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Barcelona archbishop bans theologian Küng

Banned Swiss theologian Hans Küng has challenged the Archbishop of Barcelona to a public debate after he was denied permission to use church property during a recent speaking tour.

In explaining the decision, Cardinal Ricard María Carlés said that Küng's canonical mission to teach as a Catholic theologian had been withdrawn by the Vatican. He castigated Küng for marking the 25th anniversary of the papacy of Pope John Paul II by publishing an article that is "disrespectful and lacking in objectivity". Küng had referred to the Holy Father's "authoritarianism" and "senility".

The Tablet reports that Küng's 11 November a talk to promote his autobiography was relocated from the fourteenth-century church of Santa Maria Del Pi to Barcelona University. His presentation was titled The Importance of Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue in my Life.

Küng said he deplored the ban. "There has been enough dictatorship and prohibition from speaking in public," in recent Spanish history, he said. He challenged Cardinal Carlés to a public debate on theology. "In order to criticise, the first thing one has to do is to read the books, not just to condemn them", he told The Tablet.

Anyone who reads his books can "see clearly that I am a faithful Catholic", Küng went on. "Whoever reads my autobiography can witness that I am used to putting up with the limited outlook of senior officials and their entourage. But this can never shake my Catholic faith."

At the age of 75, Küng added, he would not "give in" to a "regression" to the times before the Second Vatican Council. Now emeritus professor of theology at Tübingen University in Germany, Küng was a theological adviser to the Second Vatican Council alongside his then colleague, Joseph Ratzinger.

Barcelona's archbishop bans Küng (The Tablet 22/11/03)

Theologian Küng seeks reconciliation with Rome (2/4/03)
Hans Kung (21st Century Speakers)

25 Nov 2003