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Citizens for Global Solutions: “Hans Kung: Towards a Global Ethic”

By René Wadlow

Hans Kung was a Swiss Roman Catholic theologian who died on 6 April 2021 at the age of 93. He always stressed the Swiss aspect of his life, its democratic traditions, and the need to discuss widely before making a decision. He wrote his doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne University in Paris on the Swiss Protestant theologian Karl Barth (1886 – 1968) who spent most of his teaching life at Bale University.

Kung always hoped that some of the democratic spirit would enter the Roman Catholic Church, and he had high hopes at the time of the Vatican II conference which brought some reforms to Church administration. Kung also saw Vatican II as a time when Catholic thinkers such as Pierre Teihard de Chardin (1881-1955) and Henri de Lubac (1896-1991) who had been marginalized were again being read. However, the conservative forces within the Church and especially within the Vatican itself regained influence. The more liberal voices were less heard, and in some cases were driven out of the Church itself.

Seeking Similar Themes Within Different Religions

Thus from the early 1980s Kung turned his attention to other religions. He wrote a book on Judaism and another on Islam. Then he turned his attention to the religions of Asia, looking for common themes that could provide a bridge.

[The rest of this piece can be read on the Citizens for Global Solutions website.]

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