"A Smaller Church" by Pope Benedict XVI


Pope Benedict XVI

The church 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 . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . .

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.

— from Faith and the Future (2009)


I remember when he wrote that.

I don’t think I’ll see it in my lifetime but it seems to be coming to that point.


I love Pope Benedict XVI. It must be very painful for him to see everything that is going on in the Church, today. :frowning_face:


I love him too.

It’s a shame how he was treated for lifting the excommunications of the SSPX Bishops.

From his letter to The Bishop’s of the Church

“Certainly, for some time now, and once again on this specific occasion, we have heard from some representatives of that community many unpleasant things – arrogance and presumptuousness, an obsession with one-sided positions, etc. Yet to tell the truth, I must add that I have also received a number of touching testimonials of gratitude which clearly showed an openness of heart. But should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas? And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.”

Full text here



This was very much a part of Pope Benedict’s thinking .

“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.”


That’s a very powerful prophecy. It rings with truth, and we are seeing it start to unfold rapidly in our times.


That wasn’t a prophecy. It was an acknowledgement of the present at that time, and perhaps a little bit of insider knowledge about the Vatican’s cover ups coming out. What Pope Benedict XVI described had already happened, he even acknowledged that, but he was simply saying that there is more to come, and that the worst is probably yet to come. That’s not a prophecy…it’s common sense, or perhaps a heads up, from an insider - the top insider.


In our pro diversity culture, Anti Catholicism is the one remaining respected bigotry.


Bigotry is not persecution but it well may be coming.

This was played on Australian Television not so long ago by the Government ‘controlled’ Station.


When you get into hysterical fits about “persecution”, you look as silly as the peasant in Monty Python’s Holy Grail who goes on about being repressed.



Commenter’s comment was about bigotry, not persecution and I am not sure exactly who is in a hysterical fit. Me?


I have read more bigotry directed towards Catholics on this site alone than I have ever read anywhere else. And the sad thing is that bigotry comes from other Catholics.


ok, lets go in that direction.

I am interested in the type of bigotry against Catholics you have heard on this site from other Catholics.

I think Commenter is probably referring to secular laws taking Christianity out of schools, politics, media and hospitals and the such and the replacement with a secular religion of political correctness. I think this type process trumps what someone might say on a forum, though I am interested in hearing the anti Catholic things that are being said by Catholics.

Thank you and regards.


well ok then. Take care.


Thats easy

Catholics who do Centering Prayer are treated as heretics

Catholics who love the Novus Ordo and Vatican II, are treated as heretics

Catholics who do yoga, will become demonically possessed

And of course, Pope Francis isn’t treated all that well by everyone in this forum

Now we have the self-titled “traditionalists,” whining about being persecuted, when they were the largest persecutors of Catholics in this forum



Contrary Answers Forums!!!


I expect this too. The True Church, that is. But how does a huge Church, as the RCC is now, become a small church? There are only two possible ways. First, members abandon the Church in very large numbers, leaving behind only a small remainder. Second, a small number of members leave to set up their own church, thus forming what appears to be an apparently “schismatic” sect, but in fact they are the true inheritors of the faith. Thus, the new small church would actually be the Church

Of these two, I must say that the second seems more plausible. Why? Because the RCC as we know her seems to navigate by her preference for “heresy over schism”, as one CAF user put it. When faced with dissenters in her ranks, the RCC tends to accomodate the dissenters, not send them away. Therefore it is unlikely that large numbers of members would ever feel that they would have to leave. It is more likely that small groups of members would feel the need to leave, precisely because this “spirit of tolerance” is something they can no longer accept. Of course this has already happened many times, but so far it appears that those schismatic movements were unable to take the true deposit of faith with them, so it remained with the visible Mother Church. That’s no guarantee for the future, however…


Pretty strong words Jim. I’ll take your word for it and also make a note to throw away the yoga book. :slight_smile:

I think of myself as a Traditional Catholic but would baulk at calling rank and file Catholics heretics. I would probably reserve that word for Highly influential Catholics acting out spiritual lives contrary to the Church and teaching other Catholics to also do so.

I have known a handful of Catholics in the education system in Australia doing something similar but haven’t thought of any of them as heretics and they haven’t been high profile. (eg, wanting to teach Harry Potter in religion class and not the gospels).

There were at least two professors teaching Theology at a Catholic University in Sydney and I just thought of them as Feminist Atheists pretending to be Catholic in order to teach Catholic teachers.
(eg not believing Jesus is part of the Trinity and arguing for Jesus to be taken out of religion class and other religions to be given equal weight, rejecting the primacy of the pope, rejecting ANY miracles and rejecting ALL prophecy and so much more I’d be here for hours listing it all).

I guess in theory they could be called heretics but I honestly didn’t see them as Catholic.

There were also a group of nuns that went off the reservation where my mother worked. The good ones left and the others became less Catholic year after year. (eg. When they prayed in the morning the ‘Our Father’ they would explicitly change it to ‘Our Mother’ and make all nuns follow suit. Later they started praying Buddhist prayers and ejected the Christian ones). I guess theoretically these nuns might have been heretics also but I just thought of them as easily led and falling for the Feminist / modernising / equality culture which basically leads to anti Christianity and eventually atheism. I expect their order is on its last legs now as any new prospective nuns leave very soon after discovering what they are all about.


I agree, and would add that that is what occurred in other churches such as the Epicopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, and the Presbyterian Church (USA), and is bound to happen with the United Methodist Church and others.

The traddies and a lot of the more right-wing conservatives will eventual spin off into a bunch of tiny, contentious sedevacantist and conclavist splinter groups. The process is already underway.


Don’t forget those “protestant” Charismatic Catholics!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.