I just came across a dialogue regarding this topic in an interview with Cardinal Ratzinger from 1996 as quoted in the book Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium. The part in italics is written by the interviewer:
According to the stereotypes of contemporary mainstream opinion, the Roman Catholic Church is not only considered to be a relic of a bygone time that is almost despicable to the world at the end of the second millennium after Christ. There actually seems to be no greater provocation than the mere existence of the official Church. That there is a God, that he has a Son, and that God sent this Son in order to redeem mankind is a fact that sounds for many people in this day and age like the message of a sheer lunatic. One can probably say that hardly any other institution provokes the world more than the Catholic Church...This also reminds me of Brideshead Revisited (both the book and movie) which my sister introduced to me in this very context.
In many respects, however, it says something for the Catholic Church that she still has the power to provoke, that she is a thorn in the side and a contradiction or, as Saint Paul says, a skandalon, a stumbling block. This shows that she means something, and that you can't simply pass over her and go about the day's business. Very early on I said that it is necessary to distinguish between the primary and the secondary scandal. The secondary scandal consists in our actual mistakes, defects, and over-institutionalizations, but the primary scandal consists precisely in the fact that we stand in opposition to the decline into the banal and the bourgeois and into false promises.