The Tablet insults Pope Emeritus Benedict and threatens Pope Francis

This week’s issue of The Tablet reaches a new low in its two month campaign to mock Pope Emeritus Benedict at every opportunity, but the editor has decided to add a new twist by publishing Fr Hans Kung’s threat to lead a ‘Time of Outrage’ if Pope Francis doesn’t measure up to Kung’s  twisted version of Vatican II reforms.

The Tablet continues to mock Pope Emeritus Benedict  through its journalists and contributors spiteful speculations about why the Holy Father resigned, as they adamantly refuse to accept his own explanation, confirmed by film and the testimony of colleagues, that the frailty of old age made it impossible for him to fulfill the responsibilities of the petrine office.

The editorial speculates:

‘This evidence of disarray at the top was becoming characteristic of the Curia under the pontificate of Benedict XVI, which may have been one of the reasons why he felt he was no longer able to carry on. But it does point to a broader issue.’

Conor Gearty, well known for his animus against Benedict XVI, continues to attack him through the pages of The Tablet by adding his own barbed speculations about why he resigned:

‘But things have become, suddenly, much more interesting. None of us can tell why Pope Benedict so dramatically threw in the towel. Perhaps he felt his evangelisation of Europe had failed. Civil society – many Catholics among them – heard what he said, and promptly rejected it, not in the grip of some evil torment, but knowingly and in a thoughtful manner, reasoning back to Pope Benedict with a different kind of logic.’ (p. 15).

The Tablet’s publication of Hans Kung’s article ‘Don’t let spring turn to winter’ signals the first sign that they are having doubts about their wishful  - some would say ‘deluded’ – hopes that Pope Francis is going to break with Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.  After praising  the popular demonstrations of Pope Francis’ evangelical simplicity, Kung goes on to issue his threat to the new Holy Father:

‘We should then in no way fall into resigned acceptance. Instead, faced with a lack of impulse towards reform from the hierarchy, we must take the offensive, pressing for reform from the bottom up. If Pope Francis tackles reforms, he will find he has the wide approval of people far beyond the Catholic Church. However, if he allows things to continue as they are, without clearing the log-jam of reforms now in progress, such as that of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, then the call of “Time for outrage! Indignezvous!” will ring out more and more in the Catholic Church, provoking reforms from the bottom up. These would be implemented without the approval of the hierarchy and  frequently even in spite of the hierarchy’s attempts at circumvention. In the worst  case – as I wrote before the recent papal election – the Catholic Church will experience a new Ice Age instead of a spring and will run the risk of dwindling into a barely relevant large sect.’

Protect the Pope comment: In Hans Kung and Tablet speak ‘reform’ is the code word for the secularization of the Church, which includes abandoning the moral doctrines of the Church on divorce, contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia.  Simply put, The Tablet would like nothing better than to see the Church ditch Humanae Vitae, Dominus Jesus, Homosexualitatis problema, and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, just to name a few.  The Hans Kung article is the first indication that The Tablet realises that under Pope Francis this isn’t going to happen.



17 comments to The Tablet insults Pope Emeritus Benedict and threatens Pope Francis

  • Paul Smyth

    When will the Bishops of England and Wales ban this pernicious rag from their Churches?

    If not, why not?

  • Mark Thorne

    I’m not really sure how seriously anyone can take Hans Kung, but he clearly still commands enough respect from the Editorial office of The Tablet (and its readership) to be given column space such as this. You could have mentioned Evangelium Vitae among the list of those Vatican documents which declare the truth of the faith so succinctly and beautifully that the Tablet would like to see ditched. If the “reforms from the bottom up ” that Prof. Kung proposes means that these dissenters will finally leave the Catholic Church, I’d be all in favour of it – this would be a cause for genuine celebration. Too many people are “catholic” simply based on the canonical definition of the word – their minds (and their hearts) are far removed from a true sense of communion and friendship with Jesus Christ, sadly.

  • Delia

    The archbishop of Cologne said that he’d been against Pope Benedict’s abdication, but his reservations all melted away when he saw him in March – he said the Pope Emeritus had literally halved in size since he’d last seen him.

  • Andrzej

    “…reasoning back to Pope Benedict with a different kind of logic”

    Logic of the world, perhaps?

    I’ll go with the logic of the Gospels instead, thank you.

  • Augustine

    It should be well known by anyone with even a passing acquaintance of the Catholic Church that Hans Kung disagrees profoundly with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council – especially The Dogmatic Constitution on The Church (aka Lumen Gentium) which states in paragraph 25:

    “Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful for their part are obliged to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in the name of Christ, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind.

    This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given in a special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra.”

  • Augustine

    As a result of Dr Kung’s persistent rejection of key Catholic teachings, the Vatican Congregation for Doctrine and the Faith (aka CDF) withdrew his ecclesiastical mandate to teach as a Professor of Catholic Theology on December 15, 1979. (This was done when Cardinal Franjo Šeper was the Prefect and when the-then Cardinal Ratzinger was still Archbishop of Munich.)

    Shortly afterwards, the German Bishops published the letters exchanged between Dr Kung and both the CDF and the German Bishops’ Conference – beginning in 1968 until 1979.

  • E Hardman

    I simply cannot understand why this publication is still available in parishes. I would suggest a “time for outrage” against the Tablet and just stop selling it. Surely encouraging the faithful to participate in acts of disobedience against the hierarchy is reason enough to remove it from Catholic outlets.

  • Augustine

    In 1970 the letters exchanged between Dr Kung and the CDF and the German Bishops’ Conference were translated into English and published by the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference in a book of 200+ pages.

    At the end of this book Archbishop John R Quinn wrote:

    “Father Kung’s rights have not been violated. Rather, the magisterium of the Church has exercised its right and duty to make clear what is and is not consistent with Catholic teaching. In doing so, it has performed one of the essential services for which it exists.

    I am proud of my Church.”

  • comte de Frebonius


  • BJC

    Another series of “I’m the (liberal) boss” articles from the Tablet. Truly irony is not dead.

    I work with two committed protestants (good chaps I have to say) one an evangelical Anglican, another who goes to his own church of something or other and both were amazed when I told them Hans Kung was a Catholic. They had heard all about him and assumed he was a protestant. One is a teacher of Philosophy and Religion. At least they are honest about what they believe but Hans Kung just seems to live a lie. It might be time to re-read this by George Weigel.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Is the teaching of Hans Kung infallible or can we wth great respect dissent from it ?

  • Rifleman819

    Hans Kung is a sad, bitter and egotistical man.

    He has finally however achieved his aim -to be Pope.

    Pope of the One Holy and Egomunical Church.

    Membership: One

  • peter

    Fr Kung has never been excommunicated from the catholic church and is still a priest in good standing. Many people disagree with him but the opposite is also true, many catholics read his books and recognise him as an important theologian. His work leading up to the Council is widely accepted as brilliant and his time as an expert during the Council was welcomed by most – but not all. Most people who criticise Hans Kung have never read his work. The CDF criticised his work on papal infallibility. His trilogy on God is well worth reading – especially On Being a Christian. OBC has been criticised by the German Bishop’s for what Kung left out from the work, which I partially agree with. OBC is not a full representation of the Catholic faith, but it was never meant to be a full representation. It was an introduction to catholicism and in my opinion it does that well but should be read alongside other texts. I think Joseph Ratzinger’s book ‘Introduction to Christianity’ is a fine accompaniment as well as Walter Kasper’s ‘Jesus the Christ’ or Edward Schillebeeckx ‘Jesus: an experiment in theology.

    Hans Kung is a fine theologian who has his faults (Yves Congar was wary of him) but not a great theologian in my opinion, but to dismiss him out of hand is nonsensical.

    And to those who write personalised attacks against Kung should remember the words of John 23 opening speech to the Council ‘Nowadays however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity’ and Paul 6 in his closing remarks at the same Council ‘ The old story of the Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the council’.

    Yes, disagree with Hans Kung, but surely in the spirit of compassion and mercy.

  • Ronald Crane

    The Tablet is indeed a “pernicious rag” and I doubt carries much weight with most faithful, regular Sunday and weekday, Mass attending Catholics in the UK. However, the BBC is besotted with it. Over and again, those associated with the Tablet are trotted out by the BBC as the “voice of the Catholic Church”. This is because they both share the same goal, the destruction of the Catholic Church as she is.

  • Lionel (Paris)

    Joly good! It means that both Popes can be trusted…
    If the devil dislikes them, it is a good sign…
    Union de prière LD

  • Pul

    I was exploring a vocation to permanent deaconate in southwark diocese……….there is no way i can submit to a man (bishop) who has less courage and honour than me… Elephant in the room? Whats a matter with some people….where the elephant gun.

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