Conservative Catholics in Louisville are burning my books because I am opposed to the Vietnam War. The whole thing is ridiculous. I do think however that some of the young priests have a pathetic honesty and sincerity which is very moving. Beyond that, I have nothing to say. And I have a thick skin. You can say absolutely nothing about the Church that will shock me. If I stay with the Church it is out of a disillusioned love, and with a realization that I myself could not be happy outside, though I have no guarantee of being happy inside either. In effect, my 'happiness' does not depend on any institution or any establishment. As for you, you are part of my 'Church' of friends who are in many ways more important to me than the institution..."I find Merton's love for Catholicism especially moving because of the almost desperate (and romantic) way in which he was drawn to, and then vowed himself to her truth. 'Church', though, is another story. I remember reading somewhere his remark that he wasn't "that kind of Catholic". The above quote seems to qualify his allegiance to an institutional Church, and open to a broader definition of what 'Church' might mean.
-- Thomas Merton to Czeslaw Milosz, March 15, 1968
The Courage for Truth: Letters to Writers, pp 85-6
HT: Jim Forest