Cardinal Doubles Down

News: US News
by Aidan O'Connor  •  •  February 8, 2023   

Claims St. Paul unclear on the Holy Eucharist

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SAN DIEGO ( - A heterodox American cleric is doubling down on his call to change Church teaching.

Cdl. Robert McElroy

San Diego Cardinal Robert McElroy appeared on a podcast last week to defend his erroneous claims about homosexuality and Holy Communion. The cardinal has pushed for "radical inclusion" as Rome's global Synod on Synodality approaches.

"My problem is, we have cast violations for which you need to not go to the Eucharist, or need to go to confession first, largely in terms of sexual things," noted McElroy on the podcast Jesuiticial.

He adds, "It springs from this notion that comes to us from the 16th century that all sexual sins are mortal. That's what I'm challenging ... ."

The California cardinal called for a more open approach to receiving Holy Communion:

What I believe is the right way for us to move in terms of pastoral theology, springs from Pope Francis' notion that the Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect; it's healing and medicine for those in need of God's help. Well, that's all of us. It's not a reward. It doesn't go only to the best-behavers. And so our role in the church should be to expand the openness of the Eucharist for all those Catholics who are striving to live by the Gospel and teachings of the church. I believe they should all be welcomed into the Eucharist.

Meanwhile, Germany's errant Synodal Way has also been pushing for Communion for divorced-and-remarried couples. McElroy pointed to the worldwide Synod on Synodality listening sessions, where many responders called for more so-called inclusion within the Church.

"In the synodal dialogues that occurred, it's all the same from place to place throughout the country," McElroy revealed. "The positive themes are: joy in the Eucharist, in the sacramental life of the church, joy in the community, joy in the hope that they express for the future."

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McElroy clarified the Synodal results, noting: "But one of the other sets of challenges was on this whole area of inclusion, specifically, the treatment of women, divorced and remarried, L.G.B.T. persons, racism, discrimination against ethnic groups, against the undocumented, all these sorts of marginalizations."

When asked if the catechism on eucharistic reception should be changed, he claimed St. Paul's admonition in Scripture regarding the unworthy reception of Holy Communion is unclear.

It's interesting: St. Paul never speaks about the subject matter. There's no substance of what he's saying — "If you do this … ." We don't say it's automatically a mortal sin to rip off your employees or exploit them. We don't say it's automatically a mortal sin to mistreat your children or your spouse. Those are very serious elements of the moral life. But we don't automatically say those are mortal sins. It springs from this notion that comes to us from the 16th century that all sexual sins are mortal. That's what I'm challenging in the essay. I don't think that's a good part of the Catholic moral tradition.

Our Sunday Visitor's Editor Michael R. Heinlein blasted an article McElroy penned last month:

[McElroy's] proposed wish list for an ecclesial "conversion" of "radical inclusion" — a call to "reforming our own structures of exclusion" — doesn't actually talk about real conversion. Missing is a crucial invitation to follow Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Missing is the necessary push toward cooperation with grace and obedience to Christ that defines the Christian life. Without those, how can we, like St. Paul, allow Christ to dwell in us?

McElroy ironically noted that many Catholics, including young peopleare concerned about the upcoming synod: "One of the things that I think is not helpful is that some people who are opposed to the synod or in various ways are urging tremendous caution on the synod."

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