Sunday, April 25, 2010

An Open Letter to Hans Kueng by George Weigel

As John Gray puts it in his review of A.C. Grayling, quoted in my last post, "Indeed, the realization that history will not go his way might account for the shrill, peevish and increasingly baffled tone of Grayling’s polemics. There is nothing as dead as the opinions of the day before yesterday, and Ideas that Matter contains little else. Yet, despite the fact that it points to the past and not to the future, there is something to be prized in this volume. With his mix of adamant certainty and high-minded silliness, Grayling has captured for posterity a glimpse of that soon-to-be-extinct species, the late-twentieth-century bien-pensant."

How exactly right this is about Hans Kueng, the dissident theologian who championed a view of Vatican II as representing a complete rupture with the Tradition of the Church. He saw the future of the Church as lying in a kind of Protestantization and accommodation to modernity--the very path to oblivion taken by the mainline Protestant denominations. He seems to have learned nothing since making his name as a dissident celebrity and darling of the media. His open letter to the bishops published in the Irish Times exceeds all bounds of decency. It is only with the greatest effort that one can refrain from describing this once-distinguished theologian as a scum-bag.

Here is George Weigel's response to Kueng. Skip the red car story at the beginning. The rest of it is excellent.

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