<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Hans Kung award banquet and lecture November 2005 ARCC
 
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Honoring Professor Hans Küng

 


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HANS KÜNG: Brief Biography

Hans Küng was born March 19, 1928, in Sursee, Switzerland, studied for the priesthood in Rome, and earned a Th.D. at the Institut Catholique in Paris. After his doctoral dissertation comparing the doctrine of justification in the theology of the then most influential Protestant theologian, Karl Barth, with that of the Council of Trent in the 16th century (finding them compatible!), his fame earned him a call in 1960 to the University of Tübingen as the successor to my Doktorvater Professor Heinrich Fries, who had moved to Munich. That was when I first had contact with him

The following year Hans published a small (one of a few!) book urging reform at Vatican Council II (1962-65), which brought him not only further fame, but also “notoriety.” As a consequence, when he was invited to lecture in the U.S. in the spring of 1963, on freedom in the Catholic Church, it was like a triumphant tour (spiced with his being forbidden to speak in several dioceses - including Philadelphia). He was made an expert (peritus) at the Council and played a significant role in that watershed experience.

After the death of John XXIII, Hans often ran into difficulties with the conservatives of the Vatican. This reached its apogee December 18, 1979, when the Vatican declared that he could no longer be considered a Catholic theologian. Result: instead of 150 students at his lectures, he then had 1500! Hans had always worked for the reform of the Catholic Church and for ecumenism. Then he turned more and more of his energy to dialogue with world reli-gions, and since 1990 to Global Ethics. It is for these two poles of his life - Reform of the Catholic Church and Interreligious Dialogue, and their intimate linkage, that we honor him. Leonard Swidler  

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