Skip to comments.Ratzinger's forgotten prophesy (sic) on the future of the Church
Posted on 02/23/2013 12:12:55 PM PST by Salvation
A restructured Church with far fewer members that is forced to let go of many places of worship it worked so hard to build over the centuries. A minority Catholic Church with little influence over political decisions, that is socially irrelevant, left humiliated and forced to start over.
But a Church that will find itself again and be reborn a simpler and more spiritual entity thanks to this enormous confusion. This was the prophesy made 40 years ago on the future of Christianity by a young Bavarian theologian, Joseph Ratzinger. Digging it out again today perhaps provides us with another key to understanding Benedict XVI's decision to resign, because it traces his gesture back through the course of his interpretation of history.
His prophesy concluded a series of radio preachings which the then professor of theology gave in 1969 at what was a decisive moment in his life and the life of the Church. These were the turbulent years of the student revolts and the landing on the moon but also of the disputes over the Second Vatican Council which had only recently come to a close. Ratzinger, who was one of the Council's protagonists, had left the riotous university of Tübingen seeking refuge in the calmer city of Regensburg.
He found himself isolated as a theologian, having split with liberals Küng, Schillebeeckx and Rahner over their interpretations of the Council. It was in this period that he concolidated new friendships with theologians Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac, with whom he founded Catholic theological journal, Communio. Communio soon became a training ground for young Ratzingerian priests who are now cardinals and all seen as potential successors to Benedict XVI: Angelo Scola, Christoph Schönborn and Marc Ouellet.
In five little known radio speeches made in 1969 and published again a while ago by Ignatius Press in the volume Faith and the Future, the future Pope gave his vision of the future of man and the Church. His last teaching, which he read out on Hessian Rundfunk radio on Christmas day, had a distinctly prophetic tone.
Ratzinger said he was convinced the Church was going through an era similar to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. We are at a huge turning point he explained in the evolution of mankind. This moment makes the move from Medieval to modern times seem insignificant. Professor Ratzinger compared the current era to that of Pope Pius VI who was abducted by troops of the French Republic and died in prison in 1799. The Church was fighting against a force which intended to annihilate it definitively, confiscating its property and dissolving religious orders.
Today's Church could be faced with a similar situation, undermined, according to Ratzinger, by the temptation to reduce priests to social workers and it and all its work reduced to a mere political presence. From today's crisis, will emerge a Church that has lost a great deal, he affirmed.
It will become small and will have to start pretty much all over again. It will no longer have use of the structures it built in its years of prosperity. The reduction in the number of faithful will lead to it losing an important part of its social privileges. It will start off with small groups and movements and a minority that will make faith central to experience again. It will be a more spiritual Church, and will not claim a political mandate flirting with the Right one minute and the Left the next. It will be poor and will become the Church of the destitute.
The process outlined by Ratzinger was a long one but when all the suffering is past, a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simple Church, at which point humans will realise that they live in a world of indescribable solitude and having lost sight of God they will perceive the horror of their poverty.
Then and only then, Ratzinger concluded, will they see that small flock of faithful as something completely new: they will see it as a source of hope for themselves, the answer they had always secretly been searching for.
**The process outlined by Ratzinger was a long one but when all the suffering is past, a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simple Church, at which point humans will realise that they live in a world of indescribable solitude and having lost sight of God they will perceive the horror of their poverty.
Then and only then, Ratzinger concluded, will they see that small flock of faithful as something completely new: they will see it as a source of hope for themselves, the answer they had always secretly been searching for.**
Ratzingers books ‘The Faith and the Future’
This is a so so book, one that saw reprint recently because of Benedicts successful ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ series, as what it contains could have been properly digested down to a magazine length article with a near equivalent buildup and conclusion, at least for the general reader. The conclusion or last chapter ‘What Will the Church Look Like in 2000?’ elucidates of a smaller church and saints being necessary.
But philosophies(modernism,liberalism) have consequences and the great and conservative Catholic philosophers(Ratzinger/Benedict included) have been seeing the path that ‘modernism’ has been following as the final fulfillment of ‘The Great Enlightenment’ and there will be Catholic blood in the streets—again! Unfortunately, this book only elucidates on that previous sentence(my sentence/words) in only a poor or maybe fair(poor to fair) way with other materials in print, from that time and most certainly today, doing a much better job.
If Ratzinger was being prophetic in 69’, then everyone seeing the church fall apart in the 60’s and 70’s would be prophetic too. The books last chapter , titled:
‘What Will the Church Look Like in 2000?’ is a bit off the prophetic year mark.
The book contains a few quotable nuggets and he’s the Pope, and thats why people buzz and talk about it.
Prophecy or prediction?
It seems like something a lot of churches were predicting back in the 60s and 70s.
May I add pick and choose the non-Catholic songs they want to sing to that a homo who outed himself will get the royalty payments?
Makes me sick to see that name on a song!
May Archbishop Designate Alexander K. Sample reform the OCP!
OMG!!! OMG!!! Add to it what Francis Cardinal George said about his successor will be imprisoned and that the next successor will be MARTYRED!!!
Whose name? What songs?
Is the entire transcript available somewhere ?
The prophecy resonates well with both the Third Secret of Fatima and +Malachy’s prophecy of “Roman Peter”.
Very prescient! The true church today us only a remnant. Even smaller than one can even consider in Europe. Less than 5% claim to be Christian, and you know that some have only head knowledge, not a personal relationship. Even in America, the number who call themselves Christians seem high, but when the pollsters move along into faith questions, truly MANY are totally clueless. They deny the claims of Christ, they don’t believe He is God’s only way to Himself. They believe all kinds of superstitious stuff and know very little about the stuff that is necessary to have faith. We are at a point in American history where we have “faith”, but have no clue as to what that faith is about. Faith in faith alone will not save one.
"But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret."
--Faith and the Future
This seems less a prophecy than a comforting, reassuring rationalization that offers the hope of a purer and better faith as consolation for the decline of the cultural strength of Roman Catholic Church and Christianity in general. Yet, in the meanwhile, multitudes will have been led astray, and there is no certainty that decline will be followed by renewal and a return to former strength.
why are you sending this stuff to me?
Very interesting. I had come across that 1969 quotation a while back, and I found it to be a remarkable prognostication in light of the road the Ratzinger himself ended up traveling over the next 40+ years.