>Ruth Gledhill, the Religion Correspondent for the Times Online has published a translation of an article published by Professor Hans Kung, the great Catholic theologian. The article, “If Obama Were Pope,” was published in German and was translated with Kung’s permission.
You must read this article. Here is an excerpt:
Whereas President Obama, with the support of the whole world, is looking forwards and is open to people and to the future, this Pope is orientating himself above all backwards, inspired by the ideal of the mediaeval church, sceptical about the Reformation, ambiguous about modern rights of freedom.
Whereas President Obama is concerned for new cooperation with partners and allies Pope Benedict XVI, like George.W Bush, is trapped in thinking in terms of friend and foe. He snubs fellow Christians in the Protestant churches by refusing to recognize these communities as churches. The dialogue with Muslims has not got beyond a lip confession of ‘dialogue’. Relations with Judaism must be said to have been deeply damaged.
Whereas President Obama radiates hope, promotes civic activities and calls for a new ‘era of responsibility’, Pope Benedict is imprisoned in his fears and wants to limit human freedom as far as possible, in order to establish an ‘age of restoration’.
Whereas President Obama is going on the offensive by using the constitution and the great tradition of his country as the basis for bold steps in reform, Pope Benedict is interpreting the decrees of the 1962 Reform Council in a backward direction, looking towards the conservative Council of 1870.
Read the article by visiting Ruth Gledhill’s blog.
It is difficult to judge Obama’s Presidency after just ten days since his inauguration. Some Americans may disagree with some of Kung’s evaluation of Obama’s accomplishments as President, but Kung knows the Catholic Church and he knows this Pope and his criticism may be justified.
However, in the same way Americans may disagree with Kung’s evaluation of Obama’s performance as President, I am sure many Catholics will disagree with Kung’s evaluation of the Pope’s perfomance as the head of the Catholic Church.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary