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Quotes from Papa Ratzinger AD 1969 March 8, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Papa, persecution.

Before he was Papa, before he was a Cardinal, back when he was still a post-council experten – Pope Benedict XVI made these comments in Faith and the Future in 1969:

The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. [amazing to say that just 4 years after the close of the Council]

She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….[Sooo……the Pope has been saying the same things for over 40 years]

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . 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.

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun.[!!!!] We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.

As always, the Pope’s comments are interesting.  I almost wonder if there’s been a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy here?  Was it so certain in 1957 – when the Pope also held these thoughts – that the bastions must be torn down and a poor, pilgrim Church emerge?  Or was the Church directed – led – to become poor and pilgrim?

The very earliest Church was not very involved in politics – but the very earliest Church also thought the world was going to end very soon.  After the Roman Empire collapsed, the Church took up some bit of slack because it had to.  But if the Church is what it claims to be – the Mystical Body of Christ on earth – then it must have certain rights, and those rights will at times put it in conflict with political power.  The Church, when large and vibrant with many believing, practicing members – will always be a political power, it cannot help to be, because politicians will have to cater to the beliefs of the Church body politic.  That is how the Church managed to civilize the barbarian Merovingians and Saxons and others.  Wishing that it not be “powerful” in some sense seems a path to doom it to not be.

Anyone have any thoughts?  Were the proto-Pope’s comments descriptive – or prescriptive?  I think to some small extent where we are at now as a Church was inevitable, but I think much of the collapse of influence and practice of the Faith could have been stemmed with the more traditional philosophy which had been in place for centuries prior to 1950 or so.  Is it possible the Church has fallen in large extent because there was a philosophical force within the Church that wanted to see it smaller and poorer and less “triumphal?” 

50 years ago, I’m not sure the Church had to become smaller or lose influence.  But much has happened since then. Trends that were stoppable 50 years ago may no longer be.  The center may no longer hold.

h/t Marge N


1. Teresa Rice - March 8, 2012

I think the dissenters need to be purged from the Church. Praying for their conversion is very important but we must not let those who advocate for dissent from Church teachings to negatively influence others. A smaller more true to the faith Catholic Church may be a good thing. God Bless.

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