Picturing an inclusive Church

Dear Editor, I was interested to read David Quinn’s piece ‘Why the Church cannot be all inclusive’ (IC 2/1/14). I’d like to take up two points in relation to his thoughts:

1.That “horrible and impossible to contemplate turn of events” that he fears, has already taken place. The fact is that God Himself is ‘pro-choice’ and, by extension, so is His Church. When God created us he did so as a people with the facility to choose between right and wrong. It is obviously God’s will that we exercise that choice for good, but the Garden of Eden story illustrates how the first humans exercised that choice instead for selfishness. It is unfortunate that the term ‘pro-choice’ has been hijacked and become synonymous with ‘pro-abortion’.  

2.On the issue of inclusiveness, David seems to adopt a rather simplistic view of what an open welcoming Church is, quite at odds with the stated view of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium. David’s premise seems to be that everyone is welcome as long as they are at one with all the Church believes and teaches. We are a pilgrim people, each on his/her own journey to the fullness of faith and grace. During my 60 years on this Earth I have yet to meet any man or woman who has yet reached that fullness. If the Church was only welcoming to those in full accord with the fullness of truth as it subsists within the Church, then it would be acting against the words of Christ Himself when he said that it is the sick who need the physician, not the healthy. (Matt 9 & Mark 2)

My prayer is that we can join with Pope Francis in saying to our brothers and sisters, “To those who feel far from God and the Church, to all those who are fearful or indifferent, I would like to say this: the Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of his people!” (Evangelii Gaudium 113)

Yours etc.,

Paddy Shannon,


Co Down.