Hans Kung, Author, John Bowden, John, Translator THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: A Short History

The latest volume in the Modern Library Chronicles series looks at the history of the world's largest Christian body through the eyes of a theologian whom most Catholics regard as either a beloved reformer or an annoying dissident. Küng, a Swiss priest, was disciplined by the church in 1979 and prohibited from teaching as a Catholic theologian. Through a 1980 agreement with the Vatican, he is now permitted to teach, but only under secular auspices. In his compressed history of the church that traces its roots to Jesus Christ and the Apostle Peter, Küng continues to ply his trade in controversy. Woven through his mostly readable account is a consistent call for the abolition of the doctrine of papal infallibility, one of the stances that got him into trouble with church authorities two decades ago. Küng also uses his book to criticize the church's present efforts to safeguard its teachings through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His 1979 censure, he says, was a "personal experience of the Inquisition," yet he claims to remain faithful to the church in what he calls "critical loyalty." In concluding statements about the future, Küng says the church must open all ministries to women (although the current pope has quashed discussion of women's ordination) and be more open ecumenically. Church progressives will warmly embrace Küng's version of Catholic history, which is sure to be dismissed by loyalists. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/09/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-307-43202-5
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-8129-6762-3
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