Why Should We Love the Church?

Historic Saint Teresa of Avila church in Bodega, California built in 1859.

Historic Saint Teresa of Avila church in Bodega, California built in 1859.

In his wonderful poem Choruses from “The Rock,” (which I anticipate quoting from in the future), T.S. Eliot makes a case for the Church:

“Why should men love the Church? Why should they love her laws?
She tells them of Life and Death, and of all that they would forget.
She is tender where they would be hard, and hard where they like to be soft.
She tells them of Evil and Sin, and other unpleasant facts.
They constantly try to escape
From the darkness outside and within
By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.
But the man that is will shadow
The man that pretends to be.”


 “Dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good” explains much of the intramural carping and friendly-fire vitriol the Church directs at herself these days.


The Church’s imperfections are there to remind us we haven’t arrived, but “the man that is” perfect shadows over our many flaws and sins, reminding us of our constant need for him.


By T.S. Eliot. Excerpted from Choruses from “The Rock,” Part VI, p. 106 in Collected Poems, 1909-1935

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *