I take down my journal for 1981 to find out what I was saying about the Pope 24 years ago. I know there's a sentence in there somewhere which calls him the "the greatest man of the age", but I forget the context.
Ah, here it is. An entry dated 15/8/81.
If Anglicanism is legitimate it derives its legitimacy from its Roman roots, and I cannot pretend that the schism between Rome and Canterbury is anything but a tragedy. I long for reunion, but also for the kind of central authority that Rome posseses in the papacy. What movement, I wonder, is possible at present? Is there any chance of Rome recognising Anglican orders? I caught myself, the other day, wishing that the present Pope (who is, is he not, the greatest man of the age?) might not live long- a thing of which I am deeply ashamed. I do not see him changing the church's mind on "the separated bretheren."
Yes. That was me a quarter century ago.
I was 30. I was illogical. I was a prig.