Townhall Meeting With My Bishop


On Wednesday night (10/3/2018) two friends and I went to the San Diego Cathedral, St Joseph’s, for a TownHall meeting with our Bishop, Robert McElroy. In 1972 he entered Harvard College and graduated three years later with a degree in American history. After his graduation from Harvard, Bishop McElroy attended graduate school at Stanford and in 1976 received a master’s degree in American history. Bishop McElroy obtained a licentiate in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, a doctorate in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in political science from Stanford.

The purpose of these Town Hall meetings is for him to listen to the laity and hopefully to bring the information to the Synod of American Bishops in November. This was the second Town Hall. The first was two days ago and got very raucous.

We were all seated at round tables and given 30 minutes to come up with a couple of questions that a table representative would then ask the Bishop and he would respond. Most of the questions were excellent asking such things as, “Why do you keep emphasizing ‘minors’ and abuse but not addressing the homosexuality of priests problem?” “How do you respond to Vigano’s claim?

To be honest, his responses often seemed very sincere. However, one of the women I went with is a 34 year old friend with same sex attraction who was immersed in the homosexual lifestyle for several years. She went to two priests in our diocese and a Catholic counselor seeking the truth and was told that active homosexuality was fine in the eyes of God as long as she was monogamous. So the question we asked for our table was:

Our Table Rep: “A table member, was counseled in the last 5-10 years that two priests in the San Diego diocese and a Catholic counselor who stated the advice that it was OK for her, in God’s eyes, to maintain a monogamous homosexual relationship. Do you agree with the two priests who advised her. Yes or no?”

Bishop McElroy’s response: Sure. I believe there are three teachings the Church has on homosexuality. The first is, that everyone of us is made in the image and likeness of God and called to conform our lives to that of Jesus Christ and the virtues of Christ: compassion, mercy, love understanding, integrity courage, faith, hope, and, love. Chastity is one of those virtues but to reduce any one of us to solely one element of the Christian gospel is a distortion of the Gospel. So, sometimes people categorize people solely on one element of their lives. That is not Christian. That is not Catholic. We are called to live the whole range of the virtues.

Secondly, Catholic teaching says that genital sexual activity properly, only, takes place in the context of marriage. And that any sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is not moral.

Someone nearby asked, “Between a man and woman, only? So, outside of marriage between man and man or woman and woman….?

Bishop McElroy: Any sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is wrong. ANY sexual activity.

And the third is: That any unjust discrimination or violence against  homosexual persons is an affront to the Catholic faith. Those are the three teachings.

Someone nearby: “So you think it’s OK then?

Bishop McElroy: What are you talking about?

Someone nearby: That is what it sounded like to me.

Our table rep: “But the question was in regards to the fact that the two priests who advised her,  was it alright?”

Bishop McElroy:  I wish they would go by what I just said.

SSA woman: So, what does that mean?

Our table rep: Repeated the question: “A table member, was counseled in the last 5-10 years that two priests in the San Diego diocese and a Catholic counselor who stated the advice that it was OK for her, in God’s eyes, to maintain a monogamous homosexual relationship. That is what we are looking for an answer on, here.

Bishop McElroy: Well, and my answer is that the priests should be reflecting those three teachings one of which is sexual activity takes place….

SSA woman: Can you answer directly because it was me. Could you just answer directly to me? Would that counsel….just direct, I would like to know, I am coming to you, I am not going to hurt myself, I just want to know the teachings of the Church.

Bishop McElroy: The teachings of the church are no sexual activity outside of…

SSA woman: So you would not condone the homosexual relationship that I was asking about?

Bishop McElroy: I would teach no sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

SSA woman: So then you would say no to the homosexual relationship that I was asking about.

Bishop McElroy: I would say what I said. You want me to say what you want me to say.

SSA woman: I don’t understand how you can just say that…

Bishop McElroy: Well that’s OK, but I mean…

(Murmuring from the crowd)

Someone nearby asked: ..but we need to know…

Bishop McElroy: Well, I am sorry but that is what the teaching of the Church is. OK? So, I am not going to go around condemning what priests said.

SSA woman: So should I talk to the diocese about the priest? Would that view on homosexuality, that it is OK to live in that lifestyle, being that he is still an active priest.

Bishop McElroy: This is not the forum for that.

After all the tables had a chance to ask their first question several tables asked a second question. Then the youth minister at the Cathedral asked the Bishop, pointing to our friend,

Youth Minister:“Her question, I listened to you as you spoke to her, what I didn’t hear was you speaking from the heart. I heard you speaking from the Catechism and that is great. But, she is one of these folks that has dealt with the struggle of homosexuality and she is looking for a spiritual father. Can you give her that spiritual father advice right now and tell her that it is not condoned?

Bishop McElroy:What I don’t want to do is get into countering what priests are saying. I am not going to do that. I am not going to do that.”

Bishop McElroy left out this part of Church teaching.

Chastity and homosexuality

CCC 2357Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

If the diocesan Bishop will not correct the heresy of his priests, who will?




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