The following was a prophecy made by Father Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI) on the future of the Catholic Church. The prophecy was made in 1969. I provided the weblink below so one can read the entire article. According to the weblink below (the bold is mine):
Pope Benedict on the Future of the Church
In 1969 Father Joseph Ratzinger gave a series of five prophetic radio talks in which he discussed the future of the Church
Professor Ratzinger said he was convinced the Church was going through an era similar to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. He said:
“We are at a huge turning point in the evolution of mankind. This moment makes the move from Medieval to modern times seem insignificant.”
He compared the current era to that of Pope Pius VI who was abducted by troops of the French Republic and died in prison in 1799. He said:
“At that time the Church was fighting against a force which intended to annihilate it definitively, confiscating its property and dissolving religious orders.
Today’s Church could be faced with a similar situation, undermined, by the temptation to reduce priests to “social workers” and it and all its work reduced to a mere political presence.”
“From today’s crisis, will emerge a Church that has lost a great deal,” he affirmed.
Mustard seed Church
Here is the really prophetic part of his talk:
The Church will become small and will have to start pretty much all over again.
It will no longer have use of the structures it built in its years of prosperity.
The reduction in the number of faithful will lead to it losing an important part of its social privileges.”
Professor Ratzinger said 44 years ago in 1969:
“The time has come to say farewell to the idea of traditionally Catholic cultures. We are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the Church’s history, where Christianity will again be characterised more by the mustard seed, where the Church will exist in small, insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intensive struggle against evil and bring the good into the world–that let God in.”
“It will start off with small groups and movements and a minority that will make faith central to experience again”.
“It will be a more spiritual Church, and will not claim a political mandate flirting with the Right one minute and the Left the next. The Church will be poor and will become the Church of the destitute.”
This process – which I think we’re undergoing now – will be a long one.
Fr Ratzinger expressed the certain hope that after the suffering is past a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simple Church.