Catholic World News News Feature
Pope, Hans Küng in "friendly" theological exchange September 26, 2005
Pope Benedict XVI met on September 24 with the dissident theologian Hans Küng, for what the Vatican described as a "friendly" discussion of theological issues.
Küng, a persistent critic of Church teachings on matters such as papal infallibility and the role of the Church in salvation, was stripped of his right to teach as a Catholic theologian in 1979. He has been harshly critical of Pope Benedict, and especially of his tenure as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Faith.
When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI, Küng said the result was an "immense disappointment" for the faithful, arguing that most Catholics wanted a Pope more ready to accept modern thinking. But he reflected that the papal office "can change anyone."
After Küng's meeting with the Pope, the Vatican released a short statement. "The two agreed that there was no sense in entering, withint the confines of the meeting, into a dispute surrounding the persistent doctrinal questions between Hans Küng and the magisterium of the Catholic Church."
In recent years Küng has been involved in efforts to construct a "global ethic," based on what he sees as the shared principles of major faiths. The Vatican statement said that the Pope "recognized the merits of Professor Küng's efforts" in that area, and particularly his work "to inject new life into the dialogue between faith and science." Küng in turn praised the Pope's "efforts to continue the dialogue among religions and to meet with different social groups in the modern world."