Ratzinger says Church's "new springtime" not about numbers
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has insisted that what Pope John Paul II calls the "new springtime" of the Church is a reality, but that it will not "necessarily" be significant in terms of numbers.
John Paul II has often written about the "new Springtime" in the Church. In a May 1991 homily, he said: "A new missionary age will arise, a new springtime for the Church".
Speaking with the Polish Catholic news agency KAI, Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that there are groups of the new generations in the Church today which represent "a new springtime of the Church that renews the world."
The Cardinal explained that "we should not think that in the near future Christianity will become a movement of the masses again, going back to a situation like Medieval times."
"At least we cannot expect that in the current conditions," he added.
Nevertheless, recalling a phrase used by Lenin of Communist Russia, Ratzinger said that "the powerful minorities, which have something to say and something to bring to society, will determine the future."
Cardinal Ratzinger says new springtime of the Church not about numbers (Catholic News Agency 9/8/04)
Catholic numbers steady despite rising unbelief in USA (CathNews 22/7/04)
Vatican statistics claim 1.07 billion Catholics (CathNews 4/2/04)
Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club
Crisis in the Catholic Church versus New Springtime (Houston Catholic Worker May-June 2002)
How John Paul II's 'new springtime' came to an American parish (AD2000 June 2002)
10 Aug 2004