Hans Küng is undoubtedly one of the most important theologians of our time, but he has always been a controversial figure, and as the result of a much-publicized clash over papal infallibility had his permission to teach revoked by the Vatican. Yet at seventy-five years of age Küng is also something of a senior statesman, one of the "Group of Eminent Persons" convened by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a friend of heads of government like Britain's Tony Blair and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
In this fascinating autobiography Küng gives a frank and outspoken account of the first four decades of his life. He tells of his youth in Switzerland and his decision to become a priest, of his doubts and struggles as he studied in Rome and Paris, and of his experiences as a professor in Tübingen, where he received a chair at the early age of thirty-one. Most importantly, as one of the last surviving eyewitnesses of Vatican II, Küng gives an authentic account of the conflicts behind the scenes. Here it becomes clear just how major an influence he was, to the point of shaping the Council's agenda and drafting speeches for bishops to deliver in plenary sessions.
Küng's book offers an acute analysis, compelling in its drama, of meetings with presidents like John F. Kennedy, popes like John XXIII and Paul VI, great theologians like Karl Barth and Karl Rahner, and journeys around the world. With its rich thought and vivid narrative, it paints a moving picture of Küng's personal convictions, including his relentless struggle for a Christianity characterized not by the domination of an official church but by Jesus.
AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS
Catholic Press Association, Second Place, History/Biography (2004)
Paul F. Knitter
"This is history from the inside out — memoirs of a tumultuous time in the history of Christianity from one of the most tumultuous actors in that history. As Hans Küng looks back over his early years in Rome, his contributions to Vatican II, and his struggles for a church in service of the gospel rather than structures, he not only remembers but also reveals. The personalities and the politics, the splendor and the squalor, of hierarchs, theologians, and politicians are laid bare in these pages. Though I lived through most of this history, I continually found myself putting this book down and saying, 'So that's what was going on!' Küng's personal memoirs are political dynamite, and they make for thoroughly engaging reading."
"A delightful account of a life, written in a deeply personal way. Recommended for all libraries."
Catholic Library World
"An interesting and compelling account of the making of Vatican II. . . Tracing the highlights of his theological and spiritual journey, Kung resonates deeply with many progressive Catholics whose hopes for reform in the Church have not been met."