Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Hans Küng

Swiss Theologian, Author, Dissident Catholic Priest

"Self-realization is the meaning of life. We are here to realize ourselves in order to become true human beings. But I add from my own experience: My own self-realization must fail if it disregards the self-realization of others. My realization and other’s realizations are meaningful only if they are borne and determined by something that is more than we ourselves: Self-Realization rooted in the reality of God Himself."

"All historical experience demonstrates the following: Our earth cannot be changed unless in the not too distant future an alteration in the consciousness of individuals is achieved. "

"Time and again we see leaders and members of religions incite aggression, fanaticism, hate, and xenophobia - even inspire and legitimate violent and bloody conflicts. "

"Religion often is misused for purely power-political goals, including war. "

"We are convinced of the fundamental unity of the human family. "

"People of all religions know far too little about one another; above all, they know far too little about what all religious and ethical traditions have in common."

"No peace among the nations without peace among the religions; No peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions; No dialogue between the religions without global ethical standards; and no survival of our globe without a global ethic."

"At the same time we are aware that our various religions and ethical traditions often offer very different bases for what is helpful and what is unhelpful for men and women, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil."

"If God truly is the Absolute, then he is all these in one: Nirvana, insofar as he is the goal of the path of liberation; Dharma, insofar as he is described as the law of the cosmos and humanity; Emptiness, insofar as he constantly escapes all affirmative specifications; Primordial Buddha, insofar as he is the origin of all that is. Could one not, after all the explanations of emptiness, nirvana and dharmakaya in comparison with the Christian understanding of the Absolute, despite all the divergences, also speak of convergence between Christianity and Buddhism?"

"It is not enough for the whole oikoumene, both Rome and the World Council of Churches, to address fine speeches to the `outer world,’ to society at large, and `inside’ between the Churches, merely to set up everlasting mixed commissions, arrange polite mutual visits, indulge in endless academic dialogue without practical consequences. There must be genuine, increasing integration of the different Churches."

"After two world wars, the collapse of fascism, Nazism, communism and colonialism and the end of the cold war, humanity has entered a new phase of its history."

"As a matter of fact, you have deficiencies in all religions, but you have truth in all religions."

"Does not simply contain God's word: it becomes God's word for anyone who submits trustfully and in faith to its testimony."

"But we must wait and see, for experience shows that the papacy in the Catholic Church today is such a challenge that it can change anyone."

"A human person is infinitely precious and must be unconditionally protected."

"But I have to add - and this answers your other question - this catholicity in time and in space is only meaningful for me if there is, at the same time, a concentration on the Gospel."

"Even manifestly senseless suffering and death can have a meaning, can acquire a meaning. a hidden meaning."

"Everyone agrees the celibacy rule is just a Church law dating from the 11th century, not a divine command."

"Hundreds of millions of human beings on our planet increasingly suffer from unemployment, poverty, hunger, and the destruction of their families."

"Humanity today possesses sufficient economic, cultural and spiritual resources to introduce a better global order."

"However, if the religions in essence merely repeat statements from the United Nations Human Rights Declaration, such a Declaration becomes superfluous; an ethic is more than rights."

"Historical arguments; traditional apologetics breaks down here. Since man is here dealing with God and this by definition means with the invisible, impalpable, uncontrollable, only one attitude is appropriate and required: believing trust, trusting faith."

"If you cannot see that divinity includes male and female characteristics and at the same time transcends them, you have bad consequences. Rome and Cardinal O'Connor base the exclusion of women priests on the idea that God is the Father and Jesus is His Son, there were only male disciples, etc. They are defending a patriarchal Church with a patriarchal God. We must fight the patriarchal misunderstanding of God."

"It considers this Jesus as ultimately decisive, definitive, archetypal for man in these various dimensions of his."

"I am sure that this will be seen in the Catholic world, and even more than that, as a hopeful sign because it shows that he [Benedict] has more positive intentions than maybe what was seen at the beginning."

"If priests were allowed to marry, if this would be an optional thing, and if he could have wife and children, he would certainly have less temptation to satisfy certain sexual impulses with minors."

"I like the catholicity in time: our tradition is one of 2,000 years."

"I remember the Curia said, ?that's up to the American bishops, not up to Rome.?"

"That is the Roman way: to give favors to the favorites."

"Second, we also got a more authentic liturgy of the people of God, in the vernacular language."

"It is an absolutely unique success of the church community to have introduced such an epoch-making change, in just a few years, without having a serious division."

"That means that every human being - without distinction of sex, age, race, skin color, language, religion, political view, or national or social origin - possesses an inalienable and untouchable dignity."

"The Epistle to the Romans is an extremely important synthesis of the whole theology of St. Paul."

"The election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as pope is an enormous disappointment for all those who hoped for a reformist and pastoral pope... But we must wait and see, for experience shows that the papacy in the Catholic Church today is such a challenge that it can change anyone: Someone who went into the conclave a progressive cardinal can emerge as a conservative pope... Someone who went into the conclave a conservative cardinal can emerge as a progressive pope."

"The Gospel has to be the norm."

"The Pope would have an easier job than the President of the United States in adopting a change of course. He has no Congress alongside him as a legislative body nor a Supreme Court as a judiciary. He is absolute head of government, legislator and supreme judge in the church. If he wanted to, he could authorize contraception overnight, permit the marriage of priests, make possible the ordination of women and allow Eucharistic fellowship with this Protestant churches. What would a Pope do who acted in the spirit of Obama?"

"To be no more than scholarly reflection on its object from one particular standpoint, which is anyway one legitimate standpoint among others."

"There's no use casting doubt on (scientific) results with some little problems, as the intelligent-design people or the creationists do. What's there is there. A theologian should not cast doubt on a scientific consensus, but see how he can deal with it."

"Up to now, the worst fears have not been realized. He has found another style."

"We are conscious that religions cannot solve the economic, political and social problems of this earth."