In my recent commentary about the crisis in the Legion of Christ (This Is No Time for Happy-Face Stickers), I said:
“Watch and see. You’ll soon notice certain people trying to use this scandal to malign Pope John Paul II (a long-time supporter of Fr. Maciel and the Legion), in a way similar to how some are right now attempting to exploit the recent SSPX Bishop Williamson Holocaust-debacle against Pope Benedict XVI.”
Here is an example of what I meant about how certain people make use of seemingly disparate issues to advance their agendas.
Fr. Hans Küng has oh-so-helpfully lobbed his very own “stupid-grenade” into the volatile controversy (which is really a non-controversy) surrounding SSPX Bishop Williamson’s inane remarks about the Holocaust.
Who better at this moment to challenge Pope Benedict’s recent un-excommunication of four right-wing prelates than another 81-year-old?
The recent papal edict re-enfolding Bishop Richard Williamson, a British holocaust denier and misogynist, has offended Jews, set interfaith relations back fifty years, repudiated Vatican II’s own views, and left the 40 or so women recently excommunicated because of their illicit ordinations breathless with indignation.
It has also has provoked a sharp response in a German newspaper, one that is being quickly sent around the world on the internet. Its writer is the eminent professor of ecumenical theology at Tubingen University, where he continues to teach eager classes, although he’s not permitted by Rome to teach as an official Catholic theologian.
It is just one of the paradoxes in the story of modern Catholic thought, and in the personal life of Rev. Hans Kung. He is, and has been since 1954, a Catholic priest. When he travels, he stays in the various rectories of Catholic parishes, hearing the confessions of the faithful, as he told us in Toronto in 2002, “as much as I am able.”
With his easy charm, impressive intellect, and clipped accent, Hans Kung, ever a sharp thorn in the Vatican, strides once more onto the ecclesial stage. The world-known Swiss Roman Catholic priest and theologian, who served as a peritus or expert at the Council (1962-65), he shared this responsibility with his German colleague, Josef Ratzinger, then a progressive thinker. How their paths would diverge.
To get right to the point, Kung in his article on February 3, wished Barack Obama were Pope. “The mood in the church is oppressive, reforms are paralyzed, and the church in crisis,” he says. “Benedict is unteachable in matters of birth control and abortion, arrogant and without transparency and restrictive of freedom and human rights.”
For Kung, Benedict should act as Obama has done, declaring a crisis, identifying the problems, proclaiming a vision of hope, revitalizing ecumenism, gathering competent colleagues of either gender, and using the power of his executive office to issue decrees (unhindered by such institutions as a democratically-elected Congress or a Supreme Court.)
But no, “the Pope is reorienting himself backward, inspired by the ideal of the medieval church, looking toward the Council of 1870, not the one of 1965.” (read article)