Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hans Kung On The Pope's Responsibility

For those of you who don't know, Hans Kung is a priest and theologian who was stripped of his Catholic teaching authority after he took issue with and denied the notion that papal infallibility was ordained by God. He was not deprived of his priestly functions and he did not give up his priestly life. He did continue to teach. The National Catholic Reporter has published an article by Kung that addresses the Pope's responsibility in this mess about sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

The issue of mandatory celibacy as a driver of sexual abuse seems a bit over the top to me, although I believe the requirement has provided cover for those who are sexually immature or have other issues. Fr. Kung's wrote a separate article on the subject, and I concede that he makes a compelling argument. One of things he points out is that a married priesthood was the norm up to the 11th century. Mandatory celibacy is a manmade law and thus can be repealed if the Church chooses to do so.

Fr. Kung also refers to the Church's uptight approach to sexuality, something that is becoming very clear as this issue unfolds.

It is possible that this issue may indeed force the Church to revisit its stance on human sexuality, at least in terms of a celibate priesthood. Expecting any more than that may be a mistake, but it would at least be a start.

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