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Can We Save the Catholic Church? [Kindle Edition]

Hans Kung
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Catholic Church has been nearly destroyed by its resistance to change, censured for its abuses. Pope Francis has promised reform: radical theologian Hans Küng here presents what Catholics have long been yearning for: modern responses to the challenges of a modern world.

In 1962 the Second Vatican Council met in the hope they could, in the words of Pope John XXIII, ‘open the windows of the Church and let some fresh air in.’ Hans Küng and Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, were both there.

In Can We Save the Catholic Church? Kung relates how after fifty years the Church has only grown more conservative. Refusing to open dialogue on celibacy for priests; the role of women in the priesthood; homosexuality; or the use of contraception even to prevent AIDS, the Papacy has lost touch. Now, amid widespread disillusion over child abuse, the future of Catholicism is in crisis.

Pope Francis seems sincere in his wish for a more compassionate Church. The time is ripe for reform, and here Küng calls for a complete renewal of the Church. As grassroots support grows Can We Save the Catholic Church? makes an inspiring and compelling case for offering a new Catholicism to the modern world.

Product Description


‘An impassioned critique of the centrist-absolutist DNA of the Catholic Church’ New Statesman

“It is such an easy and accessible read, and at the same time it is a marvellous synthesis of the problems facing the Church at present. It shows how much he cares for the Church and for the Christian message.”

Fr Tony Flannery, C.Ss.R.
Founder of the Association of Catholic Priests

Can we save the Catholic Church? has both authority and authenticity. Küng’s authorship is its own guarantee of impeccable scholarship and research. Working within the Catholic framework, his expertise and vast learning support his suggestions for examination and reform. British readers will, perhaps, reflect that the full title of the Opposition in the UK Government is that of the ‘Loyal Opposition’: disagreement is not necessarily disloyalty. It is this very quality which differentiates Can we save the Catholic Church? from the many books which can only be described as ‘Catholic-bashing’.

This book makes for frequently uncomfortable reading, but it is worth noting that Küng has submitted a copy to Pope Francis, who has promised to read it. It calls for the Church to embrace the spirit and teachings of Vatican II and fits into the time-honoured framework allotted to Catholic academics who, sometimes at personal cost, strive to make the Gospel meaningful and relevant in their own society.

Sr Janet Fearns FMDM

This latest book is incisive and sharp; it is also a very accessible read. He examines, over a text running to some 350 pages, the historical background detail that precedes our present circumstances. He honestly confronts the Church as it is and yet lays out a future that continues the Gospel mission of the Church if only we recognise our present reality and respond to it.

Chris McDonnell, retired headteacher and member of A Call to Action UK.

About the Author

Hans Küng is a Catholic priest and theologian. Together, he and Joseph Ratzinger were the youngest advisors at Vatican II, subsequently adopting opposite stances on the Church, with Ratzinger and the Vatican eventually trying to silence Küng for his rejection of Papal Infallability. Küng is a professor at the University of Tübingen and the founder of the Global Ethic Foundation. A a prolific author and respected commentator on Church matters, he is 84 years of age.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1275 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007522029
  • Publisher: William Collins (10 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CR42LNG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #229,465 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A criticism of papal infallibility 27 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a carefully considered and well researched criticism of papal infallibility. It is as usual with Kung very well written and reads fluently with well set out main points. It is highly critical but also very respectful of the essence of catholicism. Well worth reading by all who have catholicism at heart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blueprint to Save the Catholic Church 22 Feb. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As an example of change management, Hans Kung’s “Can we save the Catholic Church?” is outstanding. The analysis of how the Catholic Church is where it is at the beginning of Pope Francis’ term of office is compellingly absorbing.

Hans Kung puts forward analytical evidence that over the past millennium the Catholic Church was on an unchanging course. With the Second Vatican Council, this course changed dramatically through a paradigm shift. Subsequently those responsible for the Church’s corporate governance misunderstood the full impact of this paradigm shift and tried to carry on with the governance that worked before the shift. The result is that those running the Church became detached and remote from the corporate body and disengaged with the Church’s stakeholders; a classic problem of managing changes following a paradigm shift.

This frank and pragmatic book urges members not to leave the Church and concludes with a blueprint to remedy the state of the Church through a series of reforms. If followed there is overwhelming optimism that not only will there be a saved, Church there will be a reformed and renewed Church.

This superbly researched and well-written book is prophetic and its timing surely more than a coincidence.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think this is an excellent study of the malaise presently afflicting the governance of the Roman Church. Kung sets out, as a medical doctor would do, to diagnose the problems and to offer remedies. He does so more out of sorrow than anger and states that this could very well be his last book. I found the way he structures the book to be very helpful indeed - there are lots of bullet-point lists of the important matters which for me anyway makes the material easier to understand.

In his introduction Kung makes the point that throughout its first millennium the Church got along quite nicely without the monarchist-absolutist papacy that we now take for granted. It was only in the 11th century that a revolution started from above, started by Pope Gregory VII and known as the "Gregorian Reform". This gave us the three outstanding features that mark the Roman system today: a centralist-absolutist papacy; clericalist juridicism; obligatory celibacy for the clergy. (The latter feature looks a bit ragged at the edges since the creation of the Anglican Ordinariate by Benedict XVI and the ordination of married former Anglican clergy who now serve as priests in Roman Catholic parishes. So married men who have always been Roman Catholics cannot become priests but married former Anglicans can. Only the Vatican seems unable to spot the injustice.)

Kung mentions the many (failed) attempts over the centuries to reform the system and laments that under last two Popes (John Paul II and Benedict XVI) there has a fatal return to old absolutist attitudes and practices.

Given the background of Kung's struggle with the Vatican one might expect this to be an angry book.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a disturbing book. Indeed having read it I felt physically sick. If the Roman Catholic Church is as Kung describes, then it is unreformable and his hopes for reform are tatters of mere optimism. It is unreformable because, if it is as he describes, it is the bed of evil many Protestants have always held it to be.

However, too many allegations Kung levels at the Church and her ministers are unauthenticated. However thorough a scholar Kung may be we cannot merely take his word for all these profoundly serious allegations. Documentation and authentication is essential.

Towards the close of the book Kung states that he does `not want to paint everything black'. Freud remarked that this type of negative statement ought to be heard as an affirmation of the contrary! And so the book proves to be. Accurately or inaccurately, Kung has painted everything black. Indeed he has painted everything red - the biblical colour of sin! He inveighs against the centralisation of the Church in the Pope but the larger part of his book is a diatribe against the Popes - he is fixated on the papacy and has little to say about any other feature of the Church.

However, a strange pattern emerges from his survey and assessment of the Church's appalling failures: it is a replica in almost every way of the patterns of conduct and sinful failures of our Lord's chosen disciples and of the first 100 years of the life of the Church - all we find in the New Testament levelled at the pride, self-aggrandisement, cowardice, untrustworthiness and multiform failure of the Church and the disciples is echoed in Kung's analysis.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hans Kung you get what you expect!
Published 1 month ago by P. J. Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this!
Have been in awe of Hands K since his 'On Being a Christian' I'm not a Roman Catholic but feel King's obvious pain at the state of the church he love. Read more
Published 6 months ago by ll
4.0 out of 5 stars Kung's last word?
Challenging - a famous theologian reviews the state of the Roman Catholic Church from the perspective of one who played a major part in Vatican 2 and was a peer of Pope Benedict... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Frank
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A road path to recovery to an otherwise dead duck Church.
Published 10 months ago by Michael Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Service.
These books and items arrived in perfect order and within the time frame indicated. Thank you!
Published 10 months ago by Triona Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Analysis of the Biggest Challenge Before Pope Francis
This is a first class analysis of where the problems faced by reformers came from and why.
This is certainly the best understanding of the post Vatican 2 paradigm I have... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Cllr Chris Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Hans Kung
Hans Kung is one of the challenging writes of our time on Catholicism. He makes us think again - it is time that we had dialogue on all topics!
Published 12 months ago by Mr. N. C. Johnson
2.0 out of 5 stars Evidence is lacking to support the author's views
I was hoping for a reasoned critique of the Catholic Church and then a logical proposal for improvement. This book isn't it. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Hans Kung
Every Catholic 'searcher' should read Hans Kung's excellent book. I began reading it in the early evening, and could not put it down. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Neville
1.0 out of 5 stars Can we save Hans Kung?
A man who disagrees with most of Catholic teaching hopes that one day the Pope won't be Catholic, abortion will be accepted, Church teaching reversed, and all manner of things will... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mack Stoli
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