In a little-known radio speeche in 1969, called“Faith and the Future ”, Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, offered his vision on the future of man and the Church.
Cardinal Ratzinger, in his prophecy, said he was convinced that the Church is living in an era similar to the one following the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. “We are at a huge turning point.
Cardinal Ratzinger compared the present era with that of Pope Pius VI who was kidnapped by the troops of the French Republic and died in captivity in 1799.
The Church had then found itself struggling with a force that intended to extinguish it forever, had seen its assets confiscated and religious orders dissolved.
A condition not very different, he explained, could await the Church today.
According to Ratzinger society is reducing the priests to “social workers” and their work to mere political presence.
“From today’s crisis – he said – there will emerge a Church that has lost a lot.
It will become small and will have to start more or less from the beginning.
The Church will no longer be able to inhabit the buildings they built in times of prosperity.
With the diminishing of its faithful, it will also lose much of the social privileges “.
It will start again from small groups, from movements and from a minority that will put faith back at the center of experience.
“It will be a more spiritual Church, which will not assume a political mandate by now flirting with the Left and now with the Right.
It will be poor and will become the Church of the indigent “.
What Cardinal Ratzinger outlined was “a long process, there will be an enormous upheaval, but after all has passed, a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simplified Church”.
At that point the unbelievers will discover they are living in a world of “indescribable solitude” and having lost sight of God, “they will feel the horror of their poverty”.
Then, and only then, Ratzinger concluded, will they see “that little flock of believers as something totally new: they will discover it as a hope for themselves, the answer they had always sought in secret”.