I heard a priest in Verona asking in a sermon, "If we are not being martyred, are we being the Church?"
A weaker, poorer Church is a Church of Martyrs. No-one attacks the strong, and the wealthy can always buy off their persecutors. When we have nothing of value but Christ then we will be willing to lay down everything including our lives for him.
More than anything else martyrdom will shape the Pontificate of Pope Francis and his successors, early on in his Pontificate he will canonise the 800 Martyrs of Otranto, killed by Muslim soldiers in the 16th century.
For those outside the Church, martyrdom is a futile gesture, it is about engaging in battles and wars that we cannot win, except in the eyes of God.
In Europe and North America today it isn't rack and rope but legislation that strips us of the position in society that we once had.
It is our Bishops that will have the duty of gathering the scattered flock, and of preaching the Truth.
Today we celebrate the Martyrs of England and Wales under Henry VIII all except St John Fisher succumbed, under Elizabeth all the bishops appointed under Mary were imprisoned or exiled, the list of post-reformation martyrs has many priests and laymen, even lay women but only one Bishop
Pray for our Bishops