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Pope Appoints Gay-Friendly Bishop
to San Francisco

Marian T. Horvat

Benedict XVI has named Msgr. Robert W. McElroy to be an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The appointment was announced at the Vatican and concurrently in Washington, D.C. by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

Robert McElroy is compromising on homosexuality

An appointment that pleases the progressivists and 'homosexual community'
It is a happy moment for progressivists who were becoming concerned that this Pope might be moving a bit to the right. Columns in America and National Catholic Reporter have already applauded the appointment of the 56-year-old native San Franciscan who was ordained in 1980. Well, indeed they should, since McElroy receives high scores on their report cards on the burning issues of the day. I offer some examples:
  • By their own admittance, Msgr. McElroy is friendly and compromising on homosexuality. I will return to this topic shortly.

  • In a 2005 article in America magazine, he openly opposed refusing Communion to or – don’t even think about it! – the excommunication of Catholic politicians who support abortion. A discipline like this would make the Church appear too ‘partisan,’ ‘Republican’ and ‘coercive,’ he argues.

  • In another article, he championed John Courtney Murray – who played a pivotal role in drafting Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom – as “the most significant Catholic theologian the U.S. ever produced.”

In short, the new auxiliary Bishop should not rock any boats in the notoriously progressivist and liberal San Francisco Archdiocese (home of Holy Redeemer Parish here, here and here). A native San Franciscan, he is one ‘of their own’ – nurtured and placed in important posts and parishes by progressivist Archbishops John Quinn and William Levada.

Friendly on homosexuality

San Francisco is an important Archdiosese, with its 437,000 Catholics and 457 priests, 79 permanent deacons, and 931 religious. Unfortunately, its progressivist approach and tolerance policy toward homosexuals have made it a symbolic bastion for the ‘left’ since the early 1980s. Under Archbishop John Quinn it was among the first to open its doors to Dignity ministries and host an openly ‘gay-friendly’ parish, Holy Redeemer (MHR) Catholic Church, a parish that boasts today its open same-sex “married” Eucharistic ministers.

Most Holy Redemeer parish marches in gay parade

MHR marching openly in the SF Gay Parade
In 1992, Quinn made headlines for openly opposing the (very moderate) Vatican document that declared homosexuals and lesbians do not have the same civil rights as heterosexuals. The document, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), stated it is morally acceptable to discriminate against homosexuals in public housing, the adoption of children and in certain types of employment such as teaching.

It was Fr. Robert McElroy, speaking in the name of the Archdiocese, who announced that despite the Vatican position, “there would be no change in policy regarding discrimination against homosexuals” in the San Francisco Archdiocese. He explained the defiance by noting that the CDF document was only “advisory” and not “binding.” (1)

Then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the CDF, made no reprisals for this stance of open defiance to his document or correction to McElroy’s interpretation.

McElroy’s name appeared again in the news in 2006 as one of the ‘moral theologians’ who managed to find a comfortable compromise position for the Archdiocese regarding arranging adoptions for same-sex ‘couples.’

Adoptions by gay and lesbians

Family Builder ads openly promote adoptions by lesbians and homosexuals
When the Archdiocese was instructed by the CDF to end its policy of placing children for adoption in same-sex homosexual households, Msgr. McElroy helped find the solution: San Francisco Catholic Charities would no longer supervise “direct placement” of adopted children to anyone. Instead, it would send staff members and funding to an organization - Family Builders by Adoption - that helped “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender coouples” adopt children.(2) For the next two years, Catholic Charities provided close to $250,000 each year for two of its staff to assist with adoptions at Family Builders.

Msgr. McElroy, already known for his ‘elastic’ views on homosexual issues, thus stretched the boundaries of the CDF directive to accommodate those who want to adopt children. The website Queerty.com, a "gay blog for the queer community," hailed the new partnership as a "brilliant answer to a needless problem."

After that action, Fr. McElroy was criticized by conservatives as being “out of line with the Vatican.” (3) Since there has been no indication his position has changed on this issue, I wonder how those conservatives will reconcile the fact that today the Vatican has rewarded the dissident pastor and theologian, elevating him to become an Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco?

Don’t rock the boat

One of the lines of defense the Vatican has adopted against the rolling scandal of pedophile priests and its correspondent cover-up by Bishops is to cite experts affirming that clergy pedophilia is a consequence of the general homosexual tendency present everywhere.

I agree that homosexuals and pedophile priests would both have the same tendencies and sin against nature. But what I do not understand is how the Vatican would choose a homosexual-friendly Bishop for San Francisco. Isn’t the Vatican promoting both vices at the same time? Wouldn't the San Francisco Archdiocese be a first focus point in the United States to establish Bishops who would employ corrective and disciplinary measures?

If the Pope truly wants to stem pedophilia in the Church, he should reward men who show no spirit of compromise on ‘gay’ marriage and homosexual ministries. If he wants to reform corrupt dioceses – like the Archdiocese of San Francisco, he should not reward clergy – like Msgr. McElroy – who have openly supported homosexuality.
1. The full title of the document issued by the Congregatioin for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Responding to Legislative Proposals on Discriminations against Homosexuals,” Origins, August 6, 1992, pp. 173-177, in Atila Sinke Guimaraes, Vatican II, Homosexuality & Pedophilia, pp. 82-83.
2. George Neumayr, A Distinction Without A Difference, online article
3. Ibid.


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Posted June 11, 2010

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