Human nature is so faulty that it can resist any amount of grace and most of the time it does. The Church does well to hold her own; you are asking that she show a profit. ... It is easy for any child to pick out the faults in the sermon on his way home from Church every Sunday. It is impossible for him to find out the hidden love that makes a man, in spite of his intellectual limitations, his neuroticism, his own lack of strength, give up his life to the service of God’s people, however bumblingly he may go about it…
It is what is invisible that God sees and that the Christian must look for. Because he knows the consequences of sin, he knows how deep in you have to go to find love. We have our own responsibility for not being “little ones” too long, for not being scandalized. By being scandalized too long, you will scandalize others and the guilt for that will belong to you.
It’s our business to try to change the external faults of the Church—the vulgarity, the lack of scholarship, the lack of intellectual honesty—wherever we find them and however we can. ... In the meantime, the culture of the whole Church is ours and it is our business to see that it is disseminated throughout the Church in America. You don’t serve God by saying: the Church is ineffective; I’ll have none of it. Your pain at its lack of effectiveness is a sign of your nearness to God. We help overcome this lack of effectiveness simply by suffering on account of it.
To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness. Charity is hard and endures; I don’t want to discourage you from reading St. Thomas but don’t read him with the notion that he is going to clear anything up for you. That is done by study and more by prayer.