Ratzinger’s prophecy about the future of the church is coming true today: “Men will indeed be unspeakably lonely in a totally planned world…” The One Time Our Lady Spoke of “loneliness”

Men will indeed be unspeakably lonely in a totally planned world. They will experience, when God is entirely gone for them , their total and fearful poverty. They will then discover the small community of believers as something totally new ”- concluded the then Fr Joseph Ratzinger.

It was Christmas Eve 1969 when the then Fr Joseph Ratzinger, at the end of a series of conferences, tried to give an explanation on the future of the Church.


Joseph Ratzinger – photo web source

“Where can the strength for the Church to go forward come from?” – Ratzinger asked himself. A prophecy about what would happen in the following years.

Joseph Ratzinger: “What will the future of the Church be”

” The future of the Church can only come from the strength of those who have deep roots and live with a pure fullness of their faith ” – explained Fr Joseph Ratzinger . On Christmas Eve 1969, a cycle of radio conferences ended on a radio station in Bavaria, where the priest himself was a guest.

The Church, its uncertain present and its future dismayed by events that could also have made her jump. “ Faith will not come from those who from time to time adapt to the passing moment, from those who only criticize others, but who consider themselves an infallible measure. Nor will it come from those who choose only the most comfortable path, who avoid the passion of faith ”- explained Ratzinger.

The future of the Church in the hands of the new Saints

The future of the Church will come from those whom Don Joseph himself indicated with the nickname of “new Saints”: ” From men whose capacity for perception goes beyond sentences , from men who know how to see further than others [ …] If today it is still difficult for us to perceive God, this depends on the fact that it has become too easy for us to avoid ourselves and flee from the depths of our existence ”.

The difficulty of perceiving God and seeing the Church that is being reduced only to the celebration “as if it were a simple daily action”: ” A Church that celebrates the cult of action is of no use to us. It is completely superfluous. And for this it will set by itself. We remain the church of Jesus Christ, the church that believes in God who became man and who promises us life beyond death ”.

Ratzinger: “The crisis facing the Church”

But what is the crisis that the Church is facing at this rate? “ This time from today’s crisis a church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a lot. It will get smaller, it will have to start all over again.

It will no longer be able to fill many of the buildings it had erected […] It will also lose many of its privileges in society […] Certainly it will also experience new forms of ministry and will ordain priests of tried Christians who exercise a profession ”.

Medjugorje Message, November 2, 2011 –

Apparitions to Mirjana
“Dear children, the Father has not left you to yourselves. Immeasurable is His love, the love that is bringing me to you, to help you to come to know Him, so that, through my Son, all of you can call Him ‘Father’ with the fullness of heart; that you can be one people in God’s family. However, my children, do not forget that you are not in this world only for yourselves, and that I am not calling you here only for your sake. Those who follow my Son think of the brother in Christ as of their very selves and they do not know selfishness. That is why I desire that you be the light of my Son. That to all those who have not come to know the Father – to all those who wander in the darkness of sin, despair, pain and loneliness – you may illuminate the way and that, with your life, you may show them the love of God. I am with you. If you open your hearts, I will lead you. Again I am calling you: pray for your shepherds. Thank you. ”

Ratzinger’s prophecy

An observation that today appears to be a prophecy for the Church of our century: “And it will do this with difficulty, it will make it poor, it will make it a church of the little ones. But after the test, a great force will emerge from an internalized and simplified church.

Men will indeed be unspeakably lonely in a totally planned world. They will experience, when God is entirely gone for them , their total and fearful poverty. They will then discover the small community of believers as something totally new ”- concluded the then Fr Joseph Ratzinger.


In 2009, Ignatius Press released Father Ratzinger’s speech “What Will the Church Look Like in 2000” in full, in a book titled Faith and the Future along with a collection of his other teachings from the time.

The transcription the 1969 radio broadcast in full is below:

“The future of the Church can and will issue from those whose roots are deep and who live from the pure fullness of their faith. It will not issue from those who accommodate themselves merely to the passing moment or from those who merely criticize others and assume that they themselves are infallible measuring rods; nor will it issue from those who take the easier road, who sidestep the passion of faith, declaring false and obsolete, tyrannous and legalistic, all that makes demands upon men, that hurts them and compels them to sacrifice themselves.

To put this more positively: The future of the Church, once again as always, will be reshaped by saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality. Unselfishness, which makes men free, is attained only through the patience of small daily acts of self-denial. By this daily passion, which alone reveals to a man in how many ways he is enslaved by his own ego, by this daily passion and by it alone, a man’s eyes are slowly opened. He sees only to the extent that he has lived and suffered.

If today we are scarcely able any longer to become aware of God, that is because we find it so easy to evade ourselves, to flee from the depths of our being by means of the narcotic of some pleasure or other. Thus our own interior depths remain closed to us. If it is true that a man can see only with his heart, then how blind we are!

How does all this affect the problem we are examining? It means that the big talk of those who prophesy a Church without God and without faith is all empty chatter. We have no need of a Church that celebrates the cult of action in political prayers. It is utterly superfluous. Therefore, it will destroy itself. What will remain is the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church that believes in the God who has become man and promises us life beyond death. The kind of priest who is no more than a social worker can be replaced by the psychotherapist and other specialists; but the priest who is no specialist, who does not stand on the [sidelines], watching the game, giving official advice, but in the name of God places himself at the disposal of man, who is beside them in their sorrows, in their joys, in their hope and in their fear, such a priest will certainly be needed in the future.

Let us go a step farther. From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along-side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize the sacraments as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship.

The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. 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 all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time. 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 — to the renewal of the nineteenth century.

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. It may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but it will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”