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Can We Save the Catholic Church? by [Kung, Hans]
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Can We Save the Catholic Church? Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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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: 1553 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • 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: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #312,025 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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