Happily, an article in the Grauniad (October 27) finally shows that Hans Kung now understands the position of Anglican Catholics and the necessity of the Apostolic Constitution.
He quotes with approval what he himself said in 1967, in which he envisaged that the Church of England should "recognise the existence of a pastoral primacy of Petrine ministry as the supreme authority for mediation and arbitration between the churches".
Presumably so distinguished and sharp a theologian must be aware that the Church of England is proposing to embark upon an innovation which would make its entire ministry structurally unnaceptable both to the Tradition of the Latin and Oriental Churches; and, indeed, to that of not a few Anglican Provinces overseas. Obviously, the Bishop of Rome would be remiss if he failed to exercise his 'pastoral primacy' and his 'supreme authority' in a role of 'mediation and arbitration' in so serious a situation. If the maintenance of a priestly ministry acceptable throughout all the particular churches which express the Universal Church is not a duty of such a primacy as Kueng has described, what on earth would be?
And so a couple of years ago the Bishop of Rome sent his special representative for matters of Unity, Cardinal Walter 'I'm Moderate and I smile ' Kasper, to warn the bishops of the C of E that, if they went down a certain path, the way towards unity which had been explored since the 1960s would finally be closed off.
And presumably someone as brilliant and perceptive as Hans Kung will have noticed, in whatever newspapers aged Swiss Germans of the Global Ethic Foundation read, that the C of E bishops totally ignored that message.