No matter the issue facing the Catholic Church, dissident Swiss theologian Father Hans Küng, the darling of so many in Catholic higher education, always has solutions that seem to include liberalizing rules about sexual ethics and/or women’s ordination.
Fr. Küng, whose popularity peaked in the 1960s and ‘70s, is still a staple of syllabi in classrooms on many Catholic campuses. In fact, a Biblical Heritage course being taught this semester at Boston College recommends that students read Küng’s On Being a Christian.
In a recent piece published by the dissident National Catholic Reporter, Fr. Küng had some radical suggestions for Pope Francis.
He suggested that because people live longer as well as other reasons, marriage as a lifetime commitment should be seen as merely a “goal,” and those whose marriages end in divorce and are later remarried should be allowed to receive the sacraments.
He also called for the abolition of mandatory celibacy and the “desirable” ordination of women into the priesthood.
Fr. Küng said that “only a tiny minority of Catholic women obey the papal prohibition to practice ‘artificial’ contraception, and many with a good conscience use artificial insemination”
“Abortion should not be banalized or even be used as a means of birth control,” he said. “But women who for serious reasons decided to have an abortion, often experiencing great moral conflict, deserve understanding and mercy.”
Fr. Küng suggested that how Pope Francis deals with these issues will be the true test of his papacy.
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