Local Catholic Leaders Meet to Discuss Inclusiveness

San Diego County is home to more than one million Catholics

San Diego Catholic leaders met in San Diego this weekend to discuss how to make the Church more inclusive.

They are following Pope Francis' lead by taking on some difficult family and marriage issues like divorce.

The Church still bans gay marriage, but is trying to show an attitude that's less judgmental than in the past.

"What is changing is how do we ... apply that in a way that is radically inclusive, that is inviting everyone in and letting them know everyone has a place in God's family and the life of the Catholic Church,” Bishop Robert McElroy, of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, tells NBC 7.

McElroy says the church isn't necessarily changing any of its rules but is trying to become more accepting of some of the challenges modern families face such as military deployments, deportations and divorce.

While the new proposals are likely to upset conservative members of the Church, Pope Francis encouraged Catholic churches to welcome divorced and remarried couples earlier this year. 

“It’s something that everyone deals with or knows someone who deals with it. So encouraging that conversation in the church, I don't see how that doesn't spill over into engagement with non-Catholics for sure,” another member of the meeting says.

Other difficult family issues being discussed include domestic violence, addiction and homosexuality.

“One of the elements of this synod is also that in our notion of family, family includes gay men and women, members of the LGBT community as a whole,” McElroy says. “They're also part of God's family in a fundamental way.

Contact Us