive a personal reply from Pope Francis immediately after Easter. Dated 20 March, it was forwarded to me from the nunciature in Berlin.

In the Pope’s reply, the following points are significant for me:

– The fact that Pope Francis answered at all and did not let my appeal fall on deaf ears so to speak;

– The fact that he replied himself and not via his private secretary or the Secretary of State;

– That he emphasises the fraternal manner of his Spanish reply by addressing me asLieber Mitbruder(Dear Brother) in German and puts this personal address in italics,

– That he clearly read the appeal, to which I had attached a Spanish translation, most attentively;

– That he is highly appreciative of the considerations which had led me to write Volume 5 in which I suggest theologically discussing the different issues which the infallibility dogma raises in the light of Holy Scripture and Tradition with the aim of deepening the constructive dialogue between the “semper reformanda” 21st century Church and the other Christian Churches and post-modern society.

Pope Francis has set no restrictions. He has thus responded to my request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility. I think it is now imperative to use this new freedom to push ahead with the clarification of the dogmatic definitions which are a ground for controversy within the Catholic Church and in its relationship to the other Christian Churches.

I could not have foreseen then quite how much new freedom Pope Francis would open up in his Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Already in the introduction he declares “that not all doctrinal discussions, moral or pastoral, need to be resolved with interventions of the Magisterium.” He takes issue with “cold bureaucratic morality” and does not want bishops to continue behaving as if they were “arbiters of grace”. He sees the Eucharist not as a reward for the perfect but as “nourishment for the weak”. He repeatedly quotes statements made at the Episcopal Synod or at national bishops’ conferences. Pope Francis no longer wants to be the sole spokesman of the Church.

This is the new spirit that I have always expected from the Magisterium. I am fully convinced that in this new spirit a free, impartial and open-ended discussion of the infallibility dogma, this fateful key question of destiny for the Catholic Church, will be possible. I am deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this new freedom and combine my heartfelt thanks with the expectation that the bishops and theologians will unreservedly adopt this new spirit and join in this task in accordance with the Scriptures and with our great church tradition. Source – The Tablet

Comment: 

That Hans Küng is a heretic par excellence is beyond dispute.  He is no stranger to controversy on all sorts of topics. His support for euthanasia is well known, and so it comes as no surprise that he doesn’t believe in “an eternal Hell”.   Yet, despite the fact that he is officially not allowed to teach as a “Catholic theologian”, he appears to have easy access to the pope of the day. In September, 2005, Pope Benedict invited Father Küng to dinner at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, where, according to Küng, they spent four hours together in a relaxed, warm discussion in the Pope’s private study and dining room. Now, we have Pope Francis apparently willing to put the dogma of infallibility on the table for discussion aka challenge. 

The Tablet admits that “Küng refused requests by The Tablet and the National Catholic Reporter to the Swiss theologian to view a copy of the letter.”

So we’re asked to take the word of this anything-but-Catholic “theologian” that the Pope is prepared to admit a challenge to the dogma of infallibility. Well. Who’s ever gonna believe THAT?  

The Dogma of Infallibility is a revealed truth of the Faith. No Pope would give the impression that it could be overturned ergo Pope Francis will not permit that to happen.... will he?

The Dogma of Infallibility is a revealed truth of the Faith. No Pope would give the impression that it could be overturned, ergo Pope Francis will not permit that to happen…. will he?  

29 responses

  1. Kung is vain. Dogma, doctrine is not up for discussion it’s set by God alone. Kung has been corrected by Rome before. I would not trust anything he said. He’s the “free thinking type, sixties type, liberal.

    • “Doctrine is not up for discussion”

      That’s what everyone said before the synod Exhortation was published!

    • Edward,

      Yes, Kung has been “corrected” by Rome before, but wined and dined as well, and lo and behold, looks like he gets personal replies to his letters to the Pope, not a fob-off (or no reply at all) like the rest of us, the hoi polloi…

      And he remains a priest in good standing. Not like those awful traditional SSPX priests…

    • Don’t know about vain, but he is certainly a very wealthy man.

      I remember being in Germany many years ago–I think in the university town of Tübingen–and being shown Küng’s house from the outside. It was quite a place, replete with swimming pool.

      Isn’t it strange how the pauper Francis has cuddled up to the rich and corrupt German church since his election? But if we were to subtract its earthly riches, who would give it a second look, it being distinguished for nothing except infidelity.

      • Prognosticum,

        Reading that link, brings to mind an article I stumbled across a couple of days ago, arguing that the real reason for the “resignation” of Pope Benedict, is that he was being threatened with either death or schism. No prizes for guessing from whence came the threats of schism, but the disgraceful words from the lips of the German Archbishop quoted in the article to which you linked, gives credibility to the claim.

  2. After ‘Amoris laetitia’ it would seem to be anyone’s guess. Pope Francis has sowed confusion about receiving Holy Communion without repentance when in the state of mortal sin, whereas the following Canon of the Council of Trent settled the matter for all time.

    Canon 11. If anyone says that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, let him be anathema. And lest so great a sacrament be received unworthily and hence unto death and condemnation, this holy council ordains and declares that sacramental confession, when a confessor can be had, must necessarily be made beforehand by those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, however contrite they may consider themselves. Moreover, if anyone shall presume to teach, preach or obstinately assert, or in public disputation defend the contrary, he shall be (eo ipso) excommunicated.

    So I don’t think he would balk at doing the same sort of thing with the dogma of Infallibility, and, as the heretic Kasper was his ally in the former case, so the heretic Kung might well be the one for this. It is frightening how the apparent (though impossible) victory of Satan is gathering pace in this pontificate. Confusion is his main weapon, and confusion is what Pope Francis has been sowing from the start.

    • I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if Kung was telling the truth about the Pope’s letter. I don’t think there are any “sacred cows” in this pope’s mind. He doesn’t seem to think twice about questioning dogmatic teachings himself, so I can’t see why anyone would be surprised if he allowed infallibility to be debated as if it was an open question.

    • Christina,

      “.. as .the heretic Kasper was his ally in the former case, so the heretic Kung might well be the one for this.”

      You got it! In one!

      And how true about the confusion sown by Papa Francis from the outset. When I see his face flashed onto the TV screen during a news broadcast, I brace myself, physically, for the latest rubbish-through-to-baloney to spill from his ever so busy lips.

      • Editor, I’m still thinking about that Canon 11 of Trent and wondering how close he has got to excommunicating himself by teaching ‘the contrary’.

  3. “ergo Pope Francis will not permit that to happen…. will he?”
    I am not so sure! I only hope so.

    • Lionel,

      “ergo Pope Francis will not permit that to happen…. will he?”

      I wrote that with my tongue firmly in my cheek. For sure, Papa Francis will permit the discussion on the dogma of infallibility to happen – that is a given.

      One observation about the Synod on the Family that has stayed in my mind is that Pope Francis “wants the Church to be in a state of permanent Synod”: a “mess” as he described it to young people at one of his major youth events. If you recall, he told them to return to their dioceses to “make a mess” although quite how they could make more of a mess than there is already, is difficult to see.

  4. Didn’t I read somewhere recently that Kung has a degenerative illness of some sort, and said that he will undergo euthanasia when he feels the time has come? If anyone needs prayers, it’s him.

    • Westminster Fly,

      Hans Kung has Parkinson’s Disease. I copied this from the Spiegel interview above, because I think it is ironic and sad what is happening to him:-

      SPIEGEL: You were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a year ago.

      Küng: Nevertheless, I still work very hard every day. And yet I interpret all of these things as warning signs of my impending death. My handwriting is getting small and often illegible, almost as if it were disappearing. My fingers are failing. It’s a fact that my general condition has deteriorated, and yet I also fight it.

      He does believe in euthanasia and wants it for himself.

  5. The Dogma of Infallibility is a revealed truth of the Faith. No Pope would give the impression that it could be overturned, ergo Pope Francis will not permit that to happen…. will he?

    Of course he will – he’s already started a “healthy decentralisation” which can only diminish the authority of the Petrine Office

    • And he has said that nothing is sacred, everything is up for grabs, so yes, I think he would allow the dogma of infallibility to be discussed. It is getting in the way of his reforms, so he will be only too glad to put it on the table for debate.

  6. The key to this matter is that Küng won’t let us see the letter. I wonder why.

    I would’t worry about this. If Francis tried to interfere with the dogma of infallibility, a schism would surely follow. And he knows it.

    I am far more concerned about what is being concocted over Synodality.

    • Possibly, he wants to keep the illusion of discretion. Either that or the letter is not really saying what he wants us to believe its saying. All we need now is for Papa Francis to “clarify” the matter – from which, would the saints please preserve us!

      • I suppose it might be because he (Kueng) does not want to embarass Francis for fear of killing his pet project before it is even off the ground.

        Francis, let it not be forgotten, is sooooo media conscious.

        • Prognosticum,

          I’ll search out the place on the General Discussion thread where you alerted us to the disappearance of the Apropos website, and post this notice there as well, but in case it gets overlooked, won’t harm to post twice. Some time Later… I posted this information on the General Discussion (10) thread where you first mentioned Apropos, but because that thread is now closed, I’ve also posted it on the new General Discussion (11) thread.

          N O T I C E . . .

          I’ve had a letter today from Hamish Fraser, son of the famous Communist convert of the same name, and he thanks me (you) for alerting the family to the disappearance of the website, which they didn’t know had happened. They are now looking into the matter and hopefully it will be restored soon.

          So, sincere thanks to you for alerting us here to that. I always have it in mind to reprint many of the articles on that site but something always seems to turn up to prevent me doing so. Hopefully, when it is restored, I can make up for my tardiness. So, again. many thanks for the alert.

            • Prognosticum,

              It’s the least I can do. The family once assured me that if Hamish were alive today, he would be right behind Catholic Truth. I offered a small correction: were Hamish alive today, he’d be editing Catholic Truth – with my full support!

              Time to head for the pubs and clubs… 😀

  7. Attono,

    Not quite the sort of poetry we think appropriate here; it’s obviously no big deal by comparison to the filth we’re used to in the world around us these days, but, on this blog we like to keep comments, jokes, poems etc so that they don’t offend those with the highest standards of modesty and decency – such as Our Lady! So, take care, please and thank you.

  8. Editor,

    The manure and dung line was a reference to the Dogma of Infallibility as in spreading rubbish, and the bless reference was meant as possible approval of same. It was never my intention to be vulgar or cause any offence to God or man.But for any offence it may have given to the Blessed Mother, your good self or others, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    • I understand, Attono. It’s just that for the less poetically minded among us, it might be taken the wrong way. If I thought for a minute that YOU intended it the wrong way, it would have disappeared into thin air, worry not!

      God bless

  9. I’ve been reading the article from IP5 on the new thread (A Troubling Week in Vatican Politics) and found this extract which fits in with this discussion – it is very important as it shows that the letter from Pope Francis does exist, and that Pope Francis does want to have the dogma challenged:

    Therefore, it is important to report on the second important event of the last week: the encouragement of the progressivist, Father Hans Küng, who was removed in 1979 from his teaching position as a Catholic theologian under Pope John Paul II for his heterodox teaching. For now, it seems, his hour in the spotlight has at last come. As the National Catholic Reporter first reported, Hans Küng has now received a personal letter from Pope Francis in which he is encouraged to discuss – and thereby effectively to question – the Dogma of Papal Infallibility itself! This story has now been reported also by the official Vatican website in German, on Radio Vatikan, as well as by the official website of the Swiss bishops. The pope’s encouragement comes in response to an open letter to the Holy Father written by Küng in March of 2016. In it, he requested an open discussion of this settled dogma. He also explained rather explicitly why he wanted to question this Dogma: namely, because Papal Infallibility is now is a barrier that makes impossible the further reforms of the Church in many other fields. Küng wrote:

    The themes [of reform that came up in recent times]were: agreements among the different confessions; mutual acceptance of the offices and of the celebrations of the Last Supper; questions of divorce of marriage and of the ordination of women; concerning forced celibacy [sic]and the catastrophic lack of priests; and, finally, and especially, concerning the leadership of the Catholic Church.

    This proposed agenda for further reforms shows that the essential parts of the Catholic Faith are already under attack by the notably heterodox Swiss theologian. And now, it seems, he continues his assault with the support of the Vicar of Christ, who has been put in his office for the express purpose of defending the irreformable Deposit of Faith!

    I know I shouldn’t be, at this stage, but I am shocked to the core to find this out. No wonder so many people are asking if Francis is the anti-pope. It’s surely not impossible?

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