Monday, 23 October 2017


New rules for pupils opting out of religion

Pupils who opt out of religious instruction classes in community and comprehensive secondary schools must be given access to tuition in other subjects under new rules due to come into force soon.
The move will be seen by many as the latest step on the part of the State in wresting back control of the education system from the Catholic Church.
Department of Education officials are finalising a circular aimed at modernising decades-old rules that cover the teaching of religion in community and comprehensive schools. Minister for Education Richard Bruton has confirmed that a new circular will insist on “a proper timetable of beneficial work” for children who opt out of religion. The rules will affect students in more than 300 of the State’s 700-plus secondary schools. While these schools were set up by the State as multidenominational schools, the Catholic Church plays a significant role in many of them and is often involved in their governance.
Parents have a right to take their children out of religion classes in these schools but in practice this often does not occur. Children are regularly left to sit at the back of the class during religious instruction and may be prohibited from studying other subjects, wearing headphones or completing schoolwork, according to parents.
Some schools run by Tipperary Education and Training Board, for example, have rules which state that children who opt out of religion should not have access to other classes, as it would given them an “unfair advantage”. They also regard themselves as “Catholic schools”.
Wider community
Mr Bruton, however, insisted community and comprehensive schools are multidenominational and are obliged to service the wider community.
“We are in a process of a dialogue to sort that out with new formal arrangements,” he said.
“There is a circular to be developed later in the year which will give clear guidelines, but the intention is – and has always been –that every child that turns up should be treated as an individual whose needs are to be accommodated.”
“Instead of being seen as someone who is just opting out, the school [should] seek to accommodate those children in the best way possible.”
Senior officials say the circular is likely to insist that children be provided with access to meaningful education or a time-tabled class.
Deeds of trust
Many community and comprehensive schools are required to have two hours of religious instruction under deeds of trust. They are also required to make provision for students of all faiths and none.
Parents, in theory, have a constitutional right to opt their children out of religion instruction classes in schools. The reality is often different.
Parents say it can be close to impossible to exercise their rights, even in schools operated by the State rather than religious orders.
Children are regularly left to sit at the back of the class during religious instruction. They are often prohibited from studying other subjects.
Take the case of Tipperary Education and Training Board. It, in theory, is a multidenominational patron body owned by the State.
However, its policy for second-level students is that they must remain in religion class at all times and not take part in any other activity.
“The rationale for this is to ensure that no unfair advantage accrues to students opting out of religious education, but rather to ensure that all students have equality of opportunity time-wise when it comes to exam preparation during the school day,” it states, according to documents obtained by Atheist Ireland under the Freedom of Information Act.
Moreover, the same organisation regards its schools as having a belief, ethos and characteristic spirit that is Catholic which “needs to addressed in all policies”.
These rules now look set to change. Department of Education officials are finalising a circular aimed at modernising rules over the teaching of religion in community, comprehensive and Education and Training Board schools.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton has confirmed it will require schools to have a “proper timetable of beneficial work” for children who opt out of religion.
This is likely mean a separate class for another subject on the curriculum.
The move is good news for many parents, and students, who have long felt they were treated as second-class citizens in a system which was supposedly to cater to all.
It will also be welcomed by school management bodies for the sector who have been looking for the rules which govern religious instruction to be modernised.
However, it will also pose an administrative and resource headache for schools. They will argue they will need extra resources to do so.Some say numbers could climb dramatically if students have access to extra classes for exam subjects.
More broadly, the move is likely to be seen as the latest attempt by the State to wrest back control of its schools from the Church.
Today, one in 10 of the population has no religion. More than one in three people in some parts of the State – such as Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Galway – are non-Catholic.
As far as the State sector is concerned, at least, the education system is finally catching up with the reality of the modern classroom.

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Ulster Bank has even put a figure on it – they said with almost 60,000 children making their Communion this year, nine and ten year olds had €27.9 million to spend and saved €13.3 million.
That means the make about €460 on average for their big day and they save around half of it – although our Communicants are the poor relations. Or they have the poor relations, to be more precise because children here pocket an average of €369 compared to those in Dublin who make an average of €533.
The other side of this equation is the cost of your typical First Holy Communion Day with all the trappings and trimmings – because it runs to almost €1,000 on the day, making the religious industry worth €57 million, according to a recent survey.
That’s not including those who trouser up for stretch limos – or even helicopters – to take their little darling to the Church


Personally, I believe that all schools should be state schools and that religious education and sacramental preparation should be provided at home, in the parish and at a church Sunday school.

Of course, we should not forget, or be ungrateful for the fact that religious orders and dioceses provided schools when the state was young and unable to.

Nor should we forget that the Catholic Church, its dioceses, and religious orders accrued hundreds of millions of pounds from the state for providing these schools.

AND - priests, brothers, and nuns told us that they were DOING IT FOR GOD!

They have received their financial reward in this life and if there are due a reward from God they will get it in the next life.

We live now in a pluralist and secular 21st century when religion is on the decline and it is contradictory for any church to own and run confessional schools.

Many parents are lazy about their own religion and want the school and the teachers to do the job for them.

That's why we have the common phenomenon of scores of children being marched up church aisles for sacraments like Holy Communion and Confirmation and the following Sunday only a small fraction of those communicated or confirmed show up at the Sunday Mass.

Communion and Confirmation have become a social and financial feast with children arriving for sacraments in white limos and even helicopters.

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And in many cases, it's just an excuse for a big meal and a piss up!

Churches and parishes should be centres of REAL FAITH and not just annexes to hotels, theme parks, and pubs.

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Parents and grandparents get a kick out of seeing their little Paddy's or Mary's dressed as little brides and little grooms at Communion and Confirmation.

A lot of poor families end up thousands of pounds in debt after these occasions. It would be far better for the children to wear their ordinary school uniforms to these events with a modest celebration afterward in the parish hall.

There is also a big difference between SPIRITUALITY and RELIGION.

Current faith schools are giving people a superficial religion and not a life lasting spirituality.

Faith schools are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

They give local priests immense POWER over children, parents and teachers.

Many, if not most teachers have tales to tell about being victims of such clerical power when it comes to jobs and promotions.

Let the Church and its dioceses spend their ammassed fortunes on providing social housing for homeless and struggling people.

That would be a more relavant mission today - rather than running exclusive schools for the rich or weilding and abusing power in towns and villages across the land.




As a Christian, I believe in the Christian Commandment and ideal: THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

But is that Commandment to be kept 100% ?


For instance, are we not all permitted to resist someone attacking us or our loved ones - with appropriate force - even to the point of killing if that is the only way of stopping our attacker(s).

This became a reality for me quite a number of years ago when the RUC told me that my life was in danger and an attempted attack on me took place. They put bulletproof material on my doors and windows and gave me a personal protection weapon - which thank God, I never had to use. They also brought me for training in the police firing range. As soon as The Troubles ended I was delighted to be able to hand back my weapon to the Northern Ireland Office.

Christians believe that when someone tries to kill us we have the right to resist, even if our attacker is killed - and in trying to kill us, our attacker forfeits his/her right to life.


I do not agree with the death penalty. But many Christians do - like the Christian Right in the USA.


Personally, I can never see myself opting for euthanasia for myself. If I die in bed I would hope that I might be able, with my eyes on the Crucifix, ride the bucking bronco to the end - uniting my sufferings with the sufferings of Christ on the Cross.

But only 17% of the world is Christian and some of those Christians agree with euthanasia.

As we saw on the Blog the other day, the eminent theologian, Father Hans Kung has said it is an option he might choose?

One of the most horrific deaths I have helped someone towards was a lady from Larne who died of Motor Neurone Disease. She went from being a very attractive and talented woman to being a living skeleton who eventually drowned in her own saliva.

I believe that someone like that should be allowed the option of strictly safeguarded euthanasia.

Of course, the process might be open to abuse and that's why it would have to be very strictly controlled legislation and medical practice.

Why for instance, should an atheist, who does not believe in a God or in the redemptive value of suffering (which I believe in)be forced to spend months or years in pain?

When my Mum, Jo, was dying she had had a stroke that destroyed her ability to swallow. We could not even give her a mouthful of water to quench her massive thirst.

We had a wonderful three weeks of chats. I could not bring her fruit or drinks and so I went to my local pharmacy and bought a jar of beautifully perfumed balm and gave her a gentle massage every day. I also said Mass on many occasions at the foot of her deathbed.

On the night she died I was leaving the hospital at midnight to go for a rest and one of the nurses asked me not to leave.

Just after midnight two junior female doctors went into my mother and gave her a morphine (I think) injection. A few minutes later the nurse called me and I went in and with her for her last ten minutes.

Is there, and has there not been, in medical circles, with the use of morphine etc, a hastening of death?

I think there has been.

So, like abortion, euthanasia is not a 100% absolutist position.

Between the black and the white, there is a whole lot of grey!

And above all else, I believe that Jesus does, and will understand those, who could not face the bucking bronco at the end of their lives.

Its all wonderfully summed up in Father Faber's beautiful hymn:

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Sunday, 22 October 2017


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Currently, some 10 Irish women per day take a flight or a ferry to travel to the UK to procure a termination which is not available in Ireland - with the exception of an abortion pill.

There is a very fanatical anti-abortion camp which often calls itself PRO-LIFE.

There is an equally fanatical camp which calls itself PRO-CHOICE.

I imagine that most Irish people are like myself - in the middle - and struggling with what we all realize is a very contentious issue.

I am Pro-Life - in the sense that I treasure and value ALL human life. But that does not immediately mean that I am anti Choice.

The first thing I would say is that abortion can never be called "A GOOD THING". At best, and in difficult situations, it should be called "THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS".

When a couple has to decide that they are going to save the life of the mother - and that results in the death of the unborn baby they are not doing something that calls for a celebration. In fact, in most such cases, they make the decision in great sorrow - a sorrow that can last for years or even a lifetime.

If I were a husband and my wife was pregnant and we had three other children at home needing their mother, I am quite certain that I would choose saving my wife's life and see my choice as being the lesser of two evils. It would break my heart and be the cause of lifelong regret for me. But I would believe that in an imperfect world I would have made a morally justifiable decision.

And what if I were the father of a young teenage girl who was raped and could not cope with a pregnancy and giving birth to a baby? What would I do then? Again I would choose the baby's termination as a lesser of two evils.

And what if I were married and the doctors told me that my wife and I were going to have a baby that would not survive outside the womb or would be very seriously ill and disabled all its life? Again, I think, I would allow the baby to go to God and prevent it having years and decades of pain and suffering.

I think that perhaps the situation is different when it comes to conditions like Downs Syndrome and similar conditions. I have seen such people having very meaningful and long lives and even working or getting married.

And I am not talking about these situations as if they have never affected my life.

My younger sister Sandra was born with a very serious disability called Tuberous Sclerosis. She lived until she was 39 and was in a wonderful care environment from the age of 12 to 39. She was also partially blind.


Tuberous Sclerosis left Sandra with severe brain scaring. This gave her the most severe headaches and caused her to bang her head off the wall in order to get relief. She had to go into care when she was 12 because she banged her head so much off the wall at home that she knocked a hole in the wall between two bedrooms.

She also had severe suffering involving her hormonal issues after she passed puberty - which was solved by 6 monthly contraceptive injections (against Catholic Church teaching ???)

Fortunately, her care venue was near our family home and we were able to visit many times a week. 

Sandra could talk but chose not to. I communicated with her by singing hymns to her - which she loved - singing with me and marching around the room after me. 

Her favourite was I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS which I place on the Blog today in memory of her. 

Sanda died six years ago and is buried with my Mum and Dad in Dublin. I had the privilege - and sadness - of celebrating her Funeral Mass.

Did Sandra have quality of life? Yes, she did. She had a lovely room in a lovely centre. She had all she needed physically. She was brought by her carers to the pub for a Coca Cola. She was brought on foreign holidays. She liked an occasional cigarette. 
But My God did she suffer!

Now her suffering is over.

Abortion is NOT a step to be taken lightly. It is not an appropriate form of contraception. 

It is not something that should ever be done for convenience or for less than the most serious reasons.

But I cannot say, in my heart of hearts, that it should not be allowed in the most difficult of cases.

Saturday, 21 October 2017



The repeated failure to publish annual clerical changes is having the effect of hiding how the Archdiocese of Dublin is struggling with serious manpower shortages, clergy have said. 
2017 will be the second successive year when diocesan changes have not been made public, concealing the extent to which sick and retiring clergy are not being replaced across the diocese.
Late developments in terms of priests falling ill or needing time out had affected the process, one priest told The Irish Catholic. 

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“There were three or four of those, and all you need is three or four to wreck the whole thing because it has a knock on effect,” he said, adding: “Increasingly we have an aged profile of priests in the diocese and we have guys who are starting to show serious signs of mental and physical burnout, and therefore as early as Christmas and as late as July and August, Archbishop (Diarmuid) Martin’s headache is twisting and turning constantly,” he said.
A second priest said the failure to publicise changes is obscuring how bad the diocese’s manpower shortage is.
“It’s very hard to discern what exactly is happening,” he said, adding that declining religious practice has not offset vocational shortages. “The work has increased, insofar as even if people are not coming to Mass every Sunday, or even just once or twice a year, when they die or when they want a child baptised or that sort of stuff, they still come to the parish,” he said.
While acknowledging the complexity of clerical changes, another priest described the failure to publicise changes as “irritating”, and damaging to diocesan transparency.  
“It doesn't help what all of us are trying to do is help people be aware that the changing dynamics, particularly in numbers of clergy and appointments of clergy,” he said, adding: "At the moment we don't have enough priests staffing for the appetite of the people for ministry and service.”
A fourth priest said: “I think people are not aware of how serious it is. If you go through our parishes here and look at the priests, most of them are people are semi-retired.” The diocese, he said, is “going off a cliff”.

No new students entered clerical formation from the archdiocese this year.

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1. He refuses to publish his clerical appointments and keeps them "secret"!

2. He has dismissed the Diocesan Appointments Committee which used to recommend clerical appointments to him and now does it all himself - that is when he is not travelling abroad!

3. He appears to show a favouritism towards gay priests or gay priests who have been caught with "their trousers down"!

4. He has caused great confusion over Maynooth etc and to this day Dublin clergy are unsure if Diarmuid will attempt to ordain Gorgeous next month.

Diarmuid was never close an kind to his priests in Dublin but he has withdrawn more and more from them as time has gone on.

Now that he is within a couple of years of retirement he is acting like a remote and secretive landlord and no one knows what the plan for the future is.

On top of this, there was NO SEMINARIAN for Dublin this year - a diocese with hundreds of parishes and clergy.

The priests feel that Diarmuid is trying to hide the decline and the crisis behind curtains of almost total non-transparency.

This is creating a total loss of certainty among the Dublin priests and is leading to lowering of the morale that has almost been at rock bottom for quite some time.

While Diarmuid is speaking out in the media about all kinds of issues he is allowing his own diocese to crumble.

Alongside this, he is constantly touring the world attending meetings and giving lectures to everyone else about how the world and Church should be.

It's like a having an interior designer that is going around making beautiful suggestions about other people's homes when your own home is in a state of disrepair and chaos.

There is only one answer to this crisis - DUBLIN NEEDS A NEW ARCHBISHOP - AND IT NEEDS HIM NOW!

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Friday, 20 October 2017


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Hans Küng(born March 19, 1928, Sursee, Switz.), Swiss Roman Catholic theologian whose controversial liberal views led to his censorship by the Vatican in 1979.

Küng studied at Gregorian University in Rome and obtained a doctorate in theology from the Catholic Institute at the Sorbonne in 1957. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1954, and he taught at the University of Münster in West Germany (1959–60) and at the University of Tübingen (1960–96), where he also directed the Institute for Ecumenical Research from 1963. In 1962 he was named by Pope John XXIIIperitus (theological consultant) for the second Vatican Council.

Küng’s prolific writings questioned the formulation of such traditional church doctrine as papal infallibility, the divinity of Christ, and teachings about the Virgin Mary. In 1979 a Vatican censure that banned his teaching as a Catholic theologian provoked international controversy, and in 1980 a settlement was reached at Tübingen that allowed him to teach under secular rather than Catholic auspices. His more recent research has focused on interreligious cooperation and the creation of a global ethic. His publications include Rechtfertigung: Die Lehre Karl Barths und eine Katholische Besinnung (1957; Justification: The Doctrine of Karl Barth and a Catholic Reflection), Konzil und Wiedervereinigung (1960; The Council, Reform, and Reunion), Die Kirche (1967; The Church), Unfehlbar?(1970; Infallible?), Christ sein (1974; On Being a Christian), Existiert Gott? (1978; Does God Exist?), and Ewiges Leben? (1982; Eternal Life?).


“Receive this comprehensive documentation and allow a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion in our church of the all the unresolved and suppressed questions connected with the infallibility dogma. In this way, the problematic Vatican heritage of the past 150 years could be come to terms with honestly and adjusted in accordance with holy Scripture and ecumenical tradition. It is not a case of trivial relativism that undermines the ethical foundation of church and society. But it is also not about an unmerciful, mind-numbing dogmatism, which swears by the letter, prevents thorough renewal of the church’s life and teaching, and obstructs serious progress in ecumenism. It is certainly not the case of me personally wanting to be right. The well-being of the church and of ecumenism is at stake.
“I am very well aware of the fact that my appeal to you, who ‘lives among wolves,’ as a good Vatican connoisseur recently remarked, may possibly not be opportune. In your Christmas address of Dec. 21, 2015, however, confronted with curial ailments and even scandals, you confirmed your will for reform: ‘It seems necessary to state what has been — and ever shall be — the object of sincere reflection and decisive provisions. The reform will move forward with determination, clarity and firm resolve, since Ecclesia semper reformanda.’

“I would not like to raise the hopes of many in our church unrealistically. The question of infallibility cannot be solved overnight in our church. Fortunately, you (Pope Francis) are almost 10 years younger than I am and will hopefully survive me. You will, moreover, surely understand that as a theologian at the end of his days, buoyed by deep affection for you and your pastoral work, I wanted to convey this request to you in time for a free and serious discussion of infallibility that is well-substantiated in the volume at hand: non in destructionem, sed in aedificationem ecclesiae, ‘not in order to destroy but to build up the church.’ For me personally, this would be the fulfillment of a hope I have never given up.”


It is hardly conceivable that Pope Francis would strive to define papal infallibility as Pius IX did with all the means at hand, whether good or less good, in the 19th century. It is also inconceivable that Francis would be interested in infallibly defining Marian dogmas as Pius XII did. It would, however, be far easier to imagine Pope Francis smilingly telling students, “Io non sono infallibile” — “I am not infallible” — as Pope John XXIII did in his time. When he saw how surprised the students were, John added, “I am only infallible when I speak ex cathedra, but that is something I will never do.”
I became acquainted with the subject very early in my life. Here are a few important historical dates as I personally experienced them and have faithfully documented in Volume 5 of my complete works:
1950: On Nov. 1, facing huge crowds in St. Peter’s Square and supported by numerous high church and political dignitaries, Pope Pius XII definitively proclaimed the Assumption of Mary as a dogma. “The immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” I was there in St. Peter’s Square at the time and must admit that I enthusiastically hailed the pope’s declaration.
That was the first infallible ex cathedra proclamation by the church’s senior shepherd and highest teaching authority, who had invoked the special support of the Holy Spirit, all according to the definition of papal infallibility laid down at the First Vatican Council of 1870. And it was to remain the last ex cathedra proclamation to date, as even John Paul II, who restored papal centralism and was always happy to seek publicity, did not dare to play to the gallery by proclaiming a new dogma. As it was, the 1950 dogma proclamation had been made despite protests from the Protestant and Orthodox churches and from many Catholics, who simply could not find any evidence in the Bible for this “truth of faith revealed by God.”
I remember German theology students, who were our guests in the Collegium Germanicum (German College) in Rome, discussing the problems they had with the dogma in the refectory at the time. Only a few weeks previously, an article by the then leading Germanpatrologist, Professor Berthold Althaner, a highly regarded Catholic specialist in the theology of the Church Fathers, had been published in which Althaner, listing many examples, had shown that this dogma had did not even have a historical basis in the first centuries of the early church. It goes back to a legend in an apocryphal writing from the fifth century that is brimful of miracles.
We seminarians at the German College at the time thought that the students’ “rationalist” university teachers had kept the Pontifical Gregorian University’s general perception regarding this dogma from them. The general perception at the Gregorian was that the Assumption dogma had “developed” slowly and, as it were, “organically” in the course of dogma history, but that it was already ascertained in Bible passages such as “Hail (Mary) full of grace (blessed art thou),” “the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28), and although not “explicitly” expressed, it was nevertheless “implicitly” incorporated.
1958: Pius XII’s death marked the end of a century of excessive Marian cults by the Pius popes that had begun with the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. Pius XII’s successor, JohnXXIII, was disinclined toward new dogmas. At the Second Vatican Council, in a crucial vote, the majority of the council fathers rejected a special Marian decree and in fact cautioned against exaggerated Marian piety.
1965: Chapter III of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church is devoted to the hierarchy but, oddly enough, Paragraph 25, which is on infallibility, in no way actually goes into it. What is all the more surprising is that in actual fact the Second Vatican Council took a fatal step. Without giving reasons, it expressly extended infallibility, which was confined to the pope alone at the First Vatican Council, to the episcopacy. The council attributed infallibility not only to the assembled episcopacy at an ecumenical council (magisterium extraordinarium), but from then on also to the world episcopacy (magisterium ordinarium), that is, to bishops all over the world if they were agreed and decreed that a church teaching on faith or morals should permanently become mandatory.
1968: the year the encyclical Humanae Vitae on birth control was published. That the encyclical was released on July 25 of all times, which was not only during the summer holidays but, on top of that, in the middle of the Czechoslovak people’s fight for freedom, is generally interpreted as Roman tactics so that there would be less opposition to it. Perhaps, however, it was quite simply because work on this sensitive document had only just been finished. Whatever the reason for the timing, the encyclical hit the world “like a bomb.” The pope had obviously greatly underestimated the resistance to this teaching. Isolated as he was in the Vatican, he had not envisaged that the world public would react quite so negatively.
The encyclical Humanae Vitae, which not only forbade as grave sins the pill and all mechanical means of contraception but also the withdrawal method to avoid pregnancy, was universally regarded as an incredible challenge. Invoking the infallibility of papal, respectively episcopal teaching, the pope pitted himself against the entire civilized world. This alarmed me as a Catholic theologian. I had by then been professor of theology at the Catholic theological faculty of Tübingen University for eight years. Of course, formal protests and substantive objections were important, but had the time not now come to examine this claim to the infallibility of papal teaching in principle? I was convinced that theology — or, to be more precise, critical fundamental theological research — was called for. In 1970, I put the subject up for discussion in my book Infallible?: An Inquiry. I could not have foreseen at the time that this book and with it the problem of infallibility would crucially affect my personal destiny and would present theology and the church with key challenges. In the 1970s, my life and my work were more than ever intertwined with theology and the church.
1979-80: the withdrawal of my license to teach. In Volume 2 of my memoirs, Disputed Truth, I have described in detail how this was a secret campaign carried out with military precision, which has proved to be theologically unfounded and politically counterproductive. At the time, the debate about the withdrawal of my missio canonica and infallibility continued for a long time. It proved impossible to harm my standing with believers, however, and as I had prophesied, the controversies regarding large-scale church reform have not ceased. On the contrary, during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI they increased on a massive scale. That was when I went into the necessity of promoting understanding between the different denominations, of mutual recognition of church offices and celebrating the Lord’s Supper, the question of divorce, of women’s ordination, mandatory celibacy and the catastrophic lack of priests, but above all of the leadership of the Catholic church. My question was: “Where are you leading this church of ours?”
These questions are as relevant today as they were then. The decisive reason for this incapacity for reform at all levels is still the doctrine of infallibility of church teaching, which has bequeathed a long winter on our Catholic church. Like John XXIII, Francis is doing his utmost to blow fresh wind into the church today and is meeting with massive opposition as at the last episcopal synod in October 2015. But, make no mistake, without a constructive “re-vision” of the infallibility dogma, real renewal will hardly be possible.
What is all the more astonishing is that the discussion (of infallibility) has disappeared from the scene. Many Catholic theologians have no longer critically examined the infallibility ideology for fear of ominous sanctions as in my case, and the hierarchy tries as far as possible to avoid the subject, which is unpopular in the church and in society. When he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger only expressly referred to it very few times. Despite the fact that it was left unsaid, the taboo of infallibility has blocked all reforms since the Second Vatican Council that would have required revising previous dogmatic definitions. That not only applies to the encyclical Humanae Vitae against contraception, but also to the sacraments and monopolized “authentic” church teaching, to the relationship between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of all the faithful. And it applies likewise to a synodal church structure and the claim to absolute papal power, the relationship to other denominations and religions, and to the secular world in general. That is why the following question is more urgent than ever: Where is the church — which is still fixated on the infallibility dogma — heading at the beginning of the third millennium? The anti-modernist epoch that rang in the First Vatican Council has ended.
2016: I am in my 88th year and I may say that I have spared no effort to collect the relevant texts, order them factually and chronologically according to the various phases of the altercation and elucidate them by putting them in a biographical context for Volume 5 of my complete works. With this book in my hand, I would now like to repeat an appeal to the pope that I repeatedly made in vain several times during the decade long theological and church-political altercation. I beg of Pope Francis — who has always replied to me in a brotherly manner:

“Receive this comprehensive documentation and allow a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion in our church of the all the unresolved and suppressed questions connected with the infallibility dogma. In this way, the problematic Vatican heritage of the past 150 years could be come to terms with honestly and adjusted in accordance with holy Scripture and ecumenical tradition. It is not a case of trivial relativism that undermines the ethical foundation of church and society. But it is also not about an unmerciful, mind-numbing dogmatism, which swears by the letter, prevents thorough renewal of the church’s life and teaching, and obstructs serious progress in ecumenism. It is certainly not the case of me personally wanting to be right. The well-being of the church and of ecumenism is at stake.


FATHER HANS KUNG has a brilliant mind and he is one of the greatest theologians of the 20th and 21st centuries.

He is of course, controversial - because he has talked about things that many do not like to talk about and because he believes EVERYTHING is up for discussion.

Theologians are not infallible and I am quite sure Kung knows he is not infallible either.

One of the duties of the theologian is to PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF FAITH and by doing so to bring us all to a greater understanding of God.

It is NOT the theologian's duty to pontificate or to declare anything to be dogmatically true.

But it is his duty - his vocation - to make us all THINK.

Defining doctrine is the job of THE CHURCH - that is the WHOLE PEOPLE OF GOD - coming to believe something to be true and to have it declared true by the MAGISTERIUM - that part of the Church that TEACHES what is "of faith".

However, the "magisterium" - the bishops and the pope - have often been guilty of arrogance and of usurping the VOICE OF ALL and have proclaimed things that are not vital to the faith and that are not necessarily universally believed.


The radical theologian - such as Kung - reminds the TAIL that it is NOT THE DOG and asks that the dog wag the tail.

For this reason, there has often been a clash between the theologian and the hierarchy - as happened in the Kung case.

Kung has suffered a GREAT INJUSTICE by being sidelined by men who are like intellectual mice beside the Kung Lion.

There should be freedom of speech everywhere but especially in the CHURCH OF CHRIST.

THE TRUTH is primary GOD HIMSELF - and we move towards the truth when all God's children have a voice.

History will judge Kung to have been a GREAT THEOLOGIAN and those who opposed him and attacked him to be intellectual mice!