By Christopher Howse
TWO CATHOLIC professors of theology at the University of Tubingen have written to the Pope demanding the reopenihg of the Kung case.
Their appeal makes specific mention of the Pope's visit to Switzerland. Fr Kung's home country. in June. It warns that unless the affair is cleared up by then "a large part of the population — both Catholic and Protestant — of Switzerland might judge your advocacy of Christian brotherliness. ecumenical agreement, human dignity and human rights. in the light of this case."
The two signatories, Fr Norbert Greinacher and Fr Herbert Haag. are following up a dossier of papers on the case and an appeal to the Pope which they despatched last May. This year they call the action of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith -illegal-.
They say: "Instead of examining our appeal. supported by all the documents. you sent a letter at Whitsuntide last year to the German bishops' conference thanking them for the proceedings — which we found incomprehensible — against Kung and justifying the illegal 'procedure' of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Fiath."
The appeal that the priests say the Pope ignored included a string of exclamations: "Take up the case without delay! Appoint an impartial commission of bishops and theologians to examine the questions involved objectively and without being pressed for time We appeal to your responsibility and to your conscience: repair the wrong that has been done! Do not leave the rehabilitation of Kung to history!"
Fr Kung was deprived of his official authority to teach as a Catholic theologian last year after refusing to clarify points in his writings.
• The Pope's visit to Switzerland from May 31 to June 5 will include a Mass each day and a formal meeting with the World Council of Churches. There will be a meeting with theology professors at Fribourg on June 4 and a Mass for immigrants at the shrine of Our Lady at Einsiedeln on June 2.