Many Roman Catholics have gotten their rosary beads all a-tangle over Masonic news from Germany.
German Freemasons recently awarded "controversial theologian" Hans Kueng (also spelled Küng) the Kulturpreis Deutscher Freimaurer (Culture Award of German Freemasons), the Catholic Citizens website reports.
In presenting the award to Bro. Kueng, Bro. Jens Oberheide, an atomic physicist at the University of Wuppertal in Germany, reportedly called him a "free and brave thinker" and said Bro. Kueng spoke "straight from our Masonic hearts."
The Catholic website says "the history of Freemasonry at its highest levels is unquestionably hostile to Catholicism. It has long been rumored that in its quest to undermine Catholicism, Freemasons have been sent into the ranks of the Catholic Church's hierarchy since the 1930's."
Bro. Kueng was stripped of his approval to teach Catholic theology in 1979. He has remained a Catholic priest, and to many Catholics' consternation, he is a Freemason.
He became a priest in 1954, and was appointed professor of theology at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany in 1960. From 1962 to 1965, he served with now-Pope Ratzinger as an expert theological advisor to members of the Second Vatican Council until its conclusion in 1965, having been appointed by Pope John XXIII.
He was the first prominent Catholic theologian to publicly question papal infallibility since the 1800s, writing a book about it called Infallible? An Inquiry in 1971. In 1979, for this transgression, he lost his license to teach Roman Catholic theology, though he remained at the University until his retirement in 1996, teaching ecumenical theology.
Bro. Kueng regularly lectures on topics from quantum physics to neuroscience, and has recently called Americans who oppose teaching evolution on religious grounds as "naive [and] un-enlightened."
In 2005, he surprised critics by being invited to have dinner and discuss theology with Pope Benedict XVI, his old friend from the 1960s. The pope has written and recently reiterated his displeasure with Freemasonry.
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