DF, then Fr. Ratzinger, and then Cardinal Ratzinger repeatedly said the Church of the future will be smaller
"Let me go one step further. From today’s crisis, a Church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a great deal. She will be small and, to a large extent, will have to start from the beginning. She will no longer be able to fill many of the buildings created in her period of great splendor." (from an address given on the radio, when he was still just a priest). He goes on about far more radical changes, some of which he probably no longer thinks the same of
And as Cardinal
""it will be reduced in its dimensions, it will be necessary to start again. However, from this test a Church would emerge that will have been strengthened by the process of simplification it experienced, by its renewed capacity to look within itself."
"To begin with, the Church "will be numerically reduced." When I made this affirmation, I was overwhelmed with reproaches of pessimism.
And today, when all prohibitions seem obsolete, among them those that refer to what has been called pessimism and which, often, is nothing other than healthy realism, increasingly more [people] admit the decrease in the percentage of baptized Christians in today´s Europe: in a city like Magdeburg, Christians are only 8% of the total population, including all Christian denominations. Statistical data shows irrefutable tendencies. In this connection, in certain cultural areas, there is a reduction in the possibility of identification between people and Church. We must take note, with simplicity and realism. The mass Church may be something lovely, but it is not necessarily the Church´s only way of being. The Church of the first three centuries was small, without being, by this fact, a sectarian community"http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=19347