Loving the Church does not require romantic emotions. It requires the will to see the living Christ among his people and to love them as we want to love Christ himself. This is true not only for the “little” people – the poor, the oppressed, the forgotten – but also for the “big” people who exercise authority in the Church.
To love the Church means to be willing to meet Jesus wherever we go in the Church. This love doesn’t mean agreeing with or approving of everyone’s ideas or behavior. On the contrary, it can call us to confront those who hide Christ from us. But whether we confront or affirm, criticize or praise, we can only become fruitful when our words and actions come from hearts that love the Church.
And sadly, we define “Church” in such a narrow way.