14 November 2009

Hans Kung and the Apostolic Constitution

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.


  1. Do you recall that shortly after Benedict's elevation to the Papacy, he had both Kung and Fellay round to visit? There must have been an uncomfortable silence in the waiting room...

  2. Dear Father, I have just discovered your blog and I love it. Thank you for being so entertainingly informaive.

  3. So, I take it that the great Hans Kung has built up a following in the British isles?

    Would that be among RCs or Anglicans or both?

    On this side of the pond, his vices have been somewhat replaced with the B-team headed by Richard McBrien.

  4. I'd agree with the above comment - Kung is getting very long in the tooth. His followers are now almost as quaint and dated as the oldies one finds who still cling on to the dreams of de Chardin (why has no one thought to use him to bring good tidings to Dawkins?), or to the insights of Lonergan...

  5. "... the C of E bishops totally ignored [Cardinal Kaspar's] message".

    They did not. They responded to it and explained exactly why they were doing what they were. See, for example:


    And as I've said on this blog before, it might have been different if there had been anything at all that Kaspar had to offer the C of E, apart from more endless talks that would easily find other rocks to stumble upon (such as the "infallible" Marian dogmas and Humanae Vitae to name but three, and there are plenty more where those came from).

  6. Steve: what a very silly post. Most Marian dogmas were in place by the end of the seven councils which you Anglicans claim to recognize, and Humanae Vitae represents the teaching of every historical Christian body, including - up until 1930 - the Church of England. Is it wrong of the Pope's representatives to remind Anglicans of what they themselves used to believe, or claimed to believe?