FR HANS KUNG, the controversial Swiss theologian who has frequently clashed with the Vatican over questions of Christian doctrine, has praised Pope John Paul's first encylical "because it announces a new Christian humanism". But he also challenged the Pope to do something about what he called human rights in the Church itself. Fr Kung said in a recent interview with an Italian daily newspaper that the encylical was "great": "In the light of Christ, the Pope places man at the centre, his dignity, his fundamental private and social rights," Later he said: "Many hope that Papa Wojtyla, who has much at heart to say about rights in society, will concern himself also with those in the Church. The Church in today's society is credible only in renewing itself. Certainly there are many problems and the task of John Paul Ii is immense."
He hoped that the Pope would be able to resolve many questions "left in suspense by Vatican II and Pope Paul VI." These included birth control, the vocations crisis, celibacy, the ordination of women, decentralisation of the Roman Curia and recognition of the ministries and Eucharist of the Anglican and Protestant churches, he said.
Fr Kung described the Church as being often more of an obstacle to being Christian then a help.