Not since the Second Vatican Council has there been such a consensus among leading Roman Catholic theologians, Professor Hans Küng concluded after the world congress of theologians in Brussels last month. The assembly was organized by the respected Roman Catholic theological journal Concilium and led by the four (Küng, Karl Rahner, Yves Congar, and Eduard Schillebeeckx) who have been warned by Rome because of their progressive views.

The agreement was especially striking among Switzerland’s Küng, Germany’s Rahner, and Raymond Brown, New Testament scholar at New York’s Union Seminary. Together they formulated the basic requirements of a Christian: he must accept the Christological confessions of the past, see Christ as the foundation of his faith, believe that God revealed himself in Christ, and believe that without a relationship to Christ man is lost.

More than 200 Roman Catholic (and a few Protestant) theologians from thirty-two countries, 200 journalists, and some 700 observers and guests attended the congress on “The Future of the Church” September 12–18. They concurred that the Christian message is Christ himself—without faith in him Christianity has no basis. They did not agree, however, about such practical matters as a protest against the “oppression of the faithful [priests who want to marry] by ecclesiastical authorities.” This resolution did not reach the required two-thirds majority that chairman Schillebeeckx had hoped for.

Not everyone was as convinced as Küng about consensus at the congress. Some observers missed Eastern Orthodoxy, the Third World, and women (only nine women were among the 220 voting delegates). Others claimed the theologians didn’t know enough about modern life, or complained that the triumphalism ...

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