On April 6th, at the age of 93, Father Hans Kung went to meet his God, along with the Christ he didn’t seem to believe was God – he’s in for a surprise on that one. Kung was a contemporary, and sometime friend and colleague, of Father Josef Ratzinger (who turned 94 on April 16th). Kung was a controversial figure. Ordained in the 1950’s, he soon adopted the progressive, reforming stance that was so influential in those pre-conciliar years. As Father Raymond de Souza points out, young Father Ratzinger – both he and Kung were in their thirties during those heady Conciliar years, oh, to be young was very bliss! – was also a reformer, but one who stayed within the Church’s Tradition. Kung, on the other hand, drifted, dissenting on just about every issue of Catholic doctrine, from the divine consubstantiality of the Son (see above), to reserving priestly ordination to men, to just about every tenet of sexual ethics. Kung had his licence to teach theology revoked by the authority of Pope John Paul II in 1978, just after his election, for his denial, of all things, of the doctrine of papal infallibility. Still, Father Kung – for he was and is a priest forever – still taught, wrote, and spoke right up to the eve of his eternal judgement. I hope he sought the mercy of the God whose truth he so distorted, but perhaps, just maybe, that truth became clearer in those last moments, and, like Dysmas, sought the mercy of that same God, whose only limit is our own refusal to receive it.
And while on dissenters, Erin O’Toole, erstwhile leader of the ‘Conservative’ Party of Canada, has announced he will vote against the ban on sex-selective abortion – the practice of murdering an unborn child just because he, or most often she, is of the wrong ‘sex’, or, as people incorrectly put it nowadays, ‘gender’. Certain, ahem, cultures see babies of the fairer sex as a disposable burden, and not a blessing. O’Toole is maintaining this death sentence because, in his own words, he is ‘pro-choice’. Well, well…What is one to say?
Mr. O’Toole would do well to peruse the same Pope Saint John Paul II makes clear in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, on the sanctity of human life: