Justo Gonzales closes his book The Changing Shape of Church History:
No longer can the church claim the religious hegemony it once had… Many Christians think that thIs means that the church is losing is power, and yearn with nostalgia for the old times of Christendom. But if I understand correctly the message of Jesus, that marginality, whether imposed or voluntary, is to be received as an opportunity to recover an essential dimension of that message:
“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”Lk. 22:25-26
The church of the future, that Catholic and universal church that I have just described, will be a church of service, but of service from the margins. It will not be the church at the center, as in the paradigm of Eusebius. It’s great temptation will be to become a purely spiritual church, claiming to be above the vicissitudes of human history, as in the paradigm of Augustine. However, if it is obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will be a church incarnate, present, a participant of human life, but present above all at the margins, without pretending or even seeking to be at the center or to control, and with a clear call of service to all mankind.