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Catholic rebel theologian Hans Küng, critic of Pope Benedict, dies at 93

Swiss theologian Hans Küng, a rebel Roman Catholic who questioned the doctrine of papal infallibility, has died aged 93, the Foundation for a Global Ethic that he founded said on Tuesday, April 6.

Kueng, who had Parkinson's disease, was born in Sursee, Canton of Lucerne, and studied in Rome before being ordained in 1954 and appointed professor of theology at the University of Tübingen, in southwestern Germany, in 1960.

Küng championed reform of the Catholic Church since its 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, where he was a young adviser arguing for a decentralized church, married priests, and artificial birth control. The Council did not adopt those ideas.

Küng was stripped by the Vatican of his license to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he questioned the doctrine of papal infallibility and ignored Vatican pressure to recant.

The University of Tübingen responded by making him a professor of ecumenical theology, securing him a post from which he wrote dozens of books, some of them best sellers, and many articles.

In the early 1990s, Küng initiated his "Global Ethic" project, aimed at describing what the world's religions have in common and establishing a set of common values.

In 2010, Küng urged Roman Catholic bishops to defy Pope Benedict and push through reforms from below to restore the credibility of their church shaken by child sexual abuse scandals.

He later described Pope Francis as "a ray of hope."

In his memoirs, he cited the late Pope John Paul II's public struggle with Parkinson's and the silent suffering of boxer Muhammad Ali, also afflicted with the disease, as models he did not want to follow.

"How much longer will my life be liveable in dignity?" he asked. "No person is obligated to suffer the unbearable as something sent from God."

His foundation said he died peacefully at his house in Tübingen. – Rappler.com