Hilary White

Hans Kung, renowned dissident theologian, considering suicide for Parkinson’s

Hilary White
Hilary White

October 3, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – German theology professor Hans Kung has written that he is considering committing suicide because of his age and his fears of illness. In comments in the third volume of his memoirs, Kung, 85, says that Parkinson’s and macular degeneration, a prelude to loss of vision, has prompted him to consider suicide.

“I don’t want to continue exist as a shadow of myself,” wrote Kung, a priest who famously had his authority to teach Catholic theology stripped by the Vatican due to his heterodox views. The comments were published as part of a preview of the book released Tuesday by his German Publisher, Piper Verlag. 

"I also don't want to be sent off to a nursing home ... If I have to decide myself, please abide by my wish," he said, indicating that he is considering ending his life with the help of the Swiss “Dignitas” euthanasia facility. “I’m not tired of life, but tired of living.” 

"No person is obligated to suffer the unbearable as something sent from God," he wrote. "People can decide this for themselves and no priest, doctor or judge can stop them." 

Der Spiegel said that he “indicated” that “the staging of his death might be a last protest of the official Church.” 

Anthony Ozimic, communications manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told LifeSiteNews.com that the pro-life community around the world needs to make it clear that Kung’s life is as precious as all other human lives, born and unborn, and that he does not have a right to take his own life.  

“It is not too late for Kung to see the light of the Gospel of Life, as the testimony of many repentant former abortionists will attest,” Ozimic said. 

Ozimic, whose own postgraduate academic work is on the effects on western society’s moral life of legalised abortion, added, “It is one of the tragedies of modern Church history that Hans Kung did not become a great defender of life as his fellow peritus [theological advisor] at the Second Vatican Council, Joseph Ratzinger.” 

In the late 1960s, unlike Ratzinger, Kung failed to grasp that the “Western cultural revolution was an anarchic rebellion against the principles which safeguard civilisation,” Ozimic said. 

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“Voluntary self-destruction is also a form of rebellion against such principles,” Ozimic said. 

Kung has become a star of the global leftist conference scene and with the secular media by his persistent and vocal denial of certain key Catholic doctrines, including abortion, contraception, homosexuality and papal infallibility and the inadmissibility of female ordination to the priesthood. 

In 2007 during the debate over legalising abortion in Mexico, Kung spoke at the Global Ethic Foundation conference, saying, “The Church’s absolute prohibition of abortion is a merciless extremism that could be anything but Christian.” 

Kung’s supporters in the liberal end of the Catholic Church have always painted him as a freedom-fighting victim of Vatican antagonism since he had the Church’s permission to teach as a Catholic theology professor at Tübingen University removed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, his former colleague. 

Der Spiegel calls him “a strong, indomitable rebel” who has “tirelessly worked against the Roman Curia and the popes, who have rebuilt the Church, in his opinion, in recent decades into a ‘religious dictatorship’ and made ‘Absolutism to an essential element of the Roman system’.”

Kung has capitalised on this image; a recent bestseller, “My Struggle for Freedom,” described his conflict with the Vatican and Ratzinger, and accused the latter of being opposed to any grassroots “movement from below” in the Church. In 1998, he published Dying with Dignity, an apologetic for assisted suicide in which he claims it is in keeping with Christianity. 

Professionally, however, the “silencing” resulted only in Kung’s transfer from the faculty of Catholic theology to another position as a tenured professor of “ecumenical theology”. He has published numerous books, many of which have been bestsellers, and enjoyed a second career as a professional guest lecturer. 

In his 600-page autobiography, Kung said he will publish no more books after this one.

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website, www.babycaust.de, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” Katholisch.de editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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