Sunday, 6 May 2012

Hans Kung on Vatican II: "Continuity and Discontinuity"

Warning: Staring at this image induces dizziness and nausea...
Well, as usual, to round up the week, I took a look at The Tablet's website to see what's abounding at the magazine trapped in the 70s and with a readership of a similar age and, to my amusement, I saw this article concerning one Hans Kung...

'Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has blamed Professor Hans Küng for creating anti-Roman sentiments among German-speaking Catholics and for a widespread misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council.

"In the German-speaking world there has been, above all, the diffusion of Küng's idea that the Council constituted a rupture with the tradition of the Church and not an evolution of it," the Swiss cardinal said in an interview in the Italian magazine I Tempi. "In my opinion, this interpretation has caused the current disquiet [in the Church]," he said.

The 84-year-old theologian rejected the hypothesis. "I have never affirmed that Vatican II was an act of rupture with Tradition," Fr Küng told The Tablet this week. "It was an epochal paradigm shift that involved both continuity and discontinuity," he said.

I'll leave that little nugget for readers to mull over, but it is an interesting choice of words, isn't it? 'Epochal' suggests it belongs to a particular age, which in hindsight, appears to be the case. 'Paradigm shift' suggests that a new emphasis was placed on new interpretations and ideas and that this shift involved both continuity with the past - and discontinuity. So, that's the hermeneutic of continuity and discontinuity, then, which is quite a concept to hold together.

But holding different concepts together is Fr Kung's forte and if you're wondering where I found the bizarre symbol pictured above, I can tell you I found it on the Global Ethic Foundation, which sounds startlingly similar to the Tony Blair Foundation. I didn't realise that the project is the baby of Fr Hans Kung himself and that he himself is President of the organisation working on what appears to be a kind of perpetual 'Assisi II'. It's a fascinating website, I must say, in which we can see but also hear the ideas of Fr Kung and his personal biography and beliefs through the headphones, but you would be hard pushed to think Fr Kung is a Catholic, let alone a Catholic Priest.

I'll let you trawl through Fr Kung's Global Ethic Foundation site here. Good Lord, I just saw the front page! It's a photo montage of the Lord Jesus, what looks like some automobile manufacturers, President Obama and the Buddha among others and some flags that look like they could be from outside the UN. Funny thing is that when the woman's voice and the man's voice comes on telling you all about Fr Kung's ideas, you feel like you're in a museum. Especially with headphones on. It's a very flash website and its clear that Fr Kung is getting on very well in the World, but I don't think he's as rich as Tony Blair yet.

Don't get me wrong, I think lots of religions working together towards global peace in search of a common ethic is a great idea. Let's call the idea something new and radical like 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength and understanding and love your neighbour as yourself'. Its just that there's something quite odd about a Catholic Priest's website having a section on Christianity (among other World religions) under the heading, 'Who is Jesus Christ?' and another heading in the same section on Christianity asking the question, 'Who is God?' Surely that could have been examined a little under the previous section? No. Not really, because as the webpage says, Kung 'pursued an historical understanding of Jesus "from the bottom up"'. Yikes! I'm sure he'll forgive me when I say that for a Catholic Priest, his organisation's website looks more than a little Masonic, but hey, I guess Kung is one of those theologians who belong to an 'epoch' of 'paradigm shifts' that involved both 'continuity...and discontinuity'! Fr Hans Kung: The man who led the Church out of the promised land of milk and honey and into the slavery of many false gods.

I have to keep heeding Petrus's words that there is no conspiracy. There is no conspiracy. There is no conspiracy. After all, Fr Hans Kung is all theory.


john-of-hayling said...

Private Eye refers to Tony Blair's enterprise under the title of Drawing All Faiths Together - with an appropriate acronym!

georgem said...


Anonymous said...

A quick flick through Kung's books tells you he ain't a Catholic. It's a pity he's such a wimp because otherwise he could have led some kind of breakaway and we would have been rid of the modernists/neo-modernists. It seems to be a consistent feature of the modernists that they are armchair popes writing volumous amounts yet none of them have any leadership qualities whatsoever. Its just subversion, subversion for them.


Physiocrat said...

"epochal paradigm shift that involved both continuity and discontinuity"

I had one of those but the wheels came off.

. said...

"an epochal paradigm shift that involved both continuity and discontinuity."

You know, if I were writing an academic paper, and wanted to describe the dawning of the Age of Aquarius without actually using the words, this is exactly the phrase I'd use.

Then again, German academics do tend to sound like this in English.

The Only Safe Space in the World

Virus normalcy, the so-called 'new normal', is for Christians almost certainly more abhorrent than it is for people of other reli...