The Church failed its mission.
For the last 2000 years, the Church piled injury and pain on top of an already bleeding world, a world it was trusted to heal. The Church made itself the willing handmaid of power and ambition, responsible for a long list of crime; conquests, massacres, sectarian warfare, executions, persecutions, corruption, abuse, etc. The Church is as flawed and as mortal as the human beings who make it up. The mystical Body of Christ on earth is hardly that of a perfect athlete, but is diseased, injured, handicapped, paunchy, emaciated, constipated, incontinent, clumsy, elderly, immature, cancerous, cold, hot, foolhardy, and cowardly. That the Church is now, and always has been, a sanctuary of bigotry and superstition is hardly news. There is racism, misogyny, homophobia, greed, and ambition for power in the Church as there is in all human tribes and institutions. The Church, just like all human tribes, is made up of frightened people who believe that we must conquer or be conquered. The Church's claims to sanctity put a lens of hypocrisy on those flaws which magnify their ugliness and their threat. And thus it will be always so long as we frail prisoners of one moment in time and one place in space with the lifespan of gnats keep demanding God's own absolute certainty when God never promised us any such thing. The Church will someday pass away as indeed must we all, and all the world around us.
I don't believe Our Lord had in mind any global empire of souls when He commanded us to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
The world is over 200 nations and an uncountable number of tribes who all fear and hate each other, whose rulers are all more or less corrupt, and who use our fear of the Other to legitimize their power over us. Why should the Church add another empire to that?
In the wake of the failure to admit women into the episcopacy in the Church of England, and in the light of the ongoing (and perhaps ultimately fatal) debacle over same sexuality and sexual minorities, it is useful to remind ourselves of this. We must remember that we have only the hope and the promise that God will be there at the end of all our journeys, alone and together. Even more, we have the assurance that Our Lord is far larger and greater than the Church He entrusted with His gifts of the Sacraments and the Gospel. Our Lord will endure where we perish, will love where we hate, will succeed where we fail, will remain faithful even when we are faithless. Earth and Heaven, Creator and Creation, Flesh and Spirit will find each other in the end and be reconciled.
Our task as the Church is to be Christ to the world, and we will always fail in that task one way or another. What matters is that we try our best.
Something to remember for Christ the King Sunday.