Hans Küng (born March 19, 1928) is a Swiss Catholic priest, controversial theologian, and prolific author. Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic (Stiftung Weltethos). Küng is "a Catholic priest in good standing", but theVatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology. He had to leave the Catholic faculty, but remained at the University of Tübingen as a professor of ecumenical theology, serving as an emeritus professor since 1996.
In the late 1960s, he became the first major Roman Catholic theologian since the late 19th century Old Catholic Church schism to publicly reject the doctrine of papal infallibility, in particular in his book Infallible? An Inquiry (1971).
In the early 1990s, Küng initiated a project called Weltethos (Global Ethic), which is an attempt at describing what the world's religions have in common (rather than what separates them) and at drawing up a minimal code of rules of behaviour everyone can accept. His vision of a global ethic was embodied in the document for which he wrote the initial draft, Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration. This Declaration was signed at the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions by religious and spiritual leaders from around the world. Later Küng's project would culminate in the UN's Dialogue Among Civilizations to which Küng was assigned as one of 19 "eminent persons." Even though it was completed shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 (in September 2001), it was not covered in the U.S. media, about which Küng complained.
In March 1991, he gave a talk titled "No Peace Among Nations until Peace Among the Religions" at UCSD's Price Center. He visited the nearby Beth El synagogue and spoke there on modern German-Jewish relations.
In 2005, Küng published a critical article in Italy and Germany on The failures of Pope Wojtyla. Küng argued that the world had expected a period of conversion, reform, and dialogue; but instead politically John Paul II offered a restoration of the pre-Vatican II status quo—thus blocking reform and inter-church dialogue and reasserting the absolute dominion of Rome.