ROME Joseph Ratzinger, as a theologian and cardinal, returned to the question often over the years. And now that he is Pope Benedict XVI, his paper trail on the issue provokes skepticism about him among more liberal Roman Catholics. The question, in his own words: "Is the church really going to get smaller?"
At another point, in an interview published in 1997 in "Salt of the Earth," he explained it this way: "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 intense struggle against evil and bring good into the world – that let God in."
The standard argument is that Benedict "wants a more fervent, orthodox, evangelical church – even if it drives people away," as a New Yorker headline put it recently.
Today Pope Benedict XVI revealed what he really meant and that he is ready for and committed to a smaller church as he presented a prototype smaller church. The large crowd at St. Peters square was stunned into silence as they pondered the meaning of a smaller church and that the idea will get some getting use to. Though some commented that it would sure cut down on maintenance and A/C and heating costs.
Critics have pointed out that even with the declining size of the priesthood that they would still not fit in this new church.
Some might consider this to be a radical idea, yet back in 1991 eminent American theologian Avery Cardinal Dulles anticipated this when he wrote Models of the Church.
Cardinal Mahoney of the Diocese of Los Angeles was also prepared to be in line with the Pope as he introduces his new smaller church which will be much more affordable considering all of the law suits he is going to need to settle. His liturgical scientists are still perfecting a way a way to miniaturize liturgical dancers through a technique similar to the what was in the movie Fantastic Voyage.
The smaller cathedral is also available for a price of $22 at the gift store.
If only that Oakland cathedral could remain a tiny model… although then it might be mistaken for an albino Venus fly trap…
I’m all for cleaning house at this point. Liberals get the barns and community centers, and the orthodox get all of the older churches and cathedralss. Heck, they can have all of the banners and rissen Christ crusifixes they want, and the orthodox can have all of the statues, and holy water fonts. If becoming smaller means a tighter hold of the church’s teaching and we go back to tradition and respect for the commandments, I say bring it.
What a lovely complement to my viewing of Spinal Tap last night….just for the 18″ Stonehenge scene. (That scene always cracks me up….and the smaller church is the perfect segue!)
Did Cardinal Dulles put out a new edition of ‘Models of the Church’ in 1991? I think he originally wrote that book back in the 1970s. Perhaps I’m wrong.
maHONEY, I shrunk the Church.
Does that mean that “liberals” will get the Santo Volto di Lucca?
That bottom picture with that –what is she?– Mary Poppins wannabe, just about made me choke on my coffee. You are too much, man! Keep it up!
That “Mary Poppins wannabe,” as you put it, is a “liturgical dancer” from Cardinal Mahony’s infamous Religious Education Congress in Anaheim. You’ll find more on her at my blog.
The Cardinal has a last name, it’s …
Actually, the Cardinal may be in luck. The bottom photo reminded me of a long-closed ride at Disneyland (which was called something like “Monsanto presents Adventures in Inner Space”) which did shrink people. If it still exists, it would be just the ticket.
I want a big AND faithful Church. Am I being greedy?
I come from the second smallest state in the union. We’re not even significant enough to rate the smallest. We have slogans like: “Small… but Mighty,” and “Delaware. Small Wonder.” This is supposed to make us feel better about presidential candidates who stop by to use the bathroom on their way to Baltimore or Philadelphia.
Sigh. So pardon me if I smart a bit on being smaller.
I heard reference to the new Cathedral in LA as the “Taj Mahoney”, given it stands as little more than a monument for the man’s obsession to have a lasting monument to himself no matter what the diocese’s objections to the designs and the closing of St Vibiana’s. I’m glad to say I only visited the monstrous debacle once and have no more reason to spend time in LA.
Jeff, that pest is back.