RUSSO: RATZINGER’S PROPHECY, BENEDICT XVI’S PRAYER.
14 Aprile 2020
Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, Benedict XVI is well, even if he leads a life, if possible even more withdrawn and isolated than before, because of the Coronavirus epidemic that has appeared even beyond the high walls of the Vatican. Sergio Russo, the artisan writer you already know, has sent us a reflection on the two persons, the Ratzinger theologian, who prophesied about the future of Christianity and the Church, and the fragile Benedict XVI of now, who supports the Church with his prayer. Good reading.
Yesterday, Ratzinger made a prediction about the Church
Today Benedict, tired and weak,
is praying and suffering for that same Church
By Sergio Russo
Way back in 1969, a young theologian named Joseph Ratzinger, concluding a series of radio lectures he had given, made a truly unique prediction about the future:
“We are at an enormous turning point in the evolution of the human race, a moment to which in comparison the change from the Medieval to the Modern era seems almost insignificant…”
And then, moving on to examine the specific situation of the Church he continued by saying:
“For me it is clear that very difficult times are in store for the Church. Her true crisis has only just arrived. We must expect great upheavals. But what is also certain is what will remain in the end: a Church that is not a political church (that reduces its priests to the role of simple “social workers”), but rather a Church that will restore Faith to the center of her experience.
“And when the healing trials of this period will have been overcome, such a Church, made simpler and yet spiritually enriched, will emerge greater and more firmly grounded…
“As humans evolve into a world that is completely planned and organized, they will find themselves extremely alone, because, having completely lost view of God, they will truly perceive the horror of their own poverty. It will only be then that they will see the “small flock” of believers in a new light, they will see them as a hope of something that has also been destined for them, an answer that they had always secretly been looking for.”
“I think, and in fact I am certain, that the future of the Church will come from people who are profoundly rooted in the pure fullness of faith. There will no longer be those who merely “sit there,” without thinking of the passage of time, or those who continually criticize, supposing that they are infallible measures of everything, nor those who merely take the easiest way, who avoid the impetus of the faith, declaring it false and obsolete, tyrannical and legalistic, or avoiding everything that makes demands, hurts, or requires sacrifice.
“The Church will rather restart from small groups and movements, and from a minority that will restore its true anchor point to the center: faith in the One and Triune God, and in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became man and who promises us life beyond death.
“What remains, therefore, will be only the Church of Christ.”
I was struck greatly by the images from Sunday, March 15, of the Bishop of Rome walking alone (accompanied by his escorts) through the streets of the deserted city of Rome, a scene as unprecedented as it was surreal, and entering a church in the historic center of Rome, one of those historic Roman churches that, only a few days earlier, he sought to close to the faithful (see decree n. 446/20 given by the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal De Donatis, on March 12, in which he decreed “the interdiction of all of the churches of the diocese of Rome to all of the faithful”), a decree which was then promptly reversed, apparently as a result of the strong protests made by the faithful of Rome.
I was also struck a few days later, seeing the same Bishop of Rome on the morning of March 25 reciting the Angelus looking out over an almost completely empty Saint Peter’s Square, almost a concrete image of “desolation”…
Yes, desolation! … And yet there was much more joy and light-heartedness only a short time ago, last October 7, when the so-called fetish of the “pachamama” was carried in procession right into the middle of the sacred and venerable precincts of Saint Peter’s Basilica, the center of Christianity, the holy place par excellence.
According to some authoritative and competent commenters, what took place that day in the basilica that is bathed with the blood of the martyrs and that over the centuries has witnessed many august and sacred rites, was a true and proper “abomination”…
Yes, abomination! … Is there perhaps a certain correlation between these two concepts: abomination and desolation, and is the one perhaps a consequence of the other?
Well, I find now that inevitably I call to mind those grave and enigmatic words of the Lord Jesus which he said about the end times: “When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)…” (Mt 24:15).
And what did the prophet Daniel have to say about this?
The prophet says: “Half the week he shall abolish sacrifice and offering: In their place shall be the desolating abomination…They will abolish the daily sacrifice and in its place shall be the devastating abomination… From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the desolating abomination is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days…”
And so right now I am only making a very brief and concise comment on the aforementioned words of the Prophet. I am only saying that we do not know “yet” exactly what the devastating abomination will be. As for the abomination of desolation, I have tried to give it a timid and hypothetical interpretation. And finally, for the abolition of the daily sacrifice, at the moment we can only have a pale and partial idea of it thanks to the prohibition made by the bishops and the state ordering the faithful and priests from participating together in any sort of religious service, first and foremost the Holy Mass, under pain of denunciations and very high fines…
I conclude with two scenes (taken from the text of the “third secret of Fatima” that was solemnly made public by Saint John Paul II on June 26, 2000) and that I keep calling to mind as I see day after day in the media what is presently taking place… “Something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it: a Bishop dressed in white…” And this scene brings to my mind Pope Francis who, as soon as he was elected, presented himself to the faithful as the new “Bishop in Rome” who arrived there from the end of the world, and yet who never seems to want to detach himself from this world taken just as it is, as he preaches about environmental and ecological themes, global warming, etc.
And in the other scene, in contrast, we see “The Holy Father passing through a big city half in ruins, half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, on his knees…” And here I seem to see the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, completely absorbed in prayer, and who is already able to glimpse joyfully, even in the midst of his present tears and suffering, the dawn of that Church that he himself predicted would one day come, that “with faith and perseverance is restoring its true anchor point to the center: faith in the One and Triune God, and in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became man and who promises us life beyond death.”
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino @pellegrino2020
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