I have posted this on What Sasse Said as part of a contining series of extracts from Hermann Sasse's 1967 Lecture to the Inter-Varsity Fellowship in Queensland, titled Holy Church or Holy Writ, The Meaning of the Sola Scriptura of the Reformation and thought it germane to the most recent posts here:
"The accession of John XXIII marks the turning point. The Roman Church as we knew it, the Church of the Syllabus, of the First Vatican Council, the Church which was always at loggerheads with the modern world, has come to an end. A new era began of which no-one can know where it will end. The exciting debates, the passionate controversies, the obvious breakdown of a centuries old discipline within Roman catholicism, the revolutionary excesses in the Catholic Churches in America and the Netherlands, are indicative of a deep spiritual crisis within the largest church in Christendom which may well end in the breakdown of its organisation, in the disintegration of the vast body of the Roman Church...in future centuires the Pope, the Patriarch of the West, may share the destiny of the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, or Constantinople, without, of course, ceasing to be for the faithful remnant of the Roman Church the successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ with all the prerogatives of primacy."
An extract from Holy Church of Holy Writ?
The 1967 Inter-Varsity Fellowship Annual Lecture in Queensland
Forty-two years later, there is little to indicate that Sasse's prediction is off-track; his view co-incides with Ratzinger's view of the "smaller, purer church".