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ENVIAR COMENTARIO

ENCUENTRO DE HANS KNG Y BENEDICTO XVI

26-9-2005 Antonio Duato Moderador y editor de ATRIO

La noticia ha saltado esta tarde. Los dos viejos amigos, tanto tiempo enfrentados, se han encontrado el sbado pasado en un encuentro relajado, no polmico, para hablar sobre todo del proyecto de "tica global" (Kng es el presidente y alma de la Fundacin Weltethos, que cada vez est teniendo ms influencia mundial) que promueve Kng y de temas de fe, ciencia y cultura. El encuentro no aparece en el Boletn del VIS (Servicio de Informacin de Vaticano) que da cuenta de las audiencias del sbado . Por cierto en ese Boletn s que aparace que el mismo sbado el papa recibi al Cardenal Martini. Noticias esperanzadoras todas de distensin... Hans Kng estaba silencioso despus de la eleccin de Ratzinger, cumpliendo la temporada de silencio que haba prometido. Ahora este encuentro resulta muy significativo, sobre todo por lo duro que fue Kng con Metz cuando este invit en 1997 para su cumpleaos al prefecto de la Congregacin de la Fe (ver ms abajo el artculo de Allen en Nathional Catholic Reporter de hoy, que hace un buen resumen de toda la historia de la relacin Kng-Ratzinger). Precisamente Esta pareja de telogos que se encontraron el sbado estn en la lista de los cien pensadores con ms influencia en el mundo que publica la revista Foreing Policy. Religin Digital da cuenta del comentario hecho por Kng tras la reunin. Hace referencia a las declaraciones del Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Quedamos a la espera de ms informacin, para ofrecerla en ATRIO. Esperamos que la acogida a su viejo amigo y la posible rehabilitacin de su persona como telogo catlico represente un signo de apertura del Papa, que extiende sus brazos y proyectos pastorales ms all de los cauces estratgicos que le marcan los restauradores que le eligieron. P.S.: Comunicado de la Oficina de Prensa del Vaticano: VIS del 27-9-2005.
BENEDICTO XVI SE ENTREVISTA CON HANS KUNG CIUDAD DEL VATICANO, 27 SEP 2005 (VIS).-El director de la Oficina de Prensa de la Santa Sede, Joaqun Navarro-Valls, realiz ayer por la tarde la siguiente declaracin: "El sbado 24 de septiembre de 2005 tuvo lugar un coloquio de Su Santidad el Papa Benedicto XVI con el profesor Hans Kng (Tubinga). El encuentro se desarroll en un clima amistoso. Ambos estaban de acuerdo en que no tena sentido entrar, en el marco del encuentro, en una discusin sobre las divergencias doctrinales persistentes entre Hans Kng y el Magisterio de la Iglesia Catlica. "El coloquio se concentr, por tanto, en dos temas que tienen particular inters para el trabajo reciente de Hans Kng: la cuestin de la tica mundial ("Weltethos") y el dilogo de
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la razn de las ciencias naturales con la razn de la fe cristiana. El profesor Kng subray que su proyecto de tica mundial no es ni mucho menos una construccin intelectual abstracta, sino que pone de manifiesto los valores morales sobre los que convergen las grandes religiones del mundo, a pesar de todas las diferencias, y que pueden percibirse como criterios vlidos -a causa de su convincente carcter razonable- por la razn secular. "El Papa apreci el esfuerzo del profesor Kng para contribuir a un renovado reconocimiento de los valores morales esenciales de la humanidad a travs del dilogo de las religiones y en el encuentro con la razn secular. Subray que el compromiso por una renovada conciencia de los valores fundamentales de la vida humana es tambin un objetivo importante de su pontificado. "Al mismo tiempo, el Papa reafirm su acuerdo sobre el intento del profesor Kng de reavivar el dilogo entre fe y ciencias naturales y de hacer valer, en relacin con el pensamiento cientfico, la sensatez y la necesidad de la cuestin sobre Dios ("Gottesfrage"). Por su parte, el profesor Kng elogi los esfuerzos del Papa por favorecer el dilogo entre las religiones y tambin el encuentro con los diferentes grupos sociales del mundo moderno".

Posted Monday September 26, 2005 at 11:52 a.m. CDT

Hans Kng and Pope Benedict, old friends and archrivals have a cordial meeting

By John L. Allen Jr. NCR Rome correspondent

In a dramatic gesture of reconciliation, Pope Benedict XVI met Sept. 24 with his

former colleague and longtime nemesis, Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Kng, a fiery liberal who once compared then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger with the head of the KGB in his capacity as the Vatican's top doctrinal enforcer. In 1979, Kng's license to teach Catholic theology was revoked by Pope John Paul II, a decision in which Ratzinger played a role as a member of the German bishops' conference. In the years since, Kng has been a leading critic of both many of the doctrinal positions espoused by Ratzinger, and the investigatory procedures by which they are enforced. While the two men agreed to disagree on doctrinal matters, the pope offered warm praise for Kng's efforts to foster dialogue among religions and with the natural sciences, while Kng expressed support for the pope's commitment along the same lines. A Sept. 26 statement from the Vatican did not say who had requested the meeting, but said that it took place in a "friendly climate" and that Benedict XVI offered special support for Kng's efforts to build a Weltethos, or a moral framework based on values shared among religions which can also be recognized by secular reason.
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Both parties agreed, according to the statement, that it did not make sense to go into the "persistent doctrinal questions" between Kng and the magisterium of the Catholic church. At one level, the meeting was a reunion of old friends who taught together at the famous German theology faculty of Tbingen during the 1960s. In fact, it was Kng who hired then-Fr. Joseph Ratzinger at Tbingen, luring him away from a position at the University of Mnster; the two men served together as periti, or theological experts for the German bishops, at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), where they were part of the broad progressive majority. At Tbingen they had a standing weekly dinner appointment on Thursday evenings to discuss a journal that they edited together. At the beginning of Vatican II, the then-Cardinal of Milan, Giovanni Battista Montini, who would bring the council to a close as Pope Paul VI, predicted that two figures who came to prominence in those years would be heard from in the Catholic world -Kng and Ratzinger. At another level, however, the Sept. 24 meeting represents an encounter between the two leading symbols of the Catholic left and right in the post-Vatican II period. Kng, known for his fierce public challenges to papal infallibility and other doctrines, has long been a darling of Catholic liberals, while over his 24 years as the Vatican's top doctrinal official Ratzinger became the champion of the church's conservative wing. The pope's decision to meet Kng, and the warm tone of their encounter, will be widely seen as a gesture of reconciliation with the theological community, and more broadly with liberal factions of Catholicism. In some ways, it's difficult to know whether to be more surprised that Benedict granted the meeting, or that Kng took it. Ratzinger-Metz meeting derided In 1997, another German Catholic theologian who has often been at odds with Ratzinger, Johann Baptist Metz, celebrated his 70th birthday with a symposium in Ahaus, Germany. Ratzinger was on the program, and the two men spoke fondly of one another. "Many of my colleagues had the impression that this [Ratzinger's appearance] was a gesture of reconciliation toward the theological community," Metz said. Kng, however, derided Metz for appearing with Ratzinger without making the case for internal church reform. "It is astonishing" and "a deep scandal" that Metz "would offer the Grand Inquisitor a forum," Kng wrote in an open letter published before the Ahaus symposium. "He is the chief authority of the Inquisitorial office. It's like having a general conversation about human rights with the head of the KGB," Kng said in an NCR interview at the time.
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"This is practically a capitulation to the Roman system, a kind of making peace with Ratzinger, when the real task of political theology should be to identify itself with the suffering people in our church. They are abusing talk about God to avoid dealing with problems in the church." It was all a bit much for Metz. "Sometimes Kng conducts himself like a second magisterium. To tell you the truth, one is enough, at least for me," Metz said, adding that he was "very hurt, very disappointed, very angry" about Kng's comments. Kng was unrepentant. "This event was simply a very nice occasion to show Ratzinger as a smiling Inquisitor who can talk about highly theological subjects in a serene manner," he said. "He thought everybody would be impressed." Those reactions reflect the checkered history between Kng and Ratzinger. There is no figure anywhere in the world more associated with Vatican II, both its promise and its perils, than the 77-year-old Swiss theologian. His book The Council, Reform and Reunion, was widely perceived as the unofficial template for Vatican II. "Never again would an individual theologian have such influence," wrote the late Vatican expert Peter Hebblethwaite. In the years since, Kng has become the public face of liberal Catholicism, advocating reform inside the church and ecumenical and inter-faith progress outside. Kng was first contacted by the Vatican in April 1967 to answer charges against his book Die Kirche, which focused especially on his understanding of papal authority. At that time, Kng made several requests: for access to his file ("I hardly need to mention that in all civilized states of the West even criminals are guaranteed complete access to the dossiers that pertain to them"); that any earlier decision made without his involvement be set aside; for a written list of the problems with his book; for the names of the experts who investigated his book; the ability to speak in German during any formal meetings; and that his expenses to travel to Rome be covered (otherwise, he said, they could hold the meeting in Tbingen; "my house would be at your disposal"). Carbon copies of that letter went to Bishop Joseph Leiprecht of the diocese of Rottenberg, in which Tbingen is located, and to Ratzinger, who was then dean of the theological faculty. In July 1970, Kng's real bombshell exploded over the Catholic world. His book Infallible? An Inquiry seemed to challenge the 1870 declaration of papal infallibility at Vatican I, questioning both its theological soundness and its disastrous implications for ecumenism. Shortly after Kng's book appeared, the German bishops' conference began an investigation. In January 1971, Kng appeared before a hearing of the doctrinal
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commission of the conference and their theological advisors, including Ratzinger. On February 8, 1971, the bishops' conference issued a statement denouncing Kng's book. Ratzinger contributed to a 1971 volume edited by Karl Rahner that contained essays critical of Kng's book. Both Ratzinger and famed Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner expressed strong reservations. Kng complained that he had not been invited by Rahner to contribute an essay in his own defense. What many people believe to be Kng's masterpiece, On Being a Christian appeared in 1974. In many quarters the book was instantly hailed as a classic, but reaction within the circles of Catholic academic theology was much more mixed. In 1976, a volume of essays in response to the book was published in Germany, containing contributions from Ratzinger, Rahner, and others. On Being a Christian expressed an "option for a label which in reality is an empty formula," Ratzinger wrote. It moved theology "out of life and death seriousness and into the questionable interests of the literary"; in it Christian faith is "handed over to corruption at its very foundation"; the church disappears "literally into the saying of nothing"; it contains "an undisguised arrogance"; its theology is "rootless and ultimately nonbinding"; Kng was "going it alone, alone with oneself and modern reasonableness"; the book expressed "a school certitude, a party certitude, not a certitude for which one can live and die, a certitude for comfortable times in which the ultimate is not demanded"; its theology "lands ultimately in the abstruse," and "leads nowhere." Kng objected bitterly to Ratzinger's analysis in a May 22, 1976, article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, writing that it contained "numberless misrepresentations, insinuations, condemnations." Overall, Kng referred to the volume of essays as "an outright shot in the back." Kung defends his work In 1977, Kng appeared before a panel in Stuttgart to discuss the German bishops' concerns about the book and his other work. One cardinal had said he wished to have Ratzinger and Karl Lehmann, now himself the cardinal of Mainz, with him as advisors. Kng objected to Ratzinger, arguing that his essays about Infallible? and On Being a Christian lacked objectivity. "I have not wished the absence of Herr Ratzinger here because I do not wish to speak to him," Kng said in Stuttgart, "but because I had at least imagined (which has been confirmed here) that there might enter into this colloquium a fundamental sharpness and emotionality which would not be wished by me." In the meantime, Ratzinger had been consecrated as cardinal-archbishop of Munich, and he became involved in the internal discussions within the bishops' conference about the Kng affair. Several letters moved back and forth between Ratzinger, Cardinal Josef Hffner of Cologne, Kng's chief critic among the bishops during much of the 1970s, and Kng.
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The first hint of a disciplinary measure in the works came in an Oct. 16, 1979, radio interview given by Ratzinger, in which he was strongly critical of Kng's article about the pope. On Nov. 5-9, the German cardinals were in Rome for a meeting with the pope. In an interview afterwards with the German Catholic news agency, Ratzinger used the term missio canonica for the first time in connection to the case, saying that Kng cannot teach Catholic theology and hold the views he does. The missio canonica is the license that a Catholic theologian must hold in order to teach at a pontifically recognized institution. On Dec. 18, 1979, the German bishops held a press conference announcing a declaration from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that Kng was no longer qualified to be a Catholic theologian. In a sermon on Dec. 31, 1979, Ratzinger defended the action against Kng in terms that would become familiar: "The Christian believer is a simple person: bishops should protect the faith of these little people against the power of intellectuals." During Ratzinger's almost quarter-century at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Kng remained one of his fiercest critics. In 1989, for example, he was among the leading signatories to the "Cologne Declaration," a statement from 163 theologians complaining of "Roman centralism" in the church. Yet the two men's respect for one another has remained intact over the years. In his 1997 memoirs Milestones, Ratzinger wrote appreciatively of Kng. In the immediate reaction to Ratzinger's election as Benedict XVI, Kng to some extent returned the favor, calling the result "an enormous disappointment," but adding, "The papacy is such a challenge that it can change anyone.... Let us therefore give him a chance." The Sept. 26 Vatican statement made no mention of any discussion about lifting the ban on Kng's right to teach theology. After the ban, Kng shifted his attention to his world ethic project, becoming a widely recognized international figure in efforts to promote dialogue among world religions, as well as between faith and the secular world. The e-mail address for John L. Allen Jr. is jallen@natcath.org

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