In his book A New Song For The Lord, Pope Benedict begins his second chapter with the following words:
To a large extent it is characteristic of the situation of faith and theology in Europe today that people are weary of the Church.
Weary of the Church - arresting, simple and so true. Every day I meet people in my work as hospital chaplain whose eyes glaze over when they see the priest. They are not interested in Church or the things or people of Church. They will say: Jesus yes, the Church no.
Pope Benedict sheds light on this modern phenomenon by first identifying it as a christological and not an ecclesiological problem. He maintains that what people are really saying is: Jesus yes, Christ no or Jesus yes, Son of God no.
Modern man is hungry for Jesus but only for the man, not for the Son of God, or what the Church or the Gospels say about him.
His human side touches us; the profession that he is God's only-begotten Son merely seems to alienate him from us, to transpose him into the inaccessible, the unreal and to surrender him simultaneously to the management of ecclesiastical authority. Separating Jesus and Christ is at the same time separating Jesus and the Church: Christ is left to the Church since he seems to be her handiwork; in shoving Christ aside one hopes to win Jesus and with him a new form of freedom, of "redemption."
The Pope, of course, goes on to describe very exactly how things got to be like this and it's rather interesting. I'll come back to the topic another time.