Liberal theologian professor Hans Küng has announced that he will withdraw from the "big stage" when he turns 85 next March.
Fr Küng, who has clashed repeatedly with the Vatican and specifically with Pope Benedict XVI during his career, announced at a meeting of reform-minded church groups in Frankfurt last weekend that he would be "withdrawing from the big stage and making room for the next generation".
Nonetheless, he told The Tablet he would "continue to be present in public through the media" and would publish his third volume of memoirs next year. He said he would hand over his Global Ethic Foundation to the former German President, Horst Köhler.
At last weekend's meeting Fr Küng encouraged his listeners to seek interim solutions on such issues as priestly celibacy by pressing for it to be made voluntary instead of mandatory.
Above: Fr Hans Küng. Photo: CNS/Harald Oppitz, KNA