Friday, August 27, 2010
The relevance of the laity received the greatest emphasis
in the sectarian apostolic movements after the 12th century,
and especially in the 14th century through Wycliffe. The
specific significance of this peculiar set of protests and
movements is that their inspiration was purely religious. They
squarely confronted the "ecclesiastical-hierarchical" line with
the "biblical" one. They were, of course, not wholly unaffected
by repercussions of the conflict between the worldly-conceived
papal theocracy and the nationalistic demands of the nations
and their rulers for an independent status, but their heart lay
really with a reform of the Church in the light of the Word of God.
fn. Looking back on these struggles, one is again and again
struck by the daring and independence of mind shown in the
Middle Ages, a time which is always considered to be marked by
submissiveness, especially to authority claimed on religious
grounds as necessary to salvation. This amazement increases
when one takes into consideration our own time, which regards
itself by definition as the time of non-submissiveness.
Nevertheless, whatever movements of protest and conflict there
may be to-day against the hierarchy, they are very weak in
daring and independence in comparison with those of the Middle
Ages. In our secularistic age, in which submissiveness is
devalued on principle, submissiveness to the hierarchical
claims of the Church has never before been so undisputed.
... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity,
London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 60-61
Lord, Truly lead Your church.
photo taken of Ely Cathedral, Ely, UK
in the fog