Merton wrote in his book Life and Holiness:
The priority of charity in the Christian moral life gives us the key to all the obligations of a Christian. The Church must certainly have external laws and regulations. She must by all means make use of her organizational discipline, ritual, a teaching authority. She must have a hierarchy. But when we forget the purpose of all these things, when we overlook their orientation to union in charity, we get a very distorted idea of Church and of her life.