(ENI/RNS) Top church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch sees Roman Catholic schism ahead
Influential church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch said he believes Christianity faces a bright future, but predicted the Roman Catholic Church will undergo a major schism over its moral and social teaching.
"Christianity, the world's largest religion, is rapidly expanding -- by all indications, its future is very bright," said MacCulloch, 60, professor of church history at Oxford University and an Anglican deacon. His latest book, "Silence in Christian History," will be published in the fall by Penguin.
MacCulloch said in an interview that "there are also many conflicts" within Christianity, "and these are particularly serious in the Roman Catholic church, which seems on the verge of a very great split over the Vatican's failure to listen to European Catholics."
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
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Pope Benedict XVI
Posted August 10, 2012 at 8:00 am
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1. Fr Jay Scott Newman wrote:
Since Dr. MacCulloch is a homosexual man who, though a deacon, refused presbyteral ordination in the Church of England because of its (at that time) refusal to accept homosexual behavior, one may be forgiven for concluding that in this case the wish is father to the thought. It is not argument ad hominem to point out that a scholar with such a passionate personal commitment to overturning the settled teaching of orthodox Christianity on human sexuality is not a disinterested observer in this case. Precisely because the Catholic Church will not surrender to the sexual revolution (which is what MacCulloch means by the “Vatican’s failure to listen to European Catholics”), she is positioned to be a faithful witness to the Gospel. And if some Catholics leave the Catholic Church because they trust the sexual revolution more than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then they weren’t really Catholics to begin with and the Church will be strengthened by their departure.
Father Jay Scott Newman
Pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Greenville, South Carolina
August 10, 9:28 am | [comment link]
2. Cennydd13 wrote:
I am pleased to see the Vatican holding true to the faith, and to them I say “don’t give an inch.”
August 10, 10:28 am | [comment link]
3. Terry Tee wrote:
What makes this prediction so silly is that it ignores the question: ‘Who from the pews would follow a schismatic leader?’ I can imagine disgruntled priests trying to lead a breakaway. History has been full of them. But the people stay put. If the folks in the pews feel really unhappy they are more likely simply to stop going to church altogether. The alleged battle over Vatican II is the kind of thing that preoccupies theological theorists; it just doesn’t feature on the horizon of ordinary folks.
August 10, 11:31 am | [comment link]
4. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:
Or, if European Catholics of the liberal variety actually bothered to attend church regularly and actually showed some productive growth in numbers, maybe the Vatican would be more inclined to listen to what they say.
August 10, 12:44 pm | [comment link]
5. Sarah wrote:
RE: “Influential church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch said he believes Christianity faces a bright future, but predicted the Roman Catholic Church will undergo a major schism over its moral and social teaching.”
Mmm hmmm . . . I think this is “wishing and hoping and dreaming” from the “top church historian”—which is understandable, honestly, considering that under Pope Benedict, the RCs have been greatly strengthened, unified, and are a threat to Dr. MacCulloch’s ideological agenda.
August 10, 2:23 pm | [comment link]
6. driver8 wrote:
1. In general, predicting the future is a mug’s game. Historians above all other people know this.
2. Hence this point needs to be taken with a huge pinch of salt (just like the good Professor’s own guesstimate). However schisms seem to need people who care about religious faith. Revolutions aren’t led by folks who can’t be bothered to get out of bed and actually go to mass.
August 10, 3:47 pm | [comment link]
7. Undergroundpewster wrote:
“However schisms seem to need people who care about religious faith. Revolutions aren’t led by folks who can’t be bothered to get out of bed and actually go to mass.”
Agreed, but if such a schism were to occur, there will be plenty of empty Episcopal church pews available for the “leavers”.
August 10, 5:43 pm | [comment link]
8. tjmcmahon wrote:
I am inclined to think that rather than a “major schism” within the Catholic Church, we will see the continued movement of small numbers of European Catholics to some form of “Catholic Lite.” This will parallel the movement we have seen in the US of a small percentage of liberal Catholics to TEC over the last 40 years. Perhaps great things are in store for Pierre Whalon- his TEC_Europe parishes might start counting congregations in 3 figures as a result of the “huge” influx of revisionist Catholics.
August 10, 7:03 pm | [comment link]
No doubt, if 50,000 European Catholics leave the faith next year for some sort of pseudo Catholic entity with women priests and gay marriage, the media will portray it as another schism on par with 1054 or the Reformation. In reality, it will just be less than 1/20,000th of the membership of the Catholic Church going off to do their own thing.
9. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:
I think that those excited by liberal theology are retiring and will die. They all come from the 60’s and 70’s. this Catholic sees lots of signs of revival and orthodoxy amognst the young
August 11, 2:12 am | [comment link]
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