Over the centuries the Church has done enough to make any critical person want to leave it. Its history of violent crusades, pogroms, power struggles, oppression, excommunications, executions, manipulation of people and ideas, and constantly recurring divisions is there for everyone to see and be appalled by.
Can we believe that this is the same Church that carries in its center the Word of God and the sacraments of God's healing love? Can we trust that in the midst of all its human brokenness the Church presents the broken body of Christ to the world as food for eternal life? Can we acknowledge that where sin is abundant grace is superabundant, and that where promises are broken over and again God's promise stands unshaken? To believe is to answer yes to these questions. Henri Nouwen
The truth of this quote is undeniable, but there is a church in the world and then there is the Church. There is an invisible remnant, kept true and faithful by God. What is seen is a stumbling block, but it can not be denied. I turn to Patrick of Ireland for the only response the Church can give to criticism of the church, "You are right, much evil has been done in the name of the church, I am a part of that and for that I repent and apologize, and in place of power and authority and manipulation, i desire to live according to this...
" Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.” Patrick of Ireland