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Church at the Crossroads

What will die? What will survive? What will last?


Prophetic Foresight: What Joseph Ratzinger saw coming decades ago 

He's been called the “Mozart of Theology”,and he’s likewise always been a keen observer of current events. When it comes to anticipating developments in the Church and society, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has demonstrated near prophetic foresight. Texts that were published decades ago read as if they were written today. Much of what Ratzinger wrote at the time is either already the reality we live in or is just now starting to come about.

One example of the prophetic power of his thinking is the text we are offering for download on the occasion of Benedict XVI’s 95th birthday. The text is from a lecture broadcast in 1969 on the German radio station Hessischer Rundfunk. We’re releasing it in a slightly abridged version. The topic was “What will the Church look like in the year 2000?” Ratzinger’s answers are striking in their relevance to the present.

After he was elected pope, the German newspaper Tagespost commented that Benedict XVI embodied an intellectual depth and focus that was urgently needed amid the superficiality of our time. The text below is a perfect demonstration of this. It shows a theologian who is ahead of his time precisely because he does not follow the spirit of his age. Even more, it documents the fact that, amidst all the dramatic upheavals and collapses that he saw coming, Ratzinger’s focus was already focused on renewal, on that which would last. If you want to know where these things are to be found, you can read it from Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.