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"Fr. Hans Kung says Francis responded to request for free discussion on infallibility dogma"
Editor's note: Fr. Hans Küng, the Swiss theologian, says that he has received a letter from Pope Francis that responds "to my request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility."
Küng declined to show the letter to NCR, citing "the confidentiality that I owe to the Pope," but he says the letter was dated March 20 and sent to him via the nunciature in Berlin shortly after Easter.
Küng says the letter shows that "Francis has set no restrictions" on the discussions.
Küng also said that he is very encouraged by Francis' recent apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia ('The Joy of Love'), "I could not have foreseen then quite how much new freedom Francis would open up in his post-synodal exhortation," Kung wrote in statement released to NCR and other media outlets. "Already in the introduction, he declares, 'Not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium.'"
Küng writes, "This is the new spirit that I have always expected from the magisterium" and makes a discussion of infallibility possible.
"On March 9, my appeal to Pope Francis to give room to a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion on the problem of infallibility appeared in the leading journals of several countries. I was thus overjoyed to receive a personal reply from Francis immediately after Easter. Dated March 20, it was forwarded to me from the nunciature in Berlin.
In the pope's reply, the following points are significant for me:
Francis has set no restrictions. He has thus responded to my request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility. I think it is now imperative to use this new freedom to push ahead with the clarification of the dogmatic definitions, which are a ground for controversy within the Catholic church and in its relationship to the other Christian churches."
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