Hans Kung describes the history of the Roman Catholic Church from its origins in St Paul's Rome, through the disputes of the medieval era to the modern world. He examines the historic tension in the Church between pluralism and exclusivity; how the role of the Pope has changed; the motivations of the great reforming pontiffs; the evolving ...
Hans Kung describes the history of the Roman Catholic Church from its origins in St Paul's Rome, through the disputes of the medieval era to the modern world. He examines the historic tension in the Church between pluralism and exclusivity; how the role of the Pope has changed; the motivations of the great reforming pontiffs; the evolving functions of the bishops and cardinals; the story of church's enthusiasm for missionary activity; the origins of the Marian cult; and how the shock waves of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation can still be felt today. The book concludes with a searching assessment of how the Catholic faith confronts the immense challenges - from science, from the empowerment of women, from those seeking reform of the Church's strictures against abortion and contraception - in the new millennium. Though short, this is a major book by a controversial and profoundly influential thinker.
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-04-09 The latest volume in the Modern Library Chronicles series looks at the history of the world's largest Christian body through the eyes of a theologian whom most Catholics regard as either a beloved reformer or an annoying dissident. King, a Swiss priest, was disciplined by the church in 1979 and prohibited from teaching as a Catholic theologian. Through a 1980 agreement with the Vatican, he is now permitted to teach, but only under secular auspices. In his compressed history of the church that traces its roots to Jesus Christ and the Apostle Peter, King continues to ply his trade in controversy. Woven through his mostly readable account is a consistent call for the abolition of the doctrine of papal infallibility, one of the stances that got him into trouble with church authorities two decades ago. King also uses his book to criticize the church's present efforts to safeguard its teachings through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His 1979 censure, he says, was a "personal experience of the Inquisition," yet he claims to remain faithful to the church in what he calls "critical loyalty." In concluding statements about the future, Küng says the church must open all ministries to women (although the current pope has quashed discussion of women's ordination) and be more open ecumenically. Church progressives will warmly embrace King's version of Catholic history, which is sure to be dismissed by loyalists. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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