The title of today’s reflection is a subject that I have spent quite alot of time reflecting on over the past few years. Many times I have even wondered if it is possible to have an entirley Inclusive Church at all. Many groups start out with the best of intentions but end up becoming single issue groups that are in fact just as exclusive to anyone who does not see things the way they do, as the so called repressive Denominations that they wished to be free from.
So if this is the case what would constitute a really inclusive Church? It would be a Church that accepts all, a Church that allows questioning, a Church open to discussion with those who think differently from them but not seeking to convert them but rather to lead each side to a better understanding of the other. It would be a Church where the progressive and the traditionalist would be equally welcome among the membership. But most importantly it would be a Church that lived the ‘Great Commission’ regardless of what others may think or say of it, knowing that the only true way to judge a Churches validity is to go by the guidelines that Christ Himself left us: “By their fruit you shall know them”.
Is there a Church that lives up to these ideals? I believe so and I have found it in the Reformed Catholic Church, a place where all are truly welcome. We are not a perfect community by any means but we do seek to share God’s love with all whose paths we cross. In recent times parts of our Church have come under attack from other larger Churches. While hurtful, we must remember and glean strength from the fact that most only attack what they are afraid of, or that which they do not understand. So in a matter of fact if they are afraid it is because they realise our validity and if it is because they do not understand us, it is our job to educate.
So being truly inclusive is no easy job, but it is what the RCC is called to bear witness to in this world of fear and confusion. To meet anger with gentleness, hate with love, to greet those who think differently to us with acceptance. If we truly embrace this as our vocation with God’s grace who can ask anymore from us.
Monsignor Ian Adrian RSJ