The influential and controversial Swiss theologian Hans Küng died on Tuesday at the age of 93.
The official website of the German Catholic Church reported that Küng died on the afternoon of April 6 at his home in Tübingen, west Germany.
Küng served as a theological adviser at the Second Vatican Council and clashed with Rome many times in the following years.
Tensions culminated with the declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1979 that Küng “departed from the integral truth of the Catholic faith and thus can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian, nor can he perform a teaching function as such.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith then cited his views on the doctrine of infallibility, as expressed in his 1971 book “Infallible? An Inquiry” as one of the reasons for the limitations.
From the 1990s, Küng was an advocate of the idea of ”global ethics” emphasizing shared ethical values in major world religions.
In tribute to the theologian on April 6, Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, said: “With the death of Prof. Dr. Hans Küng, the theological community has lost a recognized and controversial researcher.”
“In his work as a priest and scholar, Hans Küng tried to make the message of the Gospel understandable and give it a place in the lives of the faithful,” said the controversial German bishop, known for his calls to change the Church’s teaching, especially in the field of ethics.
“I am thinking in particular of his efforts in living ecumenism, his commitment to interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and the Global Ethic Foundation he founded, which carries out important research and projects on peace, justice and the integrity of creation,” said Bishop Batzing.
“Hans Küng never failed to defend his convictions. Even if there were tensions and conflicts in this regard, I expressly thank him in this hour of farewell for his many years of commitment as a Catholic theologian in preaching the Gospel,” continued Bishop Batzing.
“The dialogue of religions in the pursuit of global ethics was a great concern for him. Hans Küng was deeply influenced by the Second Vatican Council, whose theological acceptance he was trying to achieve,” concluded Batzing.
Hans Kung never regained his canonical mission, but Pope Benedict XVI met with his former Vatican collaborator.