While we operate alongside the institutional parish structure and are thus free to welcome everyone to our Eucharistic table, our identity is thus much more rooted in inclusivity than independence. As a community, we are interdependent – not just with other members of alternative communities, but with members of other churches, especially the more traditional, institutional Roman Catholic Church. As the Body of Christ, we belong together and to one another. We welcome discussion and contemplative dialogue!
As Paul wrote in his letter to the communities in Corinth, “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor….If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
Radical inclusivity means employing what Richard Rohr and others have called “non-dual consciousness.” The institutional church may discourage Catholics from celebrating the Sacraments in other ways, in other places than their own parish churches, but that does not mean we have to choose one or the other. Many people who attend small, inclusive house churches or online Eucharistic liturgies celebrated without a priest, or with priests from other Catholic traditions such as the Ecumenical Catholic Church or the Roman Catholic Womenpriests also attend Mass at their local churches that are part of the parish system. Most alternative liturgies include prayers for all entrusted with leadership in the Catholic Church, including members of the institutional hierarchy.
The only difference? When folks attend inclusive liturgies, all are welcome at the Table of Christ. In the words of the famous hymn: “As we share in Christ the feast that frees us, All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.”
“I yearn for you to comprehend, through the community of God’s beloved, the incredible breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love. I pray that you will directly experience this Love, beyond your wildest imaginings, and be filled up with the fullness of God. God is working in and through this community to accomplish more than we could ask for or dream of.” (Ephesians 3:17-20)