Bishop McElroy aligns himself with Bishop McGrath

When it comes to the sacraments for those in same-sex marriages, San Diego bishop says he agrees with approach of San Jose bishop -- not that of Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois

Massgoers at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church June 19, 2016; The congregation remembered the victims of the June 12 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. (CNS/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Although response from Catholic clergy has been muted in the wake of Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s June 12 decree that prohibits Catholics in “same-sex ‘marriage’ ” from receiving Communion, lay organizations have been vocal about their disdain for the decree.

The decree bars Catholics in same-sex marriages from receiving Communion as well as from receiving “ecclesiastical funeral rites,” unless they show signs of repentance before death.

The decree also bans people in same-sex marriages from serving in liturgical ministries. The decree does state that any children “living with persons in a same-sex marriage” cannot be denied acceptance to Catholic schools or other programs.

The statement ends by saying that people experiencing “same-sex attraction” are welcome in the diocesan parishes “as we repent our sins and pray for God to keep us in His grace.”

Most dioceses have stayed silent about Paprocki’s decree — even those known for supporting LGBT ministries. Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, who spoke at LGBT organization New Ways Ministry’s symposium in April, refused a request from NCR for comment.

The communications director at the Archdiocese of Newark, Jersey, said, “We don’t comment on another bishop’s statement or actions.” Newark’s archbishop, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, recently made news when the archdiocese’s basilica offered a pilgrimage for Catholics identifying as LGBTQ and their families. Tobin welcomed the group by saying “I am your brother, as a disciple of Jesus. I am your brother, as a sinner who finds mercy with the Lord,” according to a New York Times story.

Bishop McElroy: If the diocese puts limits on which sinners can have funerals, “we’re going to have very few funerals in the Diocese of San Diego.” (image: NC Reporter)

Communications personnel at the Archdiocese of Chicago told NCR that “the Archdiocese of Chicago does not have the same policies as Springfield. We do not comment on policies of other dioceses.” In the past, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has reached out to the LGBT community. Following the Pulse nightclub shooting, Cupich addressed a letter to the community offering support and hope. Cupich was one of a few prelates who publically addressed the shooting while also naming the LGBT community.

The most substantial response to the decree from a prelate came from Bishop Patrick McGrath of San Jose, California. McGrath issued a letter to his diocese June 29 addressing the recent “confusing” policies related to members of the LGBT community.

“I take this opportunity to assure you that the pastoral response in the Diocese of San Jose remains just that: compassionate and pastoral. We will not refuse sacraments or Christian burial to anyone who requests them in good faith,” McGrath wrote.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego told NCR that he agrees with the “approach” McGrath has taken.

“I think that is the appropriate policy that I would hope the priests would observe, especially in the times of funerals, but more broadly in the sense of regular pastoral action in support of men and women who are in all states of lives and who have all sorts of challenges,” McElroy said. “Our fundamental stance has to be one of inclusion in the church, especially during a time of burial.”

If the diocese puts limits on which sinners can have funerals, McElroy said, “we’re going to have very few funerals in the Diocese of San Diego.” He said he “hope[s] and believe[s]” that a similar stance is taken by most bishops in the U.S.

This is not the first time Paprocki has been vocal about the LGBT community.

In May 2013, Paprocki gave a speech on “Marriage, Same-sex relationships and the Catholic Church.” The speech opens with Paprocki talking about the 2002 death of his former secretary, Mary Stachowicz. Paprocki explains that Stachowicz was murdered after she “urged her co-worker … to change his gay lifestyle.” He compared her death to the one of Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming, for identifying as gay.

“Both murders were senseless and brutal, and I condemn them both unequivocally,” Paprocki said. However, “Mary’s murder was widely ignored by the media, despite the fact that she died as a martyr for her faith.”

NCR contacted the diocese of Springfield to ask if the bishop wanted to respond to reactions against the decree. The diocese sent a copy of Paprocki’s July 9 column in the diocesan newspaper, Catholic Times, saying that “explains everything.”

Full story at The National Catholic Reporter.


  1. So, McElroy agrees with McGrath re McLGBTs. What else is McNew?

  2. John Patrick says:

    Both these bishops are sick and certainly not Catholic when they cater to practicing gays and try to gloss over their public sin. They are a disgrace to the Catholic Church and will pay a heavy price when they face Christ in the judgment after death.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know these bishops “will pay a heavy price when they face Christ in the judgment after death”???

      You don’t.

      • Yes we do. Christ was not shy about extra marital sex being wrong and he also was very clear about shepherds who misled sheep. I’m sorry if the thought of ‘justice’ scares you, because we live in such ‘permissive’ times, but Christ was not unaware of some of these same practices. Ignorance does not absolve and hubris is being enacted by these two men who are acting outside of the commitment to HOly Mother church. They are cruel and arrogant and treacherous. IT is not kindness to be permissive of intercourse whether same sex or heterosexual when God decreed that for all ages it is a heresy against divinely planned biology. That may be unwelcome to hear, but it is nonetheless true and there is nothing mean or arrogant about it, as all…

  3. USCCB, please discipline these wayward shepherds before they lead more of their sheep astray. Heavenly Father, please correct your Bishops.

  4. Here is an excellent article on the subject from a well respected clergy:

  5. Robert Bushlow says:

    Here is that article I mentioned:

  6. Clinton R. says:

    The bishops who affirm the homosexual lifestyle are not helping those in desperate need
    at all. If one wishes to be Catholic, then be Catholic. Adding LGBT
    in front of Catholic means one indentifies with his sin. Do we ever hear
    of “Adulterer Catholics”, or “Masturbator Catholics” or “Pornographer Catholics”? We are all sinners,
    in need of the sanctifying grace of the Sacraments. We are all called to be holy. A true pastor of
    souls knows his spiritual children need to be guided properly so they may enter into the Kingdom of Heaven,
    and avoid the fires of hell.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Church, which has used its infallible teaching authority to proclaim souls in heaven, has never used this same authority to declare souls in hell.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      We do hear of “single Catholic” “married catholic” “engaged catholic”, “Italian catholic”, so why not “LGBT catholic” ?

  7. If priests are going to deny people the sacraments based on sexual orientation at least two questions need to be addressed: 1) How will a parishioner’s sexual orientation be assessed or known?, 2) What other sins will be used as a foundation for denying the sacraments? Exploiting ones employees? Profiting from the war industries? Ignoring the poor and homeless?

    • All4Him says:

      Ralph, this is WHY our Catholic Teaching is important and how Cannon Laws are addressed in these issues. I agree that the latter sins you mentioned are socially immoral, however the former (the Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses as intrinsically evil) which are the gravely immoral, Priests are in authority under their local Bishop. Even so, there are priests who will disregard The Catholic Church’s Teaching, and do as they will. Pray, pray, pray, for many bishops,priests and religious will fall, as Our Lady of Fatima had warned.

  8. Catherine says:

    Please read or look up truth filled excerpts from Bella Dodd’s book ‘School of Darkness’. This will help those who are truly striving to be faithful to understand what is happening in the Vatican scandals as well as the local scandals of compromised leadership. Bella Dodd said that along with other evil worldly power agendas, the Communist party deliberately placed homosexuals within seminaries to undermine the Teachings of the Church. Didn’t Our Lady of Fatima warn us all that if men did not repent and change their lives, that Russia would spread her errors? Didn’t Our Lady of Akita warn us about those who have compromised her son’s teachings and that Cardinal would be against Cardinal and Bishop against Bishop? (continued)

    • Catherine says:

      Yes, we are all sinners! The Catholic Church is a refuge for all sinners! NOT a refuge for sinful acts! Our Lady wants ALL of her Priests, Bishops and Cardinals to be saved. This is her motherly plea, even to those who are currently leading others astray. You cannot successfully treat any heterosexual or homosexual addict of sinful acts without the proper and charitable tools of revealing the full truth. God bless, Bishop Thomas John Joseph Paprocki for aligning his followers to Christ. Pray for the conversion of Bishop McElroy who now publicly aligns (compromises) himself with Bishop McGrath. You see, there is nothing new under the sun. We have seen this before in the Gospel. (continued)

      • Catherine says:

        Bishop Paprocki is actually comforting Our Lord by leading the flock to follow Christ. Bishop Paprocki is simply using a pound of truthful precious nard while then being questioned, denigrated and persecuted by his own brother bishops for spiritually teaching the correct thing. Judas also questioned and publicly denigrated Mary for comforting Our Lord with the precious perfumed oil. Judas also feigned concern for the poor and marginalized because Judas was a thief. Holding back on the fullness of revealed truth is a terrible thievery being committed by wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jesus, lovingly told the woman caught in adultery to “Go and sin no more.” God bless you, Bishop Paprocki, for following the example of Christ!

  9. justfeddup says:

    L-G-B-T-Q in New Speak.
    S-A-T-A-N in Old Speak.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Seriously? Apparently you ignore the catechism that applies to straight catholics with regard to gay people. Treat them with dignity and respect, it says, not with disdain and disrespect.

  10. Covfefe says:

    Accept that bishops like McGrath and McElroy don’t believe in the Gospel and don’t have Catholic faith. That’s the only explanation for their behavior. They subscribe to some universal salvation malarkey, so it doesn’t matter how people live, whether anyone belongs to the Church, nor what the Church does: everyone gets into heaven regardless. They will do whatever they need to do to ensure their comfortable lives paid for on the backs of the people they dupe into contributing to the diocese. Why not give Communion to LGBTs? It doesn’t matter; nothing matters to them except their comfort.

    • Anonymous says:

      FWIMBW: An intrinsically evil act is one that is always wrong. However, the word ‘intrinsic’ does not address the gravity of an act. As theologian Cathleen Kaveny noted a few years ago, some acts that are not intrinsically evil are, in fact, of greater gravity than intrinsically evil acts.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Church has never condemned the doctrine of universal salvation. In fact, Luke 15’s three parables support this doctrine: It is God (shepherd, woman, father) who initiates searching for sinners and reconciling them with God. Sinners can express repentance ONLY BECAUSE God reached them first, forgave them, and thereby healed them, thus making it possible for helpless souls to express sorrow for their sins. The name of Jesus means “God saves”, not “God saves only if”. This is the Good News of our salvation.

  11. Anonymous says:

    So, having sex with someone other than one’s spouse and Holy Communion too depends upon the diocese in which one attends Mass?

  12. Consistent Teaching, Please says:

    It seems to me that a Bishop who publicly declares that XXX may not receive Holy Communion (in this case, people practicing homosexuality), must ALSO declare that YYY and ZZZ may not receive Holy Communion: for instance, people married civilly but not in the Church (and who are thus living in sin); single people who are having sex with others whom they are dating; everyone who practices masturbation; married couples using contraception. Focusing just on sexuality, to be consistent, a Bishop has the duty to proclaim the ENTIRE truth of the Church’s teaching on chastity, not only for homosexuals, but also for heterosexuals. All of us are called to chastity, according to our station in life!

  13. Consistent Teaching, Please says:

    These words from Anonymous, “So, having sex with someone other than one’s spouse and Holy Communion too depends upon the diocese in which one attends Mass?” are a clear indicator of the chaos and confusion we face even in the American Dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church. Some Bishops tell us to stand for the Eucharistic Prayer, even though the directives are clear that we should kneel. As in the military, I believe they should “get their act together” and speak with one voice on important issues, rather than having each Bishop make things up as he goes along!

  14. Bp Paprocki was mistaken in comparing his secretary to the likes of Matthew Shepard, though understandable given the hefty but bogus promotion of MS as poster child of gay victimhood.

    Turns out Shepard was dealing meth and died in a drug transaction gone bad, killed by his sometime sex partner. But as Jimmy Stewart found out, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

    • Anne T. says:

      God bless you also, Hymie, for defending this poor woman. Matthew Shepard was killed because he was involved in crime and hung around with criminals. That was not the case with the bishop’s secretary. She was just trying to live her faith and earn a decent living.

  15. Catherine says:

    What happens when the Mother of God is ignored? Chaos and confusion!

    Rabbi Mayer Schiller (Rabbinic Scholar) on Fatima, its Suppression, and the Consecration of Russia – YouTube

    • Catherine, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict both said Russia was consecrated. I believe them. Many hate Putin because he is taking the advice of the Orthodox bishops and rebuilding churches and making laws conforming more to Christian teaching, especiaily on marriage between one man and one woman. He is not perfect, but some who hate him our far, far worse. They want to bring back Communism.

  16. We learned that the Laramie, Wyoming was a ‘gay on gay’ and it was drug related, had nothing to do with his ‘coming out’

    If these are not allowed to speak and the ‘worthy’ bishops do not back these who have rejected actively practicing same sex activity, it is very clear it is politics and not compassion that is driving them . Ah poor shepherds. Heavier is the penalty for those who shepherd sheep astray. Praying for them is obligatory but I have to admit that my thoughts are not that charitable when I do pray for them.

  18. No we do not judge who is going to Hell, but the church has never until recently shirked its duty to warn against very clearly condemned behavior that will put them in dire peril of Hell. Small consolation for those who take that route that while alive they were never judged as doomed…when in fact their activities lead to where they were warned they would.

    How much more compassionate for a man COMMITTED as a shepherd to guide. These men effectively are telling the sheep that there are no wolves and there is no harm.

    THAT is the opposite of compassionate. If they wanted everyone to love them they ought to have belonged to some other denomination.

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