‘Crisis of leadership’ in church, says dissident theologian Küng

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DISSIDENT CATHOLIC Church theologian Hans Küng says the church’s failure to deal with global clerical sex abuse is proof that it is suffering a “crisis of leadership”.

Küng (83), for many years an outspoken critic of the Holy See, makes the criticism in his most recent book, Ist Die Kirche Noch Zu Retten? (Can The Church Still Be Saved?), published this year but recently released in Italian.

Küng draws a correlation between celibacy and paedophilia. In yesterday’s Rome daily La Repubblica, Küng states: “People are always trying to deny the correlation between the abuse of minors by priests and the ruling on priestly celibacy but in the end you cannot avoid it.” He argues that priestly celibacy might well have kept women out of “all church ministery”, but in the process it [the church] has accentuated the “risk of paedophilia”. As part of the way forward, Küng calls on the church to embrace the ordination of women, thus advancing “equal dignity with men”.

He refers to the church as “truly sick”, adding that the cause of that malady is the “system of Rome government” that has evolved in the last millennium. “The defining traits are . . . the monopoly of power and truth, clericalism, juridicalism, misogyny, a hatred of sex and a profane use of the power of religion. The papacy is not to be abolished, rather it needs to be renewed so that it becomes a Petrine service based on the Bible. What does have to be abolished, however, is the . . . mediaeval-style Rome government.”

Küng says he would not have written his most recent book if Pope Benedict indicated how the church should develop “in the spirit of Vatican Council II”. But he argues that the pontiff has preserved with the politics of restoration initiated by his predecessor John Paul II.

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