I have not been paying much attention to the Youth Synod because it comes across to me as a carefully crafted PR exercise to promote the current trendy agenda at the Vatican, but the few bits I have seen have confirmed my prejudice.
Chilean Youth Silvia Teresa Retamales Morales says many non-Catholics asked for a “more open Church” being a “multicultural Church open to all, not judgmental, not discriminate against minorities, or people with different sexual orientations, or the poor”
That sounds more like the United Nations than a church.
I was reminded of this piece Patrick Reardon contributed to the National Catholic Reporter some years ago:
It’s called “A Church Refreshed: A dispatch from an American Catholic Future.”
Here are a few extracts from Reardon’s American Catholic Never Never Land:
Song leader Sophia Santiago stood to the right of the altar of St. Gertrude Church in Chicago and invited those in the crowded pews and in folding chairs to greet their neighbors. “All are welcome,” she proclaimed.
To the simple notes of a single piano, the parish choir and the congregation sang a sweet, lilting version of “Come to the Water” as liturgical dancers, altar servers, ministers of the word, parish chancellor Emma Okere and pastor Fr. Antonio Fitzgerald processed up the center aisle. The song filled the soaring interior of the 131-year-old structure. On a banner high behind the altar, in large, easily readable lettering, was a quotation from Pope Francis: “Who am I to judge?”
This was one of thousands of celebrations across the globe marking 50 years of rejuvenation and renewal dating from the election of Pope Francis in 2013, popularly called “refreshment of the faith.”
Reardon sees a Chicago Catholic church that has kept a few of those fusty old buildings with ” their stained-glass windows, gold ornamentation and other finery”, but they’re supplemented by store front congregations with a preacher a piano and a soup kitchen.
In a strip mall a mile and a half to the south, another celebration was being held in a simple storefront. On the large glass window, hand-painted in red and blue, were the words “Lazarus Pastoral Center.”
“For I was hungry and you gave me food.”
Deacon Liam Saranof was reading the Gospel of Matthew to 27 men, women and children seated on folding chairs in the long, narrow space, the former home of an Ethiopian restaurant.
This strip mall was also the home to a bedding showroom, a Subway sandwich deli, a $10 store and a bicycle repair shop, all of them open on this early Tuesday evening.
A short time later, Saranof’s teenage son Karim opened up a small folding table in the center of the space, then carried over a small, brightly painted plastic box containing consecrated hosts that, a few hours earlier, had been delivered by one of the parishioners from St. Gertrude.
“Some of us here think of ourselves also as members of St. Gertrude,” machinist Chloe Pardo explained. “But others are only affiliated with the community here. They like the community work we do; they like how close we become.”
Reardon’s future church is complete with female “chancellors” who really run the show, Popes named “Martin” (after dePorres) and Oscar (after St Romero) and the two big slogans are “All Are Welcome” and “Who Am I to Judge?”
This article is a breath taking display of liberal insanity which I commented on here. This kind of feel good, fuzzy wuzzy Christianity has virtually wiped out Catholicism in America, so the obvious remedy is “We clearly didn’t have ENOUGH feel good, fuzzy wuzzy Christianity. So let’s destroy more old churches, write more banal hymns, put up more felt banners, hire more social workers and do more left wing posturing…”
I could vent a very long time about this, but first grumble about this silly nonsense from the Youth Synod is the straw man set up that somehow the Catholic Church is not “multicultural” and not “open to all”. What? The Catholic Church is the most diverse and multicultural institution on earth. It’s been seeking to welcome diverse peoples ever since the great missionary movements of the counter reformation and the nineteenth century. That’s what we’ve done since the Great Commission: reach out to the marginalized, the dispossessed, the poor, those in moral and spiritual darkness and those who are lost.
The Catholic Church is more global and multi racial than any other group. Catholic means universal for goodness’ sake.
Consider: I am pastor in an admittedly conservative town and an unapologetically conservative Catholic parish, but when I look around on any particular Sunday my congregation is amazingly multicultural and diverse. A heart surgeon or an international business executive might be sitting next to a body shop worker who I know belongs to AA. Behind them is a family of refugees from El Salvador and next to them an African American-Indian family or a Mexican laborer. Up front some converts are next to cradle Catholics. We have the whole range of ages, nationalities, races and people: Nigerians and Indians, Italians, English, French, Polish, Philippino, Vietnamese, Chinese, Colombian and Mexican.
All are welcome and all belong to our parish family.
All are indeed welcome….but to what exactly?
The obsession with inclusivity is something mouthed by Cardinal Marx who said, ““Nobody is excluded [from the church],” he said. “Nobody is superfluous. Exclusion is not in the language of the church.”
Total inclusivity can only be proposed by a church that is used to being a wealthy establishment institution. “All Are Welcome” is the slogan of Christian leaders who know they are on the top of the social heap and feel guilty about it. They live in their palaces: (BTW did you know that Cardinal Marx also spent $13m refurbishing his palace and another $11m on a guesthouse in Rome. Go here.) and their middle class rectories but they proclaim “All Are Welcome” to salve their consciences and make themselves feel like good Christian folk.
My question remains, “To what exactly are all welcome?”
Are people welcome to the Catholic Church? Of course all are welcome. All have always been welcome, but what are they welcome to?
What kind of Catholic Church? Why should anyone want to join the Catholic Church anyway? What would a liberal Catholic answer? Is it for their soul’s salvation? Is it to escape the fires of hell? Is it to worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe? Is it to learn how to love God and his Son Jesus Christ, to venerate and love his Blessed Mother and worship in the communion of all the saints and angels?
Instead all we hear is the mantra, “All Are Welcome”
The fact is, from the very beginning all have been welcome. The only people who can’t be Catholic are the ones who don’t want to be Catholic.
I’m reminded of a gay activist who was interviewed about the church. He was yelling that he wanted the church to be more inclusive, then the interviewer said, “So if you felt the church was more inclusive which church would you attend every Sunday?”
The guy looked at the interviewer like he was a martian, “Not me. I’m not really a churchgoer.”
Correct. It seems the liberals who are unlocking the doors to empty churches are the ones crying out, “All are welcome!” but the churches aren’t empty because people are unwelcome, but because they don’t want to go to that kind of church.
The churches that are full, on the other hand, are the ones that actually preach the Christian gospel.
Without a full blooded, historic Catholic faith which preaches the need for repentance and seeking the face of the Lord for eternal salvation what are you welcoming people to? A luncheon club where they sing hymns and carry banners with trite slogans? A soup kitchen and shower facility where they hold Bible studies? A rehab center where they find their inner goddess? People aren’t dumb. They’ll soon ask, “Why bother with all that religious-spiritual stuff? We can do soup kitchens, rehab centers and shower facilities without all those dreary hymns, bad Christian pop music and dull homilies delivered by a fat, middle class half educated minister.
I agree that “All Are Welcome”.
All are welcome to come face to face with the living Lord Jesus Christ in the fullness of the Catholic faith. All are welcome to fall on their knees in Eucharistic Adoration. All are welcome to be received into the Catholic Church, learn how to make a good confession and share the work and worship of Christ’s one flock under one shepherd. All are welcome to walk in the path of perfection, to learn how to emulate the saints, love the Sacred Scriptures and share the gospel of life with others, ministering Christ’s peace and justice to a starving world.
All Are Welcome to leave everything to follow Christ. All Are Welcome to repent of their sins, confess their faith and be baptized. All Are Welcome.
But some future church in which “All Are Welcome” is the only creed?
You’re welcome to it.