Hans Kung and the Vatican Curia

I published a book, Keeping the Faith, in 2005. It was my effort at the time to highlight the areas that needed reform in the Catholic Church. In that book I quoted from Hans Kung’s book Christianity, the Religious Situation of our Time.

He was writing from his experience of dealing with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF, now DDF). This is what he wrote:

The Roman Inquisition, founded in the Middle Ages, continues. It’s name has been changed (Holy Office, now Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), but essentially it still acts in accordance with the same medieval principles, which have little to do with generally recognised legal principles. Indeed they have little to do with the most primitive requirements of justice. This is because:

  • proceedings against the suspect or the accused are secret;
  • No one knows who the informants are;
  • There is no cross-examination of witnesses or those laying charges;
  • No inspection of documents is allowed;
  • Prosecutor and judge are identical;
  • Appeal to an independent court is either ruled out or useless;
  • The aim of the inquiry is not to discover the truth but to achieve submission to Roman doctrine, which is always identical with the truth.

Little did I know, as I included that extract in my book, that seven years later I would have a very personal and painful experience of the identical process. Every point that he mentions was played out precisely as he described it, in my case. Also, twelve further years on, while much has changed in the Church, there is no sign of any change in the situation, not least an acknowledgment of the very clear and incontestable injustice of the process inflicted on Kung, myself, and many others, a lot of whom are now dead, not that the reality of their death should in any way lessen the importance of at least acknowledging the injustice done to them.