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.