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kung fu pandaNobody expects radical Catholic theologian Hans Küng, at 82 now a bit old to be an “enfant terrible,” to come back into fashion like skinny neckties or 1960s Madison Avenue cocktails.

However, William Oddie, a respected British journalist as well as a Catholic journalist, writes a retrospective in the UK’s Catholic Herald, looking at two “periti” (personal advisers to Pope John XXIII) at the Second Vatican Council. One was Fr. Hans Küng, of course, and another was named Fr. Joseph Ratzinger.

Citing a memoir of a third “peritus” Mr. Oddie writes: ‘“the theological discord between them, which grew so much over the years, (was) not only a difference of intellectual analysis, but as deriving also from a profound difference of character: the young Fr Ratzinger is portrayed as one whose powerful intellect is matched by his “peacefulness” and “affability”. Fr Küng, by contrast, is described as possessing a “juvenile audacity” and speaking in “incendiary, superficial, and polemical” terms.’

Follow this link to Mr.Oddie’s fascinating article and do not ignore his own links to other related material. I’d hate to spoil the ending, so I will not divulge who comes out most resembling Our Saviour but I can drop a hint: he got a fairly big promotion late in his career.

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