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Friday, 31 October 2014

A Vision of The Future Church

There are 55,000 Catholics in Norway and 5 seminarians; 2 are Swedish, the rest are Polish.

There are 100,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, and there are 7 seminarians total.

Actually, A and B is better off than some other dioceses in England.

But, one sees the problem.

Over two years ago, it came to me that in the future, the Church will resemble Northern Africa in the Fourth Century, when in Carthage and the immediate area around Carthage alone, there were seventeen bishops.

Each church was a cathedral. Each cathedral needed autonomy.

I believe every priest will be a bishop in certain countries, because of the breakdown of communication and the need to have local authority.

Centralized authority will be almost impossible, even though the Church is universal.

I think that in many, if not most European countries, each priest will have to be a bishop.

I know this sounds impossible or even improbable, but with the interruption of civilization, local organization of the Church will be necessary.

Some dioceses we see now will disappear completely, like the earliest churches in the Levant.

But, imagine the Church divided by schism and persecution. Imagine most churches closed and those existing separated by great distances.

At one time, there were three-hundred bishops in Northern Africa who were Donatists. Imagine...

4.2 million Catholic in England and Wales have about, (rough estimate), 150 seminarians at this time.

Right now, England and Wales has the best Catholic priest to laity ratios in Europe. 25% of the Catholic population go to church regularly according to some statistics, which are only taken now at the diocesan level and not by the bishops' conference, as in the States.

Now, my vision of the future Church is that the local bishops will have to have local control as the priests disappear. A diocese could have one bishop, two priests and a monk.

In the face of schismatics and persecution, local bishops would be important.

Local councils, such as those in the early Church, would have to make decisions. Communication with Rome may be completely out of the question.

I may not see this development, but I think my son will, and those of his generation.