“Radical Inclusion”: The Key to Understanding the Coming Synod

“Radical Inclusion”: The Key to Understanding the Coming Synod
“Radical Inclusion”: The Key to Understanding the Coming Synod

Pope Francis has convoked a “Synod on Synodality,” which will convene in Rome this coming October. Many faithful Catholics have expressed concern over the coming synod, as its promoters have proposed severe and potentially destructive changes to the Church’s structure.

Synod leaders have repeatedly expressed their desire to discuss “inclusion.” The following article, taken from the recently published book “The Synodal Process Is a Pandora’s Box,” explains what the word “inclusion” means for the Synod’s promoters.

Despite the importance the synodal process attaches to imperative “inclusion,” none of the official documents define this term. The assumption seems to be that, since synodality consists in “journeying together,” all humanity must participate in that journey, excluding no one.1

Seeing as there is no religious definition of “inclusion,” we suppose that the drafters of the synodal documents employ it in its modern meaning in civil society: “the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.”2

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While this term is often used as a synonym for integration, there is an important difference because “integration implies adapting individuals to the characteristics of the environment,” while inclusion “is based on the adaptation of social norms, policies and realities to allow integrating all members of society in a diverse manner,”3 that is, sacrificing the collective identity to accept everyone “as is” for the sake of diversity.

The “Inclusion” Proposal’s Dangerous Implications

Gavin Ashenden—former Anglican bishop and chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, a convert to Catholicism, and now vice-director of the well-known Catholic Herald daily—denounced the Synod’s Working Document for the Continental Stage as a Trojan horse. It seeks to manipulate people’s minds by playing with “talismanic words”4 such as diversity, inclusion, and equality. He writes: “The trick is very simple. It sets out to use a word that looks very attractive at first sight but contains a hidden twist, so that it ends up meaning something different, perhaps even the opposite.”

With great insight, Ashenden continues:

The document is called Enlarge the space of your tent (from Isaiah 54:2). The controlling idea it sets out to implement is that of “radical inclusion.” The tent is presented as a place of radical inclusion from which no one is excluded, and this idea serves as a hermeneutical key to interpreting the whole document.

The words trick is easily explained. The association with being excluded is being unloved. Since God is love, he obviously doesn’t want anyone to experience being unloved and therefore excluded; ergo God, who is Love, must be in favor of radical inclusion. Consequently, the language of hell and judgment in the New Testament must be some form of aberrational hyperbole which must not be taken seriously, because the idea of God as inclusive love takes precedence. And since these two concepts are mutually contradictory, one of them has to go. Inclusion stays, judgment and hell go. Which is another way of saying, “Jesus goes, and Marx stays.”

This is then applied to overturn all the Church’s dogmatic and ethical teaching.

Women are no longer to be excluded from ordination, LGBT relationships are to be recognized as marriage; and then the real extension of the progressive ambition breaks the surface as there is the suggestion that polygamists are reached out to and drawn “within the tent of the Church.”

It would be a serious mistake not to realize that the progressive liberal mindset wants to change the ethics of the faith. So it replaces the categories of “holiness and sin” with “inclusion and alienation.” The roots of this usage of the term alienation are of course found in Marx.5

“Radical Inclusion” Threatens to Change Church Structures and Doctrines

According to Synod promoters, the path toward greater inclusion “begins with listening and requires a broader and deeper conversion of attitudes and structures.”6 “This conversion”—the Working Document continues—“translates into an equally continuous reform of the Church, its structures and style.7 One of the synodal process’ main goals is “to renew our mentalities and our ecclesial structures,”8 which “will naturally call for a renewal of structures at various levels of the Church.”9

Get the book now! The Synodal Process Is a Pandora’s Box is now available for $10.95.
Click here to get your copy now.

The well-known American canonist and religious analyst Fr. Gerald E. Murray rightly observes that the “inclusion” of these “marginalized minorities” would have the immediate consequence of:

discarding teachings that contradict the beliefs and desires of:

– those living in adulterous second “marriages,”

– men who have two or three or more wives,

– homosexuals and bisexuals,

– people who believe they are not the sex they were born as,

– women who want to be ordained deacons and priests,

– lay people who want the authority given by God to bishops and priests. . . .

[And he concludes,] there is plainly an open revolution going on in the Church today, an attempt to convince us that an embrace of heresy and immorality is not sinful, but rather a response to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through people who feel marginalized by a Church that has, up to now, been unfaithful to its mission.10

“Inclusion” Implements Liberation Theology’s “Church of the Poor”

For decades, the so-called liberation theologians had begun to broaden the Marxist concept of the “poor”—that is, the materially dispossessed—to include any category that supposedly feels “oppressed,” such as women, indigenous peoples, blacks, homosexuals, and so forth.

In light of the synodal journey, the Synthesis of the Continental Stage of the Synod for Latin America and the Caribbean, strongly influenced by liberation theology, again proposes the old idea of the “Church of the poor” or “people’s Church.”

Get the book now! The Synodal Process Is a Pandora’s Box is now available for $10.95.
Click here to get your copy now.

Speaking of a “Church that is ‘a refuge for the wounded and the broken’” (one would say the “oppressed”), the Latin American Document affirms:

It is important that in the synodal process, we dare to bring up and discern great themes that are often forgotten or pushed aside and to meet the other and all those who are part of the human family and are often marginalized, even in our Church. Several appeals remind us that, in the spirit of Jesus, we must “include the poor, LGTBIQ+ communities, couples in a second union, priests who want to return to the Church in their new situation, women who have abortions out of fear, prisoners, the sick” (Southern Cone). It is about “walking together in a synodal Church that listens to all kinds of exiles, so that they feel at home,” a Church that is “a refuge for the wounded and the broken.” 11

As we can see, the word inclusion’s dangerous ambiguity sets the stage for radical upheavals that will take the Church leftward.

Photo Credit:  © sborisov – stock.adobe.com


1. “This process involves a discernment on the main synodal theme ‘how we walk together today’ and its priorities are developed in a manner as inclusive as possible.” “Frequently Asked Questions on the Continental Stage,” no. 2, Synod.va, accessed Jun. 12, 2023, https://www.synod.va/content/dam/synod/common/phases/continental-stage/FAQ_Continental-Stage_EN.pdf.
2. Google, meaning of the term inclusion, Jun. 12, 2023, https://www.google.com/search?q=inclusion+meaning.
3. https://conceptodefinicion.de/inclusion/. (Our translation.)
4. In his work Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira studies in depth the role played by “talismanic words” in revolutionary propaganda.
5. Gavin Ashenden, “The Vatican New Synod’s Document Radically Overturns Christian Teaching,” Catholic Herald, Nov. 1, 2022, https://catholicherald.co.uk/the-vaticans-new-synod-document-radically-overturns-christian-teaching/. Reprinted with permission.
6. General Secretariat, “Enlarge the Space,” no. 32.
7. General Secretariat, “Enlarge the Space,” no. 101.
8. Synod of Bishops, Vademecum, 11.
9. Synod of Bishops, 21.
10. Gerald E. Murray, “A Self-Destructive Synod,” The Catholic Thing, Oct. 31, 2022, https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2022/10/31/a-self-destructive-synod/. Reprinted with permission.
11. CELAM, “Synthesis of the Continental Stage of the Synod for Latin America and the Caribbean,” no. 65, https://kongreskk.pl/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Synteza-Ameryki-Lacinskiej-i-Karaibow.pdf.