Father Hans Küng receives an honorary degree from the National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain, on Jan. 27, 2011. (Photo: Wikimedia)
To this very day, I still don't know how he got my mobile phone number.
But I do remember that morning in January 2009 as if it were only yesterday. The phone rang and the voice on the other end of the line said, "Robert Mickens, this is Hans Küng."
I was shocked, quite frankly. My only other encounter with the famous Swiss theologian was also over the telephone. But it was a call I made to him from my landline in Rome. That was in September 2005 while putting together an article for The Tablet on his widely acclaimed private meeting and luncheon with Pope Benedict XVI.
This new call, which he had initiated, was something that came completely out of the blue. And it was sort of coincidental, as well, since I was visiting friends in Küng's native Switzerland at the time.