Catholic reform theologian Hans Küng, 85, considers assisted suicide

October 3, 2013

(Hans Küng in Hechingen, Germany, March 2, 2009/Muesse)

Hans Küng, Roman Catholicism’s best known rebel theologian, is considering capping a life of challenges to the Vatican with a final act of dissent – assisted suicide.

Küng, now 85 and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, writes in the final volume of his memoirs that people have a right to “surrender” their lives to God voluntarily if illness, pain or dementia make further living unbearable.

The Catholic Church rejects assisted suicide, which is allowed in Küng‘s native Switzerland as well as Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and four states in the United States.

“I do not want to live on as a shadow of myself,” the Swiss-born priest explained in the book published this week. “I also don’t want to be sent off to a nursing home … If I have to decide myself, please abide by my wish.”

Küng has championed reform of the Catholic Church since its 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, where he was a young adviser arguing for a decentralized church, married priests and artificial birth control. The Council did not adopt these ideas.

A professor at the German university of Tübingen since 1960, Küng was stripped by the Vatican of his license to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he questioned the doctrine of papal infallibility and ignored Vatican pressure to recant.

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Hans Kung has been a gift to the world, and not just to the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis must name him a Cardinals pronto, to begin to roll back the Vatican’s shameful history of treating alternative and prophetic voices like Hans Kung’s so unjustly.

Francis is sadly unlikely to do so as he merely rearranges the Curial deck chairs on the sinking Vatican Titanic.

For evidence of this, please see, at, my recent remarks as a Harvard trained Catholic international lawyer.

Please note especially my “Pope Francis and Council of Bishops Fail First Test” at

Posted by JerrySlevin | Report as abusive

@Jerry Slevin, if your comment is not naïve, then I guess I do not know what naivety is. By the way, Mr. Kung will be so offended by your suggestion that he be associated with that phallocentric, Chauvinist, power drunken and archaic title that has nothing to do with the modern world.
I just laugh at the way dissenters polish their view with God-word, notice how Mr. Kung says, “surrender” their lives to God voluntarily if illness, pain or dementia make further living unbearable”. This is not only unchristian, it is surely a “Capping” of a life of unfaithfulness to Christ and His Church and an excuse for his inability to truly surrender to the will of God, a virtue he has whole-heartedly rejected for years.
There is pain, suffering and sorrow in human existence and as difficult as it may be, Christ and His Church has taught us to do our best to offer these difficulties up to God and not run away from them.
I will not be surprised to hear that Mr. Kung has taken his life and this shameful or rather, shameless last stunt will be his justification for it.
I will be the first to acknowledge the fact that in my comment I have not been very charitable to Mr. Kung, but I think a spade needs to be called a spade in some instances so that the truth might shine forth.

Posted by PeterAsi | Report as abusive

Spiritual things are spiritually worked out and not intellectually. Kung is very wrong.

Posted by Taumpj | Report as abusive