As I wrestle with what it means to be the Church, love the Church, serve the Church, and yet retain a prophetic edge against the Church, I'm drawn again to the words of Carlo Corretto. A mentor shared Corretto's thoughts with me almost five years ago, and I'm only now beginning to understand the truth they contain.
How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you!
How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you!
I should like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand sanctity.
I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful.
How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, although not completely.
And where should I go? To build myself another church?
But I could build one only with the same defects, because they are mine:
Defects which I have inside myself.
And if I built one, it would no longer be the Church of Christ.
I am old enough to understand that I am no better than other people.