…..from Gerhard Lohfink’s Does God Need The Church? I came upon a passage that speaks somewhat to this question.
“Today the parishes, at least in Europe, have scarcely any power to resist the pagan models of the surrounding society. Pastoral care is more and more specialized toward the “edges” of life. Faith has become private and modest.
Today the experiment is truly at an end and can never be resumed, for it left people no chance to make a free decision for faith. And what it hoped for—the solid unity of faith and life, gospel and everyday, has a much better basis in the community Church, the form that emerged from the Jewish synagogue.
Meanwhile the Church is living almost everywhere in the world subject again to persecutions in the midst of a new paganism. It will only survive in that situation if it returns to communities constituted according to the New Testament, not in false romanticism of the primitive Church but under the conditions of the third millennium. The word “return” is not really the right one in this context. What is wanted is a new dawn, but now with a much better knowledge drawn for history.
We know today that as long as the faith was not the state religion (and later civil religion) the Christian communities through their very existence had an enlightening and even “de-idolizing” effect. The critical probe of the their faith affected everything. They claimed to be forming an opinion of their own, and still more, to be developing their own way of life. This touched attitudes toward life and death, eating and fasting, wealth and poverty, festivals and daily life, but also toward power, even the fundamentals of the polis and the empire. To whom loyalty is owed, loyalty is given. To whom resistance is due, resistance is given, if necessary to the point of martyrdom. A Church that dares a new exodus in this sense need have no fear of the future.”
Does God Need the Church?, p. 217-218.
A Church that dares a new exodus need have no fear of the future!!