It is only my imaginary relationship with Christ (if the Church is invisible it is little more than imaginary). It is the visible character of the Church, and the possibility of boundary (everything visible has some boundary) that creates the “problem.” … The Problem of the Church is that there is one. Whatever free associations man has created, there still exists a Church whose life is rooted in that first community in Jerusalem and stretches through the centuries into the present. It is not a problem to be solved – but it is a challenge to the fiction of invisible Churches and boundary-less associations.
(From The Problem of Church) Recently, it was pointed out to me that I was not entirely respectful of the way someone chose to “dedicate” their child in church. While it is true that I should have kept my mouth shut, this issue has come up more than once in discussions with family and friends — many of whom are Protestant. And I’ve always been caught short when they confront me about this. It’s a hard nut. On the one hand, I do believe in the “holy, catholic, apostolic Church” and I believe that this visible Church — by which I mean the Church with the visible, historic line of apostolic succession — is the Church. On the other hand, I love my family and friends. I respect their work (many of them work “in the ministry”). I don’t want them to feel like I’m pushing them away or, worse, condeming them to hell. I absolutely do not want to project the image that I am, in any way, superior to them. So what do I do? I don’t know. Just reading The Problem of Church helped me understand the problem a little bit better for myself. It also gives me a point of discussion with friends and family.