One of the heritages from history which prevents us so often from seeing the Church, with all its greatness and misery, in its true light, is the distinction between the "empirical" and the "ideal" Church. It is to such a degree an element of our thinking that we hardly notice it. It has been since the first centuries a standard view, a means to give account of the, indeed, often disappointing state and quality of Christian faith and practice in the Church as it appeared. As such it is understandable; but nevertheless it proceeds more from the counsels of worldly wisdom than from the faith-as-response by which the Church should live, and the call to incessant renewal under which the Church stands as "God's own household", "growing into a holy temple in the Lord". However stubborn and refractory the stuff of ordinary reality may be -- and it is -- the Church, though with clear realism seeing this reality, can never permit itself to put the divine indicatives and imperatives, which are her peculiar directives and points of orientation, behind considerations which are properly speaking worldly in character.