Thinking allowed

The Great Schism

This morning I listened to another programme in the BBC Radio 4 series, In Our Time. This must be the best programme on the radio, and this week it looked at the Great Schism between the eastern and western Church, concentrated in the mutual excommunication in 1054.

What is even more remarkable is the relevance of much of what they were talking about to the current goings-on at Lambeth. Here we had a dispute primarily about authority, and about a shift in the balance of power, from the ‘old church’ in the Greek-speaking east, towards the Latin-speaking west, culiminating a determination by the up-and-coming west and its patriarch at Rome to concentrate authority in its hands, rather than sharing it in a more democratic ‘first among equals’ basis.

My only caveat would be to wonder about the authority of an ‘expert’ who thinks that communion in one kind, increasingly practised in the West, meant that the laity were limited to receiving only the chalice, and not the bread — a statement which no one corrected.

Anyway, the broadcast is worth listening to, whether or not you see any parallels, or whether you agree with my suggested parallels (perhaps it’s like a good sermon, which every listener thinks is directed solely at them). Then, if you haven’t done so before, enjoy youself browsing through the archives listening to previous broadcasts over the last couple of years.