As soon as I read the Catholic World Report article linked within Timshel’s comment on the May 28 post about rogue bishops, a name mentioned in the article began rattling around in the foggy recesses of my memory: Hans Küng.
I finally remembered and located the reference to this long-time dissident. In researching the communist period in Poland I had previously read the following passage in a journal article on this notable period of modern Polish history. Pardoning the length, here it is:
Yet many devout Catholics, both within and outside Poland, were beginning to lose sympathy with the position of the Polish hierarchy, which they viewed as too conservative on social, economic, and religious issues. In the winter of 1964, the Swiss theologian Hans Kung published an article on the freedoms of the Church in Poland and charged that the Polish hierarchy was too orthodox at the Ecumenical Council. He stressed the orthodox stand of the Polish hierarchy as opposed to the open approach of the Catholic politicians in Poland. Kung also charged the Polish bishops with being deeply suspicious of the modern tendencies in East European Catholicism. The Znak group did not attempt to refute the argument of Hans Kung. Later that same year, during the third session of the Ecumenical Council, the Catholic intelligentsia clubs associated with Tygodnik Powszechny, Znak, Wiez and the Znak representatives in the Polish parliament, drew up a memorandum which they sent to the Papal State Secretariat without knowledge of Cardinal Wyszynski. The memorandum demanded the establishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Vatican and sharply criticized the policies of Cardinal Wyszynski and the Polish bishops. Until that time, only the pro-communist PAX Catholics had accused the Church hierarchy of being backward and opposed to progressive ideas.
Ronald Monticone, “The Catholic Church in Communist Poland,” The Polish Review Vol. 11, No. 4 (Autumn, 1966). p. 93
So, it seems that Kung was up to his tricks in the very midst of Vatican II, not sparing any anyone, including a future pontiff in Karol Wojtyla, from his “progressive” (read: heretical) point of view. In the mid-60’s Poland was 96% Catholic, but storm clouds were brewing. Liberal, pro-communist Catholic leaders and politicians were pushing the Church in Poland to move left because the bishops in the main were “too orthodox.” It seems that Kung might very well have helped begin the slide of Poland away from its unique level of Catholicity. If he and those of his ilk could do such a thing to Poland, how ripe a fruit must a dying western Europe or thriving but materialistic America have appeared to them?
Now, with the present Holy Father unwilling to tackle the thorny problems of maintaining orthodoxy, Kung and company must be nothing but further emboldened.