30 January 2015

May the Salt not Lose Its Savor





"Perhaps the time has come to say farewell to the idea of traditionally Catholic cultures. Maybe we are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the Church’s history, where Christianity will again be characterized more by the mustard seed, where it will exist in small, seemingly insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intensive struggle against evil and bring the good into the world....

"The Church... will be less identified with the great societies, more a minority Church; she will live in small, vital circles of really convinced believers who live their faith. But precisely in this way she will, biblically speaking, become the salt of the earth again."

-- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth

Was this rational deduction, speculation, or prophesy, on the part of the future Pope Benedict XVI? Bishop Fellay has hinted at the last. Whatever the origin, it certainly was in the mind of the Pope at the beginning of his reign. And who knows what the Church will look like at the end of his life, the usual time when papal reigns end?

My family are blessed to be in a small, seemingly insignificant group of believers. I know that there are many readers also so blessed.

God bless all of the small, vital circles of really convinced believers who live their faith!


2 comments:

chantgirl said...

This quote is a postscript from Cardinal Newman's fourth sermon on the Antichrist. I found it to be strikingly similar to Ratzinger's quote and eerily prophetic:



THE above expositions of the teaching of the Fathers on the subject treated, were preached by the Author in the form of Sermons in Advent, 1835, and are illustrated by the following remarkable passage in a letter of Bishop Horsley's, written before the beginning of this century; vide British Magazine, May, 1834.

"The Church of God on earth will be greatly reduced, as we may well imagine, in its apparent numbers, in the times of Antichrist, by the open desertion of the powers of the world. This desertion will begin in a professed indifference to any particular form of Christianity, under the pretence of universal toleration; which toleration will proceed from no true spirit of charity and forbearance, but from a design to undermine Christianity, by multiplying and encouraging sectaries. The pretended toleration will go far beyond a just toleration, even as it regards the different sects of Christians. For governments will pretend an indifference to all, and will give a protection in preference to none. All establishments will be laid aside. From the toleration of the most pestilent heresies, they will proceed to the toleration of Mahometanism, Atheism, and at last to a positive persecution of the truth of Christianity. In these times the Temple of God will be reduced almost to the Holy Place, that is, to the small number of real Christians who worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and regulate their doctrine and their worship, and their whole conduct, strictly by the word of God. The merely nominal {108} Christians will all desert the profession of the truth, when the powers of the world desert it. And this tragical event I take to be typified by the order to St. John to measure the Temple and the Altar, and leave the outer court (national Churches) to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles. The property of the clergy will be pillaged, the public worship insulted and vilified by these deserters of the faith they once professed, who are not called apostates because they never were in earnest in their profession. Their profession was nothing more than a compliance with fashion and public authority. In principle they were always, what they now appear to be, Gentiles. When this general desertion of the faith takes place, then will commence the sackcloth ministry of the witnesses ... There will be nothing of splendour in the external appearance of their churches; they will have no support from governments, no honours, no emoluments, no immunities, no authority, but that which no earthly power can take away, which they derived from Him, who commissioned them to be His witnesses."—B. M., vol. v., p. 520.

June, 1838

chantgirl said...

Here is the link to Newman's sermon:
http://www.newmanreader.org/works/arguments/antichrist/lecture4.html