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Aspects of Life of Hans Kung

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Hans Küng (b. March 19, 1928), is an eminent Swiss Roman Catholic theologian and a prolific author

Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic. Küng is a Roman Catholic priest, but the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology.

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Küng's doctoral dissertation was on Karl Barth's theory of justification and its relationship to traditional Roman Catholic understanding. That work, published in English as Justification: The Doctrine of Karl Barth and a Catholic Reflection (1964), is an example of Küng's interest in the reconciliation of separated Christian churches. Combining careful analyses of the Barthian and present-day Roman Catholic views along with an indication of their development from the time of the Reformation, the book indicates that contemporary differences stem from different ways of talking rather than from substantive disagreement. Unlike other contemporary Roman Catholic theologians such as Karl Rahner or Bernard Lonergan, Küng did not develop a definite metaphysical position on which to base his views. Rather, his thought comes from studies of church and theological history plus an awareness of the strong contemporary drive for freedom of thought and the concurrent antagonism to authoritarian institutional structures

In many of his works (such as The Council, Reform, and Reunion, 1962, and Structures of the Church, 1964) Küng combined historical analysis with reflection upon contemporary problems to indicate the need for reform within the Roman Catholic Church and the real possibility of reconciliation with other churches.

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Küng asserts that in the Christian faith, the specifically Christian criterion coincides with the general ethical criterion of humanity. The Sermon on the Mount is a proclamation of a “true humanity.” This new humanity implies a “more radical way of being human” as demonstrated by solidarity with one another and also with one’s opponents. This also implies that Christians enter into fellowship with members of other religions as well. Küng says that the more humane Christianity is, the more Christian it is

Thus, “true humanity is the prerequisite for true religion”; and “true religion is the perfecting of true humanity.” Küng also makes it clear that the truth in Christianity does not exclude the truth in other religions. They are all conditionally true religions as long as they do not contradict the essential Christian message; in fact, other religions can “complete, correct and enrich the Christian religion.”[Hans Küng, 98] In the end no religion will be left standing, not even Christianity, Küng asserts, but the one “Inexpressible” to whom all religions are oriented. Even Jesus Christ will no longer stand as a separate figure; Paul says, “When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will (also) be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).

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In the long run, he was the drafter of The Declaration Toward a Global Ethic of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1993, and of the proposal of the InterAction Council for a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, 1997. Dr

Küng was invited in 2001 by the UN Secretary General as a member of the Group of Eminent Persons, who are co-authors of the Manifesto for the UN Crossing the Divide: Dialogue among Civilizations. In 2007 he became a member of the board of the Global Humanitarian Forum (Geneva) convened by Kofi Annan.

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Hans Küng, Global Ethic for Global Politics and Economics, 98

Chris Sugden, “Called to Full Humanity: A perspective from Western Europe.” Transformation 15, (January 1, 1998), 28-29.

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