Paul writes – I was struck by the following, a quote within a quote from the June 7th 2010 issue of Time Magazine. The article I’m referencing was the feature article on the Papacy and trouble besetting the world-wide Catholic Church
“…One vision for the future echoes from the past. A conservative website is circulating a prophecy uttered by a 42-year old Catholic theologian in 1969, amid the turmoil of that year of radicalism and barricades.
The priest envisaged a post-imperial papacy, shorn of wealth and pretences of earthly power. “From today’s crisis, a church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a great deal,” he said on German radio. “She will be small and, to a large extent, will have to start from the beginning. She will not longer be able to fill many of the buildings created in her period of great splendor. Because of the smaller number of her followers she will lose many of her priviledges in society. Contrary to what has happened until now, she will present herself much more as a community of followers… As a small community, she will demand much more from the initiative of each of her members and she will certainly also acknowledge new forms of ministry and will raise up to the priesthood proven Christians who have other jobs… It will make her poor and a church of the little people… All this will require time. The process will be slow and painful.”
The theologian was Joseph Ratzinger. And his vision from 40 years ago may now unfold in ways he could never have imagined…”
I can’t see these kinds of changes happening anytime soon – well not in my lifetime. Invariably the potentially radically nature of such a vision gets undermined by lesser dreams, pragmatism and political obstructions.