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By James T. Majewski, Catholic Culture, Feb 27, 2021
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“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.”
In 1969, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger gave a radio address in which he made some predictions for the Church heading into the new millennium. The notion often attributed to him—that the church would become “smaller and purer”—is derived from this speech.
Interestingly, the phrase “smaller and purer” does not actually occur anywhere in the address. In fact, “smaller and purer” has often been misconstrued to suggest that Ratzinger wanted to drive people away from the Church. Instead, what Ratzinger does say is that the Church of tomorrow will be “a more spiritualized and simplified Church.” Far from driving people away, this Church, sifted through the crucible of trials, will be discovered by those outside of it as something wholly new and attractive. ….