Monday, June 4, 2012

To Be "Inclusive"

Let's face it.  We all want to belong.  We never want to be excluded from something, even if that something is something we don't want to do.  We hate to be excluded.  And as Catholics, we want to be welcoming to everyone.  We don't want to make anyone feel excluded either.

But, can that inclusive behavior go too far?  I say yes.  I say inclusive behavior goes too far when you are expected to sacrifice your own beliefs or to do something that you believe is wrong is order just to make someone else feel included.   This does not mean that you should ever make someone feel unloved or that you do not care for them but neither should you sacrifice your beliefs.

God is not all inclusive.  He WANTS to include everyone but gives us free will to either choose Him or to deny Him.  That is why there is a Heaven and that is what there is a Hell.  You can spend eternity with God but, to put it simply, you have to live by His rules.  If you choose to live a life outside of God's ways then you do not have to spend eternity with Him.  It's your choice.  God is full of mercy though and is always willing to forgive you and to accept you back.

The Roman Catholic Church is the same way.  We are not an inclusive organization.  We are very exclusive.   We have a set of beliefs that is not always pleasing to society and we are in many ways persecuted for holding on to those beliefs.   Yet, we hold strong to them  We are also very loving and always welcome people back to the church.  We do everything we can to draw people into the church but at the same time, we don't change what we believe just so someone can belong, even when we are persecuted for such behavior.    The current HHS travesty is an example of the church being persecuted for her beliefs.  The church says that it does not believe in contraception and the US Government is trying to force churches and religious organizations to purchase contraception for their employees.

Yet, not everyone sees it the way I do.  It seems like many are willing to toss their beliefs aside so that they are seen as kind and caring.  They are afraid of appearing too strict, too staunch or too unwavering.  This is how you get nuns helping to escort young ladies to abortion clinics or how parishes allow sinful behavior even to the point of hosting organizations that promote agendas and events that are contrary to church teaching.  This is how holy scriptures gets changed to a more "inclusive" language.   These are all things that are sinful and only serve to confuse faithful Catholics.

Ironically, those who champion this "inclusive" behavior are the first ones to exclude you if you stand up for your beliefs.  Try telling someone that you believe in Natural Family Planning and you'll be looked at as if you have a 3rd eye.  Say that you don't believe in sex outside of marriage and you are looked upon as old fashioned.  Dare to say that you believe homosexual acts are sinful and you'll be called a bigot and a homophobe.

This makes me wonder, who is really being inclusive?  Those who appear to be exclusive but treat you with love, respect and dignity, even when they do not agree with you or those who claim to be inclusive but mock you, chastise you and even ostracize you if they do not agree with you?  


  1. Excellent as always, Jamie.

  2. There is so so much here to consider and pray about. You are so right - is being nice and bending the rules what we are about? And that leads me to - is it really a "nice" thing to do to bend the rules? Because doesn't bending the rules lead other away from God? Oh, you are so right on with this!

  3. interesting, but it's a fine line between exclusivity with love, respect, and dignity toward the person whose lifestyle and beliefs the Church disagrees with, and derision, mockery, and even disgust. I say this as a believer who has witnessed the latter among fellow parishioners and the local Catholic radio station when it comes to homosexuality.

    it is difficult not to become spiritually egotistical no matter what one's belief is, once you identify the belief as the ultimate truth.

    i enjoyed your post. there is a grotesque disparity between what the media reports about the Vatican or Pope's latest and the reality. It's a long standing prejudice in America.

  4. I am a practicing Catholic, a husband and father, and a federal law enforcement officer and I have been following your blog for the past six months or so. It has always been a pleasure to read but this particular posting really struck home with me. I received an email at work today that addressed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender accomplishments and it really bothered me. I also discovered that the federal government has recognized June as national lgbt month ( I was kicking around the idea of registering a complaint within my agency and having read your blog makes me realize that I have an obligation to my faith, my country and my children to confront this head on.

    And thank you for the time and effort you put into blogging about Catholic issues from a leo standpoint.

    God Bless.