The buzz words in the world today are “diversity” and “inclusion” and these worldly buzz words seem rather prominent in the contemporary Catholic Church. The documents on the synod for synodality are oozing with calls for diversity and inclusion
As usual, there is a lot of sentimentality loaded with these terms. There is also a lot of emotional blackmail, unspoken implications, subtexts and connotations and underlying assumptions. The underlying assumption is that the Catholic Church is somehow exclusive and monochrome. Another underlying assumption is that the Catholic Church is racist and mean to LGBTQ people.
Perhaps I am wrong in spotting these implied meanings and underlying assumptions, and if I am, I’m happy to be corrected, but if we’re told the church needs to be more inclusive and diverse we must conclude that those who are making these calls do, in fact, assume that the church is NOT already inclusive and diverse.
But let’s just examine those pre-suppositions. Surely they can only be made by people who do not truly understand the Catholic Church as she really is. I come from a sectarian Christian background–first sectarian Protestant fundamentalism, then the nationalistic sect called The Church of England. I became a Catholic in 1995 and have experienced the most culturally diverse and inclusive organization imaginable.
Stop for a moment and consider that the Catholic Church is truly global. We include people of every nation, ethnicity, race and culture. What could possibly be more diverse than than the Catholic Church?
When it comes to inclusivity we are ready to include any person from any background, any race, language, ethnicity or culture. The way to be included is to repent and believe the gospel and be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If a person–any person–excludes themselves through mortal sin they can immediately be included again in the Family of God through the sacrament of reconciliation.
This inclusion operates under the intrinsic definition of inclusion, for one can only be included in something if exclusion is, at least, a theoretical possibility. You can only join a country club that has membership rules. If there are no membership rules there is nothing to join. There is no such thing as inclusion unless some people choose not to be included. Likewise with the Catholic Church–all are invited to be included, but one can only be included in an organization that has ways to be included. I can only be included on the local bus if I go to the bus stop and step aboard once the bus stops for me.
Now, all of this ought to be totally obvious to anyone who thinks about even superficially for just a moment. Because this is true and easy to figure out I suspect the calls for inclusion and diversity are actually a candy coating for something else. It is an attempt to get the Catholic Church to “include” beliefs and lifestyle choices that are anti-Catholic. It is a not too subtle attempt at spiritual blackmail. “If we blame you for being monochrome and exclusive enough you will have to open the doors to the beliefs and moral choices that we follow–even though they’re not in the least bit consistent with Catholicism.”
If that is what is intended, then in thinking it through a bit further we can see that the call for “diversity” is really an agenda for division and the call for inclusion is ultimately an agenda for exclusion. By pushing through the acceptance of non-Catholic beliefs and morality the Catholic Church will be torn apart and in seeking to include everyone–even those who have no desire to believe and live as Catholics–those who wish to follow the historic Catholic faith will be excluded. If you doubt my analysis check out the current push to quash traditional Catholic worship–from the actual leaders of the Catholic Church herself!
Nevertheless, let’s take the call for diversity and inclusion positively, but let’s also ask, “How, specifically, ought this to be accomplished?” How do we increase diversity and inclusion in the Catholic Church?
I have an exciting and long forgotten method. It’s called “evangelization”. Evangelization is preaching the gospel of reconciliation to a needy, sin-sodden, despairing people alienated from God. It is the call for people to repent and turn to God before it’s too late. It’s a reminder that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through him. When people are converted to faith in Jesus Christ and baptism into his Holy Church–then the church becomes more inclusive and diverse.
The problem is, the heresy of universalism and semi-universalism (the false teaching that everybody is already saved or that they can find God through their own spiritual path) is so rife in the church that any idea of evangelization or explicit missionary effort has died out almost completely. Church leaders tell us we are not to “proselytize”. OK I’m with that if it means using any kind of pressure or force to get people to convert, but this prohibition is understood as “You should not evangelize”
Evangelization is further weakened by equating social and temporal assistance with evangelization. Yes, we must feed the hungry, house the homeless, educate the ignorant, heal the sick and help the needy, but that’s not the same thing as the Great Commission. The old style Catholic missionaries did BOTH. They built schools and hospitals and orphanages. They ran leper colonies, housed the homeless and cared for the dying, but they also preached the gospel, catechized the people and brought them priests to give them the saving sacraments.
Let us, by all means make the Catholic Church more inclusive and diverse, but let us do so by fulfilling the Great Commission. People of all races, tribe and nation are engrafted into the Church through faithful preaching, saintly examples and works of mercy which lead to repentance, faith and baptism.