Bible Alive published an excerpt from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger speaking in 1969 well before he was even thought of as “papabile”. (in the running for the Papacy). His remarks are remarkably prescient for our situation today and give us food for thought – the Church as we know it is changing rapidly – much of what we have come to see as normative is passing away including societal influence – but the more the Church is faithful to her Lord, Jesus Christ, the more she will become indispensable as men and women become alienated from the structures of political and social will around them. You will see that Cardinal Ratzinger is issuing a challenge – to be more authentic and alive. I hope you enjoy reading it.
“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 … nor will it issue from those who take the easier road, who sidestep the passion of faith, … all that makes demands upon men, … 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.
“[This] 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. … 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 … but the priest who is no specialist, who … 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. … 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 centre: 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.
“… 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 … 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.
The Catholic Church will survive in spite of men and women, not necessarily because of them. And yet, we still have our part to do. We must pray for and cultivate unselfishness, self-denial, faithfulness, Sacramental devotion and a life centred on Christ.”
In 2009 Ignatius Press released Father Joseph Ratzinger’s speech “What Will the Church Look Like in 2000” in full, in a book entitled Faith and the Future. It is available in all good booksellers.
With my love and prayers, Fr David
Corpus Christi Day with Bishop Richard
Sunday, June 3rd, St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, GU5 OQX
- 1300 Arrivals and Welcome
Activities: Outside fun, Crafts, Music, Talks
- 1500 Corpus Christi procession with Bp Richard
- 1545 Tea
In order to assist with catering please contact Katherine Bergin to book at email@example.com
The Arundel & Brighton Diocesan Trust is a Registered Charity No. 252878
The 50’s coffee morningswill now be held on the second Wednesday of each month and therefore will take place on 9thMay, 13thJune and 11thJuly. All are welcome and friends will be warmly welcomed.
Congratulations to the April 300 Winners whoare David Barry, the Southwell Family and Bridget Eacott.
“Thank you for your support to our Lent Fast Day appeal.Donations to CAFOD until 12 May will be doubled by the UK Government. We have planned a £5 million programme to combat malnutrition – and with it we hope to be able to reach 245,000 people. But we need the full amount of match funding to make it happen. You can help us reach the full amount needed for this crucial programme. We still have some way to go yet. To donate please go to cafod.org.uk/lent “
“Missio Red Boxes
During 2017 members of the Red Box family in Bramley and Cranleigh have raised the wonderful sum of £1263-40 through the Red Box gifts and direct offerings.
Thank you very much for all your donations which continue to sustain missionary priests and sisters as they share God’s love with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people throughout the world.
If you would like to learn more of the work undertaken at Missio please visit Missio.org.uk.
Enclosed with the newsletter is a copy of the letter received by Missio from Fr Henry, parish priest at St.Thomas’s Church in Malawi. He and his parish community are supported through the Red Box scheme and his photo and the community are on the Thank you poster displayed in the porches of our two churches.
If you don’t already have a Red Box at home and would like one please do contact me.
Thank you again for all your contributions. Fran Pickett
Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, Telephone 01483 276614″
Saturday 28th April – Liturgy Matters!
The Society of St Gregory is holding a Gathering for people involved in parish ministry in St John’s Catholic Cathedral, Portsmouth. There will be talks, liturgies and workshops on planning and preparing for Mass. The three workshops to choose from are on singing and music to accompany the assembly, on preparing the liturgy and the third will explore the prayers we use at Mass in detail. If you would like to go or would like more information, contact Bridget Eacott before 21st April (Tel 892406, email: email@example.com). We are hoping to form a group to go down together.
ADOREMUS National Eucharistic Pilgrimage & Congress in Liverpool 2018 takes place September 7th to 9th. It is a wonderful opportunity for all the Dioceses of England and Wales to come together to reflect on the gift of the Eucharist and the central place it holds in the life and mission of the Church. If you would like to be a Delegate for your Parish contact the Parish office for more information or www.catholicnews.org.uk
Are you interested in exploring a Biblical perspective on Mental health? Would you like to have the opportunity to discuss and find out how the church can respond and help in this vital area in our community? Then come along to a new combined churches Bible study starting with an introductory session on Wednesday 25th April at 7:45 pm. The first session is held at Cranleigh Baptist church with the following six moving venues around the local churches. These are open to all. Contact your church leader or Rosslyn Doney 01483 267720 or just come to the introductory session.
Les Whittaker from East Grinstead Parish is cycling to Walsingham and backto raise money for the pro-life work undertaken by Good Counsel Network. Les will also mark the 50th anniversary of the abortion act by praying 50 rosaries on his journey to Walsingham, 50 whilst there and 50 on the return journey. If you would like to support this cause please see flyer on notice board, or view web page: justgiving.com/fundraising/rosarybikeride