welcomeThe theme song at the moment seems to be “All are safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.”

In other words, “All are welcome!”

Of course all are welcome in the Catholic Church, but this truth is balanced by the fact that the church has a door. The sheepfold has a gate. The path has boundaries.

Broad is the way that leads to destruction and narrow is the path that leads to life and few there be that find it….now where did I read that?

We are all welcome in the Catholic Church. God loves us just the way we are….but he loves us too much to let us stay that way.

Think of it this way: all are welcome to the church as all are welcome to a field hospital. “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden”

But there is a condition. You have to come in on your knees. Repentance is the first step.

The problem with the statement, “All are welcome!” is that too often this is perceived as a wishy washy blanket statement that includes all in a bland, politically correct sense of being nice.

That’s not the Christian gospel.

The Christian gospel welcomes every prodigal home, but the prodigal has to first realize he is lying in the mud eating garbage, then decide that he wants to leave that life and head on home.

There is a major clash between the countries that are predominantly Catholic and those that are not.

In Argentina, Germany, France of the Philippines the vast majority of the population, if not practicing Catholics, still have a Catholic understanding of morality. Even if they don’t live by it, the sense of moral teaching is still there in the atmosphere.

Within that context it is understood that “All are welcome!” is the warm embrace of the father to the prodigal son.

However, in a society like the United States and other Protestant based cultures that awareness of the need for basic repentance and turning to God is long gone.

“All are welcome!” in these countries is code for “We are tolerant here. We don’t judge anyone. Whatever lifestyle choices you make are good. This is your truth. We affirm you in it.”

In a liberal secular society built on an archaic Protestant ethic, “All are welcome!” means “Relativism rules. OK! You say pot TAH to. I say po TAY to.”

The danger of this language creeping into the Synod on the Family and into Catholic culture is that a huge amount of confusion results.

“All are welcome!” becomes a new orthodoxy by which all priests will be tested. Young couples who are cohabiting will beat the priest over the head with the “All are welcome!” shibboleth . Divorced and remarried couples will threaten the priest with a condescending smile saying “All should be welcome!”

Should he suggest that they ARE welcome…welcome as everyone is to first repent and then alter their lifestyle he is likely to be met with tears, anger and protest.

“All are welcome!” rather than being the answer to our problems may be the smiling beast, the wolf in sheep’s clothing that only creates far more problems in the future.