Insight on the News
Church Titans Grapple
● Under the terms of “the Vatican’s 1933 concordat with Hitler,” according to the “National Catholic Reporter,” the prominent Roman Catholic theologian Hans Küng was barred from teaching theology at the Federal Republic of Germany’s Tübingen University. Among the reasons for Pope John Paul II’s action against Küng were writings that appear to question the very foundations of Catholic doctrine—the Trinity and papal infallibility. Küng has maintained that his ideas are not heresy, but, rather, “if the Catholic Church is not grounded in scripture, it is not the Church of Jesus.”
To back his Scriptural position on the matter of papal infallibility, in an interview with Stuttgart’s “Sonntag Aktuel,” Küng declared that “there is a clear precedence in Scripture and in Catholic tradition for confronting the pope. St. Paul opposed St. Peter in the presence of the whole community (Galatians 2:11-14).” In the text cited by Küng, the apostle Paul says of Peter: “I opposed him to his face, since he was manifestly in the wrong.”—Catholic “Jerusalem Bible.”
“The War Is Over”
● A Brazilian chain store recently placed an advertisement in Rio de Janeiro’s main newspaper. It contained a picture of numerous plastic war toys with a white flag waving over them. “The War Is Over!” was its caption. The store was letting it be known that it would no longer sell toys that suggest violence. “Whoever wants to do so, let him follow our example,” said the director.
The reaction of one psychologist reflects the sad state of modern war-oriented society: “The child, while handling these toys, develops in his fantasy the aggressiveness needed in his socialization process. If we take away the toy arms, the violent films and the battles of the child’s universe, we are doing nothing more than alienating him from the reality of hunger, social injustice and of economic insecurity, the chief causes of violence.” But is not such “aggressiveness” in youth’s “socialization process” itself a chief cause of violence? A Brazilian educational director argued: “In handling arms, a child becomes accustomed to the idea of killing, becoming indifferent to the sufferings of others.”
On the other hand, thousands of children and adults in many nations are a living fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” Rather than taking up toy or real arms, Jehovah’s Witnesses world wide cultivate a love that surmounts militaristic nationalism.—Isa. 2:4; John 13:35.
“Only Hope of Mankind”?
● Ezra Taft Benson, former U.S. secretary of agriculture, recently spoke to the International Freedoms Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He lectured about what he considers to be the failure of “Western civilization” to stem the tide of Communist ideology throughout the world. Speaking as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Benson declared: “Today we are in a worldwide battle for the bodies and souls of men.” This churchman apparently believes that the most important battle for “the bodies and souls of men” is between human political blocs.
“I fully believe that we can turn things around,” he said, “if enough men and women in the Free World will have the determination, the morality, and the faith to do so.” The Mormon leader climaxed his speech with the assertion: “Here in the West we hold in our hands the only hope of mankind; and it will be to our shame and disgrace before God and man if we allow that hope to wither and die.”
Will it? Does the West truly hold “the only hope of mankind”? The Bible shows that there is another available choice—one that a Christian should espouse. Since the whole world, with its governments of both East and West, is “lying in the power of the wicked one,” it is the “kingdom of God” alone that true followers of Christ hope in and declare to others. They do not desperately try to shore up sick governmental systems already condemned to destruction by God.—1 John 5:19; Luke 4:43; Matt. 24:14; Dan. 2:44.