CRHP Real time Reflection Question: How important is humility?
PONTIFF'S OWN PROPHECY SAW TRANSFORMATION COMING TO CHURCH AFTER TIME OF TRIAL, PAIN
The Roman Catholic Church is in no danger of collapse (it is the Rock) but the hierarchy may see some change. Never since the onset of mass media has there been so much open and harsh criticism of the Vatican along with local cardinals and bishops nor quite the anger among the flock yet the shepherds too will come through the storm, if guided with humility. In fact, Easter Masses around the world were full to overflowing -- in many cases, the most vigorous attendance in memory, as if nearly in defiance of the attacks or because many suddenly appreciated what is at risk and in other cases were drawn for the first time to Catholicism and its vast spiritual richness. In the archdiocese of Baltimore, a record 1,090 new Catholics were confirmed at the Easter Vigil Saturday. This is not a Church on the ropes but one that is beginning a breakdown and purification -- a simplification, which will also be experienced by other segments of society and which should be welcomed, as the spirits of institutionalism and bureaucracy give way to the Spirit of Jesus. Anyone who believes that newspapers or nations or armies can harm the Church do not know its history nor its Savior. It has endured worst. This is a major historic scandal. It happens every few centuries. Every time it does, there is the call to simplicity (and the charisms of Jesus). There are persecutions. There is purification. It is a Church that will rise strongest when bishops walk the mean streets laying hands on the infirm exorcising those with unclean spirits (however "legion," including in the seminaries). It was thought that humility would take root eight years ago when scandals first broke in a big way and perhaps there will be round after round of scandals until humility there is. What the hierarchy must reckon is the way we have strayed from the miraculous ascetic path of Christ. Ironic it is that a media so heavily promotional of homosexuality is so ardently against the Church for crimes largely committed (eighty percent of the abuse cases) by gay clergy. The Church problem is a gay problem. No homosexuals, active or otherwise, belong in ministry (unless they go through deliverance and no longer are afflicted, innocently or not, by that spirit). Ironic it also is that some abuse victims will hold a "reformation" rally on the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (which is October 31: Halloween). In Rome in 1975 at a huge charismatic gathering were several prophecies that "dealt with a time of darkness coming," recalled one participant, "a time when supports that you depend on would no longer be there, things you've depended on, resources, buildings, people, and finances, all that kind of thing, will be taken from you. And then a time of evangelism will follow such as the world has never seen [see more here]." The prophecies were given at the high altar in St. Peter's Basilica (during what we now know but did not then was the height of clergy abusing those poor youngsters, for whom we should pray much). When he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope once remarked that he was most concerned about a pure Church and not so much a large Church and that it may even be better if it gets smaller -- contracting into what others might think of as a "remnant." It is not yet clear if it will shrink into a remnant or see a transformation of its structure (or both). Bad popes? We have had them. We have had popes who collected money in actual piles (from priests who paid a fee if they wanted to marry) or themselves were accused of assault (in one case, of a nun). Humans are humans. It is errant to think anyone but Jesus is perfect. But we have anything but a bad Pope and our hierarchy is not beyond remedy and despite what has occurred, to that hierarchy we must remain obedient.
"From today’s crisis, a Church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a great deal. She will be small and, to a large extent, will have to start from the beginning. She will no longer be able to fill many of the buildings created in her period of great splendor. Because of the smaller number of her followers, she will lose many of her privileges in society. Contrary to what has happened until now, she will present herself much more as a community of volunteers... As a small community, she will demand much more from the initiative of each of her members and she will certainly also acknowledge new forms of ministry and will raise up to the priesthood proven Christians who have other jobs... There will be an interiorized Church, which neither takes advantage of its political mandate nor flirts with the left or the right. This will be achieved with effort because the process of crystallization and clarification will demand great exertion. It will make her poor and a Church of the little people... All this will require time. The process will be slow and painful."
In 1969, that, in a series of radio lectures, broadcast in Bavaria, was Cardinal Ratzinger's own prophecy.