Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Hans Küng's extremism runs full circle

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 24, 2012

You’ve head the theory that when left-wingers push things to an extreme, they meet the right-wingers coming from the other direction? Here’s a bit more evidence:

Hans Küng, the favorite theologian of the Catholic Left, has rendered his judgment that Pope Benedict XVI should not reconcile with the traditionalist bishops of the SSPX because they were not validly ordained. Since the Church has always recognized those bishops’ ordinations as valid—albeit illicit—this requires some explanation. Küng is ready. The ordinations were invalid, he says, because in 1968 Pope Paul VI set forth a new ritual for episcopal ordinations, and the SSPX bishops were ordained using the old ritual.

Do you see what he’s saying? That once the new ritual was introduced, the old ritual became invalid? Some extreme traditionalists take the position that the new ritual is invalid, and refuse to recognize the authority of bishops ordained since 1968. Küng has now embraced the mirror-image position. At both extremes the theories rely on the same basic assumption: that the post-conciliar Church is radically different from, and cannot coexist with, the pre-conciliar Church.

Interesting, isn’t it, that Pope Benedict has argued forcefully and repeatedly against this “hermeneutic of rupture?” But Küng is not likely to be swayed by the Pope’s teaching. You see, in Küng’s opinion the Pope is in schism, and likely to “be even more separated from the People of God.” In other words, as Rorate Caeli notes, Hans Küng has become a sedevacantist!

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - May. 25, 2012 8:52 PM ET USA

    As a Roman Catholic, I definitely want the reunification of the SSPX with the Roman Catholic Church. There is no salvation in disunity and there is no growth in disunity. We need each other for the good of each others souls and the strengthening of the Church on earth. Pray for unification and for the grace for all of us not to judge but learn to find peace in Christ - leave all judging to our Lord - unity breeds hope. Only in union can any of us expect growth and strengthening of faith.

  • Posted by: koinonia - May. 24, 2012 8:25 PM ET USA

    Kung was appointed by John XXIII to be one of the theological experts at Vatican II. He among others led change. Their adherants have an intense, visceral dislike for the SSPX. They're aging. As noted in the news, "the typical priest is a 31-year cradle Catholic who prayed the Rosary and took part in Eucharistic adoration before entering seminary." It's back to the future, and they're unhappy. Fellay said, "I tell you, really, the devil is at large...there really are people who do not want us."