Hans Küng, the priest and Swiss theologian, has written an appeal to Pope Francis to permit a debate about Papal infallibility. The text is being released simultaneously by the National Catholic Reporter and The Tablet.
The fifth volume of his complete works, titled Infallibility, has become available from its German publishing house. In connection with the release of Infallibility, Fr Küng has written the following “urgent appeal to Pope Francis to permit an open and impartial discussion on infallibility of pope and bishops.”
"It is hardly conceivable that Pope Francis would strive to define papal infallibility as Pius IX did by all means necessary, 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.”
Fr Küng said, "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 1 November, 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."
Photo: Theologian Fr Hans Küng in 2008 (CNS)