Hans Küng tells why Jesuit college rejected young Wojtyla
Banned Swiss theologian Hans Küng has told the ABC that Pope John Paul II failed to gain admittance to Rome's Gregorian University in his student days because he lacked a strong background in modern exegesis and theology.
Küng, who turns 76 tomorrow, is emeritus professor of theology at Tübingen University in Germany. His right to teach at Catholic universities was revoked by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1979. He was speaking to Stephen Crittenden on yesterday's Religion Report on ABC Radio National.
He said: "In the period when I was at the Gregorian, Karol Wojtyla was studying in Rome, and I think it was important to mention that he was certainly intelligent enough to enter the Pontifical Gregorian University of the Jesuits, but he obviously did not have the prerequisites in the plan of studies."
Küng said Wojtyla's studies had focused on the neo-scholastic theology of St Thomas Aquinas. He was admitted to the Dominicans' Angelicum University after ordination in 1946.
"I think it's a fact that Karol Wojtyla does not know enough modern exegesis, history of dogmas, modern theology," he said. "He has a very traditional neo-scholastic training, but I think that these are his limits, and I do not see why we cannot speak openly about that."
Küng, who was a theological adviser to the Second Vatican Council alongside his then colleague Joseph Ratzinger, has recently published the first volume of his autobiography. Reminiscences of his contemporary Wojtyla will appear in the second volume.
[Pictured: Karol Wojtyla in 1938)
Hans Kueng on the death of Cardinal Koenig (ABC Religion Report 17/3/04)
Pope John Paul II (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Barcelona archbishop bans theologian Küng (CathNews 25/11/03)
Theologian Küng seeks reconciliation with Rome (2/4/03)
Hans Kung (21st Century Speakers)
18 Mar 2004