Non è possibile in poche righe ricostruire alla sua statura la figura di Hans Küng. Già altri lo hanno fatto. Insieme agli altri fondatori avremo la possibilità di riprendere la loro memoria e la loro eredità. Ci è sufficiente qui dare eco alla reazione di alcuni di noi alla notizia della sua morte.
L’ho incontrato personalmente la prima volta nell’ottobre del 1962. A quel tempo, studiavo teologia alla Gregoriana e vivevo al Collegio Pio Brasiliano, in via Aurelia, non lontano dalla Domus Marine dove risiedevano I vescovi brasiliani durante il Vaticano II. Più tardi, abbiamo insieme lavorato per breve tempo nel Board of Directors di Concilium. Küng aveva allora 34 anni. Il 27 ottobre 1962, tenne una conferenza sullo schema liturgico all’episcopato brasiliano, circa 179 vescovi. Due giorni dopo parlò di concilio ed ecumenismo. Fede una profonda impressione per la sua freschezza teologica, per la sua libertà di pensiero e di parola, per l’entusiasmo e la speranza riposti nell’opera del concilio. Ho raccolto l’impressione di Dom Helder Camara, vescovo ausiliare di Rio de Janeiro e segretario generale del CNBB (Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil), sulle conferenze e i testi di Küng. Ne fece memoria nelle lettere che scriveva ogni giorno, durante il concilio, alla sua famiglia spirituale a Rio de Janeiro.
José Oscar Beozzo
La memoria di Hans Küng è per gli amici di Concilium indelebile. Testimone della libertà del pensiero teologico al servizio del vangelo, egli è rimasto coerente per tutta la sua vita, sempre in dialogo con i colleghi evangelici (Karl Barth!) e gli esponenti delle altre religioni. Con l’augurio che Concilium sappia riprendere la sua eredità
I am grateful for what I learned from him and pray that as he was born on March 19, St. Joseph of Nazareth, the Husband of the Theotokos, gave him a very special, protecting hand in his passing to the Lord.
Friends in Concilium, Küng and Pannikar have been courageous prophets in inter-faith action for the sake of justice and peace. Will always remember them in how they interacted with all of us present at the Parliament-Assembly of World Religions in Montserrat, Barcelona (2004). Thank God for their lives.
I remember Küng from Concilium going back to the 1990’s or even before. He was very energetic, a charismatic personality, definite in his viewpoints, not afraid to be a troublemaker, and not willing to phrase his theology in more “careful” or “diplomatic” terms, just to evade the ire of his adversaries, even those highly placed in the institutional church. In fact, he relished the contest! He brought religions together, taking initiatives and going even beyond Vatican II, Nostra Aetate, etc. He was a man of courage and a prophet–he was a person to be respected. All that said, many of his ideas are now “mainstream”–a testimony to his influence and to his being ahead of his time!
Lisa Sowle Cahill
I had the privilege to be his student 1974-1977 in Tübingen when there was the hot debate about his book “Christ sein”. We students managed to have a seminar session with him and Walter Kasper, who, with his book “Jesus der Christus” was Küng’s antipode at the time. It was impressive to see that Kueng did never give up after his removal from a chair of catholic theology and founded the wonderful foundation “Weltethos”.
When I came to Tübingen in 1982, he already resided in the Ecumenical Institute. He was one major reason that I wanted to study theology, and that I went to Tübingen. He offered the only English-speaking seminar, or more of a conversation, every fortnight, and gosh was I intimidated when I just went there as an undergrad student who knew nothing, just followed her interest. Küng, however, liked it that way: the conversations were open to anybody. A memory of the atmosphere of theology in the early 1980s in Germany: I remember Küng clashing with Norbert Greinacher and some liberation theologians at Church Fair (Kirchentag) in the early 1980s. Compared to others, especially Johann Baptist Metz, I thought Küng was a much more conservative theologian, and he said so, proudly claiming that his dogmatics had the best arguments on its side. He cared so much about his church. Little did I know that at least the center of its power in Rome would not return the love he offered. No feminist theology in Tübingen without the women theologians at Küng ‘s Ecumenical Institute. More advanced students would tell me when I was ready to give up on Catholic theology: go there, you’ll find some women there. As if they were hiding at Küng’s place. But maybe that was true in Germany: perhaps they were not hiding, but certainly they were hidden from theology. Not so in Küng’s Institute. No theology and literature in Tübingen without the Ecumenical Institute (Küng and Walter Jens in conversation: a highlight of the University life for years). K.J. Kuschel took on the task of pursuing this field, although … we, the students of Dietmar Mieth (and German literature, of course), often clashed with the theological focus of the study of literature “there,” at Küng’s place. No dialogue among the religions in Tübingen without Küng and the Global Ethos Project, though always rather “from above” and rarely in communication with the discipline of ethics. What a deal for the city, however: Küng would call, the leaders of the world would respond. Among them one I will never forget: Kofi Annan.
I had the memory of the meetings with Alberigo and later, after 2007, with Pier Cesare Bori on the Una via. I am quite disturbed with the representation of prof. Küng as “the rebel”: he was part of a generation which was capable to deal with the difficult issues and brave enough to manage the asperity of new paths. We owe very much to him and we see the distance from the present generation.
Hans Küng was decisive at the beginning of my studies of theology with his book “The Church” and later with his other book “Being a Christian”. These books created a basis for supporting other discussions in Ecclesiology and Christology. In addition to its brilliant and journalistic language without losing content. I’m very grateful.
Luiz Carlos Susin