Hans Küng and the Global Ethic

April 14, 2021

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On April 6, 2021, the celebrated Catholic priest and theologian Dr. Hans Küng passed away. Küng was well known for drafting the Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, a landmark document that aimed to chart a common ethic shared by all religious traditions. The declaration, adopted by the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1993, identified ethical priorities that could help to promote a more peaceful world, including commitments to the humane treatment of human beings, the Golden Rule, and the pursuit of justice. In addition to his work on interreligious dialogue, Küng was also an influential theologian within the Catholic Church, contributing to the reforms of Vatican II and ecumenical dialogue between Catholic and Protestant communities.

At Georgetown, Dr. Küng delivered a talk as part of the Nostra Aetate Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Berkley Center, in 2008. He also participated in a 2011 Berkley Center "Symposium on the Global Ethic, Law, and Policy," which focused on his Declaration Toward a Global Ethic in the fields of law and policy. To celebrate the legacy of Hans Küng, the Berkley Forum invites scholars, practitioners, and other experts to reflect on the impact of his global ethic, as well as the contributions he made to interreligious dialogue and Catholic theology.

This week the Berkley Forum asks: What legacy does Hans Küng leave behind when it comes to interreligious dialogue, ecumenical relations, and Catholic theology? What impact did the global ethic have on the broader field of international development? What are the challenges and possibilities of using a common global ethic as a moral foundation to create a better world in the twenty-first century? How can lessons learned from Küng be applied to shared social or political challenges facing communities around the world today? In what ways can interreligious dialogue so conceived help to promote priority action on issues of global concern, from climate change to the refugee crisis?

related event | Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Hans Küng

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