Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I love the Catholic Church! You may be thinking that’s an odd thing to start a letter with. But this topic has been swirling around in my head for the last several weeks about how wonderful the Church truly is, particularly for the membership within. And I’d like to discuss a bit of what I mean.

Theologically speaking, it’s important to note that the Catholic Church is a divine institution. Indeed, we describe it as quite literally the mystical body of Christ. As such, we believe that the divine inspiration of the doctrine and dogmas of the Church are infallible, that is, cannot be wrong. Historically speaking, we do need to recognize that while the institution itself is divine, it’s full of human beings who have occasionally made mistakes. Popes such as St. John Paul II have even made public apologies on behalf of the Church in certain cases.

One of the greatest aspects of our Church, of our community of faith, is the fact that it is catholic or universal. I firmly believe and stand in good company with theologians, that there is a place for everyone in the life of the Catholic Church. I’m not saying that every lifestyle or sinful action will be seen as acceptable; the Church’s moral teaching on topics such as chastity, anti- discrimination, and the preferential option for poor are non-negotiable. But if there’s no place certain groups of people or for differences in both political slants and visions for the Church, then why did Christ instruct His disciples to baptize ALL nations? We all belong. We all have a place in the Church.

It’s too easy in modern times to see distinctions and get into “us vs them” type thinking. It’s very hard to encounter those who differ from us and welcome them. But whether we are more progressive in our thinking or more conservative, more liberal or more traditional, the Church is less without all voices being part of the conversation. No, the Church is not likely to change its mind anytime soon on certain issues. No, the Church isn’t going back to the good old days either. The Catholic Church covers a broad spectrum of peoples, cultures, and opinions and is the better for it.

And so, if you find yourself more towards the front of seeking and desiring change in society and furthering the Church’s work in all of that, I love that you’re part of our community. If you find yourself working in and maintaining some of the great traditions of the Church, liturgically, spiritually, or morally speaking, I love that you’re part of our community. And if you are bit more in the middle of things such as myself, happy with many aspects but recognizing the need to be open to development both personally and institutionally, I love that you’re part of our community.

Let us all find unity and belonging in the Catholic Church!

Peace and Goodness,
Fr. Dan