Communion of Sinners
The Church is a peculiar reality. We sometimes call it "home," but if it is our home, it is like a gypsy's caravan rather than a house that stands in a fixed location.
God designed the Church, the Body of Christ, to be a quiet place where He can speak to us clearly and definitively. It is also an army equipped for battle, a pilgrim's tent, a place of refuge, an oasis, a road to follow, a motley crew of saints and sinners, a party barge, a hospital, a penitentiary, a sanitarium, a mystery beyond telling.
- Hillaire Belloc on Catholicism
- “No merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”
- Plaque found in an old church
- “The Gospel must be preached by men. The angels have other duties.”
"We don't want your kind here."
In "The Sixth Sense," a little boy could see "dead people walking."
Many of my students think they have that sixth sense. They spend their time in church studying the souls of the others in attendance, and discover that all of them are dead to God in sin. Once the students complete their survey, they are finished with Church, because it is self-evident to them that if there are any sinners in Church, it cannot be the Body of Christ.
Their survey of dead people walking never seems to take their own condition into account, perhaps because there are no mirrors in Church to remind them to examine their own conscience as well as that of others.
As I understand them, the gospels suggest that if there are no sinners in Church, it cannot be the Body of Christ. Weeds and wheat grow side-by-side in the field; the net of the Church catches all kinds of fish; prostitutes and money-sucking leeches break bread with the Lord; and the self-righteous, if they can bring themselves to approach the feast of love, sneer from the back pew, confessing without mercy the sins of Jesus' guests.
I would say that I'm delighted when they leave, except that I'm told that Jesus loves them, too, and I don't want to get myself tossed by the angelic bouncers for cultivating resentment against those prigs--umm, I mean, uh, ... those children of God.