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Swiss theologian receives ethics award

Professor Küng's books have often aroused controversy Keystone

The Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Küng has received the Planetary Ethics Prize of the Club of Budapest for his commitment to worldwide inter-religious dialogue.

This content was published on October 29, 2001 - 12:22

Professor Küng, who in a recent newspaper interview was strongly critical of the US-led air strikes on Afghanistan, joins a distinguished list of previous recipients of the award. They include the Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan and Vaclav Havel.

Founded in 1993 by the Hungarian philosopher, Professor Ervin Laszlo, the Club of Budapest promotes the building of bridges among generations and cultures. Among its stated aims is an end to violence in any form.

Views on terrorism

Interviewed by the German newspaper, the Reutlinger General-Anzeiger, Küng condemned both the September 11 terrorist attacks and the air strikes that followed them.

His remarks echoed a statement by the Club of Budapest saying that killing one group of terrorists would not solve the problem. "As long as the roots are there," it said, "others will grow in their place."

Born in Sursee near Lucerne in 1928, Professor Küng is an ordained priest and scholar of theology and philosophy. He is also a prolific writer whose books have been translated into numerous languages - and often aroused controversy.

His liberal views on such issues as papal infallibility and celibacy of the Catholic clergy brought him into conflict with Pope John Paul II and conservatives within the church. They led to a ban on his training candidates for the priesthood.

Up to and since his retirement in 1996 he has been a prominent advocate of understanding between cultures and religions in the interests of world peace.

For nearly 30 years he was director of the Institute for Ecumenical Research at Tübingen University in Germany and in 1993 drafted a "Declaration towards a Global Ethic" which was endorsed by the world's religions.

swissinfo with agencies

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