Catholic theologian preaches revolution to end church authoritarian rule

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One of the world’s most prominent Catholic theologians has called for a revolution from below to unseat the pope and force radical reform at the Vatican.


Hans Küng is appealing to priests and churchgoers to confront the Catholic hierarchy, which he says is corrupt, lacking credibility and apathetic to the real concerns of the church’s members.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Küng, who had close contact with the pope when the two worked together as young theologians, described the church as an “authoritarian system” with parallels to Germany’s Nazi dictatorship.

“The unconditional obedience demanded of bishops who swear their allegiance to the pope when they make their holy oath is almost as extreme as that of the German generals who were forced to swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler,” he said.

The Vatican made a point of crushing any form of clerical dissent, he added. “The rules for choosing bishops are so rigid that as soon as candidates emerge who, say, stand up for the pill, or for the ordination of women, they are struck off the list.” The result was a church of “yes men”, almost all of whom unquestioningly toed the line.

“The only way for reform is from the bottom up,” said Küng, 84, who is a priest. “The priests and others in positions of responsibility need to stop being so subservient, to organise themselves and say that there are certain things that they simply will not put up with anymore.”

Küng, the author of around 30 books on Catholic theology, Christianity and ethics, which have sold millions worldwide, said that inspiration for global change was to be found in his native Switzerland and in Austria, where hundreds of Catholic priests have formed movements advocating policies that openly defy current Vatican practices. The revolts have been described as unprecedented by Vatican observers, who say they are likely to cause deep schisms in the church.

“I’ve always said that if one priest in a diocese is roused, that counts for nothing. Five will create a stir. Fifty are pretty much invincible. In Austria the figure is well over 300, possibly up to 400 priests; in Switzerland it’s about 150 who have stood up and it will increase.”

Written By: Kate Connolly
continue to source article at guardian.co.uk

55 COMMENTS

  1. “The result was a church of “yes men”, almost all of whom unquestioningly toed the line.”

    But that’s the church’s goal. Saying you want to democratise an organization that is designed for followers – and only followers – is as delusional as believing in god in the first place.

  2. “The Vatican is no different from the Kremlin,” Küng said. “Just as Putin as a secret service agent became the head of Russia, so Ratzinger, as head of the Catholic church’s secret services, became head of the Vatican. He has never apologised for the fact that many cases of abuse were sealed under the secretum pontificium (papal secrecy), or acknowledged that this is a disaster for the Catholic church.” Küng described a process of “Putinisation” that has taken place at the Vatican.
    Delicious

  3. Personally, I’d have said a real concern for the church’s members is that they believe in a fiction.

    Still, dragging the church kicking and screaming a few centuries closer to the current date shouldn’t (we hope) be a bad thing. The examples for change given, though, seem merely internal (ordaining women, divorcees getting communion) rather than more important things like acting to root out paedophilia in the church or not deliberately lying to Africa that condoms cause AIDS.

    Seems like people arguing about how best to arrange the cushions whilst the house is on fire…

  4. I haven’t compiled data, but I’ve seen what I’m going to call a trend that when bishops die, at the eulogy, right out of the gate, they are invariably mentioned as having “loved the Church.” 

    I knew a Catholic Bishop fairly well. He was a peace activist, an anti-nuke protester, and a cleric sympathetic to the plight of women in his church. I like to think that had he lived, he may have looked into the Clergy Project, but this is pure speculation on my part.

    He once told me at dinner (a month before he died) that there was a reason he was re-assigned to the smallest diocese in the US: to limit his influence, to shut him up. He was terribly disappointed when JP2 shut down the idea that women would ever be priests. I remember telling him perhaps in time. He said wearily,  “Michael, the Church has nothing but time.” 

    The first words out of the eulogizer’s mouth for him was, “he loved his Church.” I cringed when I heard that as it was so self-serving. He may have loved it on a certain level, but not in the manner of the propaganda being shouted. 

    The two bishops who followed him are Yes Men to the Vatican. This article hits the nail on the head. 

    Mike

  5. Yep, speak out against the system and ya get the bums rush to excommunication…kiddy fiddle and ya get the bums rush to a holiday, usually to a place where there are lots more kids to fiddle with…the RCC stinks to high heaven.

  6. I can’t help but having a divided opinion on attempts to reform the RCC. On one hand, of course, I think it’s great that someone is actually saying out loud how the organization is stuck in the Middle Ages. We cannot stay silent on its out-dated views which are in complete contradiction to our modern, reasoned understanding of morality.
    But on the other hand, the longer the RCC sticks to its guns, the more it hurts itself. There is a certain level of schadenfreude in watching the church dig its own grave. If it changes it policies to become more “user friendly”, people will rejoice and praise it. Any reform will draw people to the church. The struggles of the RCC are a reminder to people what a dogmatic creed leads to. 

  7. “The only way for reform is from the bottom up,” said Küng, 84, who is a priest.

    There is another way – turn the lights out!

    “The priests and others in positions of responsibility need to stop being so subservient, to organise themselves and say that there are certain things that they simply will not put up with anymore.”

    This is absolutley priceless coming from a fupping priest!  A religion without subservient priests!  Gadzooks they might all start thinking rationally?

    The wheel and the rack are a distant memory now.  We have priests popping up everywhere who don’t even believe in the ol’ bogey man any more.  What is the world coming to?

  8. @OP:twitter  – “The priests and others in positions of responsibility need to stop being so subservient, to organise themselves and say that there are certain things that they simply will not put up with anymore.”

    Ah!  The sheeples will stop being subservient!!???  Dream on!!!

    described the church as an “authoritarian system” with parallels to Germany’s Nazi dictatorship.

    “The unconditional obedience demanded of bishops who swear their allegiance to the pope when they make their holy oath is almost as extreme as that of the German generals who were forced to swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler,” he said.

    Now where would Ratzi have learned that in his youth????

    Benedictine monastery Swastika -  http://nobeliefs.com/images/Be

    German Christian Movement
    Badge (Deutsch-Christliche Mitgliedsabzeichen) – http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes

    Deutsche Christen Badge
    http://nobeliefs.com/images/De

    Mother’s Cross (Mutterkreuz) – http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes

    Hitler Youth.
    http://www.regencystamps.com/L

  9. While it is a great thing to promote people to stand up against things that they believe are wrong, the real problem lies in what happens if they are successful. This is an institution that has relied on the fallacy of infallibility as one of its central tenets and has caused untold harm in much of the policies it still maintains through dogmatic adherence (Aids epidemic in Africa, child molestation, etc). Dogma that has people living lives of celibacy by way of command and controlling the birth rate of its followers.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for such a reformation if it means getting past such insane notions as infallibility, celibacy and such but therein lies the issue: What would it lead to? I would think if anything it would cause things to simply split even further, until over time it simply crumbles.

    And once again don’t get me wrong, I’m not against that. Nor am I saying there’s a tremendous amount they’ll be able to do about it once it really becomes epidemic in more countries.

    Just an observation.

  10. It is a religious cult that is over balanced and lurching from crisis to crisis,
    There is no centralized control and like a fly on DDT it is rapidly and spasmodically shaking itself apart because the nervous system is in denial and inexorable collapse.

    The seminaries are not turning out anywhere enough clones and the priestly numbers at the coal face are in decline as age inevitably retires them.
    The remaining are run ragged having several diocese to regulate and administer to and that when bums on pews are at their lowest ebb in living memory.
    The cash is dribbling from coffers and they are losing the theological debate on teh ghey and teh atheist. not to mention teh ‘wimmins’!
    The Vatican is more akin to a powder keg and the hired help are pinching papers that the Vatican really wish had not been pinched.

    They are beset by scandal both sexually and financial and still the sophisticated theology they are so proud of falls apart as a cloying muddy morass of wet cardboard, as soon as they cobble it together it just disintegrates.

    Even their own carefully nurtured victims of the scam ignore church dogma on contraception and fish and they have more then a few clowns willing to reject the holocaust as communist propaganda.
    Every time one opens a gob to pontificate the egregious stench of making it up on the hoof comes pouring out.
    Check out the Chief Vatican astronomer and his views on ET…effing hilarious if it was not so po faced.

    Behold a cult slowly but jerkily sinking into the tar pit of extinction.
    The only thing holding the whole debacle together are the chronically cretinous brain dead that bootlick the clergy, even lie for them…or just look the other way!

    A cult that is at ill with itself, as the RCC obviously is, does not last long, and infighting, as well as no clear concerted plan, are just the inevitable beginnings of the inglorious end!

    ‘Ego vobis valedico.’

  11. “One of the world’s most prominent Catholic theologians has called for a revolution from below to unseat the pope and force radical reform at the Vatican”

    Unseat the pope? But the pope is God’s rep on earth. Isn’t that tantamount to a call to dethrone his holy majesty himself up above? But I suspect Kung has become a closet atheist in his old age. He’s finally seen the real light.

  12. This is great! They’re finally rushing towards that middle ground. All hope is not lost. This could be a huge stepping stone to solving some very serious problems facing our global civilization. This can put the church in a very good light, in my opinion.

  13. Unseat the pope? But the pope is God’s rep on earth. 

    There is a precedence….Pope’s have been deposed in the past, a couple being Benedict’s namesakes…a few have resigned too apparently.

  14. This is big. Hans Küng is one of the world’s most distinguished theologians (insofar as there is anything in theology to be distinguished about) and a very important Catholic thinker. The Pope could not be stabbed in the back by a better Brutus. Very very welcome news.

  15. No, it’s not really. Nothing new at all. Kung has been playing the part of the ‘thorn’ for so long, I doubt anyone in the Vatican is even bothered by him anymore. I don’t know why he just doesn’t join one of the Protestant sects; they’d be far more to his liking. 

  16. Either way, a  Savonarola wannabe or a closet member of The Clergy Project, as long as he is sticking it to Benedict and his cohorts he’ll do me…so you are right, we do need more like him.

  17. Aside from the second of those images (the purple medal, dated to 1938) do you have dates for the others? I suspect the badge marked “DC” is also of the right period, but the swastikas on the far left and far right (green and wooden shields) could be pre-Nazi. All I’m saying is that the swastika was appropriated by the Hitlerites, not invented by them.

    As to the article itself, I suppose it is good news. The real potential, as I see it, is that this new wave of criticism reinforces the absurdity of cherry-picking in religious dogma. It seems to me that this argument logically ends with the acknowledgement that “your guess (lay person) is as good as mine (theologian/priest/bishop/pope)” when it comes to interpreting fiction.

  18. If you  considered what you posted in this rather flimsy, if not pathetic, dummy spit then I doubt you would have the  cojones to actually post it.
    This ‘theologian is a major ace that has mysteriously turned into a joker in the pack.

    An…

    author of around 30 books on Catholic theology, Christianity and ethics, which have sold millions worldwide

    Is not so much a thorn more of a wake up call.
    But seeing as the Vatican is in deep denial of everything not 12th century, methinks they will be late for the appointment with destiny.

    No, it’s not really

    Yes it is, and I suspect you realise it and feel a little uncomfortable.

    Nothing new at all

    You wish, a theologian in the Catholic cause never stabs the sitting pope in the back unless the sitting pope is weak and ineffective as Benny undoubtedly is.
    Ignoring the statement is your right, it does not mean it is irrelevant.

    Kung has been playing the part
    of the ‘thorn’ for so long

    Has he indeed…or is it not more accurate to say that anyone that issues a devastating critique on the holy Roman cult is inevitable dubbed with the dismissal tag of a ‘thorn’ in the ass of ‘crowdom’..ever has that been so!
    The slightest question of the scam that is religion is always dismissed with such vapid contempt.

    I doubt anyone in the Vatican is even
    bothered by him anymore

    I rather suspect the work load for the Vatican laundry will increase exponentially because being savaged by one of their own toothless lions always spoils the Jesuit tea party and leaves a tremendous stench of resentment floating on the ether .

    I don’t know why he just doesn’t join one of
    the Protestant sects; they’d be far more to his liking

    You do not deal with such devastating criticism by such a dissenting voice in the Catholic delusional corps by sweeping it under the tatty floor rug or by transferring it out of season to the opposition. Out of sight is not out of mind.
    And how do you know that would be to his liking?
    Is it more because that would be to your liking?

  19. Jabarkis
    Aside from the second of those images (the purple medal, dated to 1938) do you have dates for the others? I suspect the badge marked “DC” is also
    of the right period, but the swastikas on the far left and far right (green and wooden shields) could be pre-Nazi.

     

    The DC ( Deutsche Christen ) was first formed in 1931 and their flag (on link) was flown during marches and demonstrations.

    The source of the images and explanations about them is here: – http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes

    I did not include the photo of Hitler with the Mutterkreuz, but include it now below.

    All I’m saying is that the
    swastika was appropriated by the Hitlerites, not invented by them.

     

    That is correct.  There is a possible explanation from the link here about the ONE  which pre-dates the NAZI era:-

    Benedictine monastery Swastika

    Although Hitler’s inspiration for the Nazi swastika is unceretain, it may have been influenced by the swastika displayed at the Benedictine monastery where Hitler served as an altar boy. Whenever Hitler attended mass, he had to pass beneath the Benedictine swastika graven in the stone escutcheon of the abbey portal. Considering that Hitler once wanted to become a Benedictine monk, it is possible that this swastika stuck in his mind and later influenced his design for the Nazi swastika.

     

    The last link which is not displayed on my earlier post because I added it while  editing to tidy the layout.  This  is of some Hitler Youth badges.  You may recall that the present pope was a member.

    http://www.regencystamps.com/L

    http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes

  20. It’s great that you’ve finally heard about Kung…pity its about 30 years after everyone else. 

    This really isn’t a big story; sorry if that’s a disappointment to you. And he’s not against the ‘scam’ that is religion; he merely doesn’t like the set-up of the CC.

    I suggest they would be more to his liking by looking at the reforms he suggests and seeing that some Prot. sects already have such policies in place…simple really.

  21. He may have written thirty books on Catholic theology, but he doesn’t understand the Roman Catholic Church.

    Unlike any other church, the RCC is not about spreading the word of God, it has supplanted God, the religion of Catholicism is the institution of the RCC.

    So in RC theological terms, the only way to reform the church is to destroy it.  

  22. Ratzinger was drafted into the Hitler Youth, just like every other fourteen year old German at the time. What he was forced to do as juvenile in a totalitarian regime is of no consequence, what he did and does voluntarily as an adult makes all the difference.

  23. good luck with that. as an educated catholic he may feel secure in his position but convincing the bottom-up strategy relies on hundreds of millions of catholics to overcome their fear of facing the possibility that the one true religion might have got it wrong.

    I hope this succeeds, if it does it will set a lot of people thinking about every question that they once assumed was being taken care of by the clever folk in the vatican and therefore not for them to ever consider.

    personally, my experience suggests that those who mourned the passing of JP2 and “never liked the german one” so much have long since fallen into line, even taking his view on the recent scandals as proof of how nasty disobedient non-catholics are

  24. Well, it is a start but I do not see anything coming out of it. It is not the Pope who must go, it is the Vatican itself that must be abolished. But Vatican is petty squabble compared to brainwashing of a whole community by protestant denominations that even seem to wield power in the corridors of the government, at least in the USA.

  25. Most of the world are glad to see the Vatican religion in decline. Now, if we could only get them to return to the goal of the crusades to stop the spread of Islam, they may just destroy each other and take Judaism with them. The overall result would certainly leave the rest of the world in everlasting peace.
    But, alas, what we really need is more discussion and common sense, not holy wars. All religions will be forced to accept both debate & common sense in the future. Hopefully in our lifetime. Humanity is growing tired of their lies and terrorism.

  26. I wonder what might result if  those who have read his most recent article were to mention in passing to their local RCC clerics “Are you familiar with the works of Hans Kung ?  What do you think about his most recent thoughts ?”   Having no contact at all with clerics of any odour, I have no idea if the average person would “keep up” so to speak, with the latest developments in theology.   If we know any person in the media, maybe we can suggest they take this tack, and see if anything newsworthy results.

  27. The United States believes children of age 14 and 15 to be punishable for their war crimes. The Canadian war criminal, Omar Khadr, who I believe should have been treated like a child combatant and put into foster care and rehab, has done nothing differently than the Pope has done. 

    Ask Catholics if they believe Omar should be in prison and you get many saying yes, point out that the Pope is guilty of the same thing and you get silence and then major BS backtalk.

  28. There is a precedence for the Holy See having no pontiff at the helm…4 periods of extended  interregnum when God couldn’t make up its immaterial mind….2-3 years would ya believe? 

    Sometimes the choice of candidates is just too much even for a Universe creating deity. The applicants to choose from couldn’t come up to the level of absolute diabolical bastard on these occasions, so God was forced to sit on its hands and wait until a proper piece of work presented himself for selection to the position of infallibility.http://holymotherchurch.blogspot.co.u… whole thing is just a giant piece of amateur dramatics…pish, stuff and nonsense.

  29. No, his argument was not automatically lost by introducing Hitler or the Nazi dictatorship. If you understood Godwin’s Law  properly then you would understand why the analogy in this case is very apt.

    While falling foul of Godwin’s law tends to cause the individual making the comparison to lose their argument or credibility, Godwin’s law itself can be abused as a distraction, diversion or even as censorship, fallaciously miscasting an opponent’s argument as hyperbole when the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate. Similar criticisms of the “law” (or “at least the distorted version which purports to prohibit all comparisons to German crimes”) have been made by Glenn Greenwald

    The idea of the law was as an exercise in memetics set up by Mike Godwin on Usenet…

    The Law is generally used on Usenet as an indicator of whether a
    thread has gone on too long, who’s playing fair and who’s just slinging
    mud, and who finally gets to “win” the discussion. It has, over time,
    become the closest thing to an impartial moderator that Usenet can get.

    So, what this means in practical terms:

    o If someone brings up Nazis in general conversation when it
    wasn’t necessary or germane without it necessarily being an
    insult, it’s probably about time for the thread to end.

    o If someone brings up Nazis in general conversation when it
    was vaguely related but is basically being used as an insult,
    the speaker can be considered to be flaming and not debating.

    o If someone brings up Nazis in any conversation that has been
    going on too long for one of the parties, it can be used as
    a fair excuse to end the thread and declare victory for the
    other side.

    In the case of the OP, there is no way any reasonable person can apply Godwin. Just saying.

    http://wiki.killfile.org/proje

  30. “The only way for reform is from the bottom up”Yeah they do a lot of things at the bottom, that’s the problem. These scumbags have been systematically raping children for centuries and none of the vermin have ever done anything about it. Nothing will come of this theologian clowns rant either and the juggernaut of rape will carry on oblivious.

  31.  

    CdnMacAtheist
    Anybody checked to see if Ratzinger has sent a memo to his old Inquisition Dept, requesting it gather a heap of firewood….

    Ah!  The traditional inquisitors barbecue menu:-

    “What will it be sir?  The hot stake or the cold chop?!

  32. We have seen how a church can just disappear almost overnight.  The Catholic church is behaving with the arrogance it did when it was the only church.  They prosecuted a whistle blower for theft.  They cover up for child predator priests. They are mixed up with some pretty shady financial dealings.  There comes a point when a parishoner says “These criminals can’t possibly get me to heaven. I will have to find some other way.”

    The criminal mind is happy to destroy the church, as long as they get rich as it falls.  The church looks like it is going to commit suicide.  We atheists did not have to do anything.

  33.  This is huge only if the “bottom” is aware of this call for change and acts on it. I will need to ask my Catholic relatives if they know anything about this news.

    The “bottom” could fall out quickly if Catholic women got off their knees and walked out of church with their children. I would like to see the Catholic church reject giving communion to women on birth control. They have withheld communion for people in gay relationships; the Catholic church still needs to go further to dig itself deeper into the grave before change will happen. Unfortunately, people do not like quick upheaval and prefer a slow fizzling out or gradual breaking away until the end.

    For the brave, I think their needs to be a “walk out of church day” say December 29 – 30, 2012. Every person dissatisfied with their religion should stand up as the sermon starts, look around for others, face the minister or priest, and then walk out as a group (or alone) to never return.  When I decided to leave my church, I decided that the end of the year would be my last day. What a great way it was to start a new year.

    Yes, Roedygreen, I have seen a church split in half overnight and wither to a small handful. “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

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