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  • Hope on Union

“Open Church?”

On Monday, August 6, Pope Francis clarified the Catholic Church’s position on LGBT and women issues.

With the growing gap of belief between the Catholic Church and the younger generation, he said, “The Catholic Church is open to everyone, including the gay community, and that it has a duty to accompany them on a personal path of spirituality.” How nice.

But then the truth came out, “…but within the framework of [the Catholic Church’s] rules.” There it is. There is the rub. He states plainly that unless a person is willing to abide by the rules of the Catholic Church, it claims that it has the power to withhold God’s grace. How sad.

In a futile attempt to cover up the Catholic Church’s hypocrisy, he said, “Ministers in the [Catholic] Church had to accompany all people, including those not conforming to the rules, with the patience and love of a mother.” I guess some people are not good enough for God’s love, only the human love of a clergy. How condescending.

However, the Catholic Church is not the only one in trouble, the entire institutional church system must recognize the problem. The Catholic Church through its human-created rituals, and the conservative NOT-Christian church through human-created cultural doctrines, claim they have divine control over eternal life. How unbiblical.

The idea that God welcomes everyone, but the Church does not, has been unsatisfactory for millions of young people who have left the Church in the past half a century and never returned. The “done” have raised “none” and they have raised “never been”, and as many have told me, “never will”. The institutional church is permanently losing connection with severed, and. How fitting.

In the 1960s the young people left the church on racism, in the 1970s over the U.S. invasion of Vietnam and nuclear proliferation, in the 1980s over the Ronald Regan administration importing and selling cocaine to the U.S. to buy weapons for Iran and in the process creating the crack epidemic, in 1990s over the AIDS and universal healthcare, in 2000s over LGBT and gay marriages, in 2010s over the criminalization of African Americans and immigration issues, and in the 2020s over BLM and reparations. How out of touch.

To every social and moral issue of the time, the Church’s answer always has been the same, “The Church has its rules.” By claiming its “rules” are more important than helping people experience God’s grace, the Church has become unnecessary to most people in the world. How irrelevant.

The institutional church has proven that it is not a community of grace but is a religious façade of a due-paying country club for the deceived where its members believe that their membership buys them a ticket to heaven. Jesus weeps.

As a welcoming, open, and affirming congregation, let us be the community of the Way of Jesus.

Pastor Sunny

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