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." He predicted that Catholicism faces a division over attempts by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to "rewrite the story" of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council by portraying it as a "minor adjustment" in church governance, rather than as a "radical move to change the way authority is expressed."