Separated by some 40 years in the lime light, speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi and Cardinal Henri De Lubac (a central figure in the Second Vatican Council) seem to verbalize the two mindsets that rest on either side of the way Catholics understand the Church today. Let us allow them to lay the two positions out for us.
Pelosi this week (via Thomas Peter's blog): "My faith is very important to me, and I view my connection to the church to be a very personal one — not passing through the hierarchy of the Catholic Church — but it is a source of strength and joy to me in my life.”
Cardinal De Lubac: "There have always been visionaries and rebels against the burdensome conditions of Catholic unity who have made a distinction between the visible, temporal, hierarchic Church that exists among us and a sort of invisible Church – wholly “interior”, wholly “spiritual”, “the luminous community of God dispersed throughout the universe.” In such a view, the title “Church of God” could only be applied, properly speaking to this vast…theoretical common ground of all Christian communities and all good men. It alone would be divine; the first Church, the “bodily” Church, would be a “human creation” and no more…Surely the demands of order impose on her an entire human governing apparatus that has nothing at all to do with the sanctity of the Gospels…if you do this, then you are giving a dream the status of an extra-mental entity and trying to separate what God has united. You are not only opening the door to general doctrinal anarchy, as Melanchthon was rapidly obliged to admit and to deplore; you are shutting out all understanding of the “eternal purpose” that God “realized in Christ Jesus our Lord. You are denying all Scripture for the sake of human considerations." (The Splendor of the Church)
And your winner by knockout in the first round - De Lubac!