Fr. Hans Küng and ex Jesuit priest Michael Walsh have descended to name calling, describing the pontificate of Pope Benedict a ‘dictatorship’ and the Holy Father himself a ‘dictator’ for defending the Church from fifty years of disastrous disobedience and dissent.
‘Küng compares Catholic Church with totalitarian systems.The theologian and papal critic Hans Küng sees the Catholic Church as an apparatus of power, which throughout the world has more and more parallels dictatorships.
With the help of informers and surveillance, bishops are tamed , a dissenting opinion not being allowed.
If the Catholics wanted to actually accomplish changes in the church, they should have the courage to stand up to the official church, Kung said. ”Bishops are not due any obedience, when they themselves are disobedient to the Gospel, when they make the laws governing the welfare of the church congregations and parish priests,” said Kung. The Vatican withdrew from the theologian his license as a Catholic professor in 1979 because of his persistent criticism of the Pope.
In the UK former Jesuit priest Michael Walsh, and once Librarian of Heythrop College and editor of The Heythrop Journal, echoed Fr Hans Küng’s attack on Pope Benedict in this weeks Tablet. Michael Walsh writes:
‘Your headline, “Pope wants less dissent in universities” (The Church in the World, 12 May), struck me as being a little in the “Small earthquake in Chile” category. What would one expect? The present Vatican regime, despite the obviously incompetent and dysfunctional administration, is a dictatorship. It has not always been thus, but it is now. Whether the Pope is a benevolent dictator or not rather depends on one’s point of view, but a dictator is what he is. That constitutes the current church polity ever since all those pesky vestiges, such as they were, of a more democratic institution have been purged away. And what do dictatorial regimes do when they are challenged? They lash out at all possible challengers to their power base, as we have seen across North Africa and the Middle East.
The Church has been here before, more often than is good for it. It has an endemic problem of coming to terms with the modern world: think Humani Generis, the modernist crisis, the “Syllabus of Errors”, Mirari Vos. But for some reason, the powers that be fail to learn the lessons of history, and consequently repeat the same mistakes. Eventually, of course, the Church adapts to the world about it. It has to do so, if it is to remaina world-affirming institution and not decline into a sect. The pity is that, in the meantime, so many holy and intelligent people get trampled on. Michael J. Walsh
Protect the Pope comment: Self-described Catholics often seek to present themselves as the true defenders of Vatican II. So Protect the Pope would remind them of Lumen Gentium paragraph 14:
‘They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.”(12*) All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.’