Church and Society

Creating inclusive communities


The woman responsible for Special Religious Development in the Archdiocese of Glasgow explains the thinking behind it and the enrichment it offers to parish communities.

Inclusion is one of those words that is best understood in the negative.  We all have some experience of what it feels like not to be included, of feeling on the outside looking in.  Perhaps there was a time when we were not chosen for a team, not invited to a party, left out of a conversation, didn’t get a joke that had everyone else roaring with laughter, or when we were not being asked to do something that we longed to do.  We might recall too the gratitude we felt towards someone who noticed that we were left on the margins and took the trouble to draw us in and offered the extra help that we needed to take part.

One group of people who have more experience that most of what it is like not to be included are those who are affected by a learning or developmental disability.  Perhaps we might expect this to happen in secular society, but surely not in the church, not in our parish communities where we know ourselves to be brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, beloved children of God?  Sadly it is often the case that our brothers and sisters with learning disabilities do not feel themselves to be included in the life of the church and if they are not included, neither are their families.

Why should this be so?  Mainly it is a question of lack of awareness.  Sometimes the issue is that people with learning disabilities are not very visible in our parishes.  Families may find it hard to bring children with learning… Continue reading

Letter from America: The cult of the gun


April 4th was the 50th anniversary of the assassination, by shotgun, of Martin Luther King Jr in Memphis, Tennessee, and June 6th will be the 50th anniversary of Robert F (Bobby) Kennedy’s assassination, by hand gun, in Los Angeles, California. Continue reading

Feb/Mar 2020

In June 2019 Open House held a conference exploring possible new directions for the Catholic Church in Scotland. See conference papers.

Open House also held a conference on the role of lay people in the governance of the Catholic Church in November 2013. See conference papers.