The following are excerpts from a letter to the faithful by Bishop Robert W. McElroy published by The Southern Cross:
Last month, Pope Francis issued an authoritative teaching document on marriage and family life which he entitled “The Joy of Love.”
In October of this year, I will convene a diocesan synod which focuses exclusively on the topics of marriage and family life that Pope Francis has raised in “The Joy of Love.” Each of our 100 parishes will have a representative in the synod. The majority of the representatives will be lay men and women, which is particularly important on this topic of marriage and family. There will be preparatory sessions during the coming months.
A diocesan synod embraces the dimensions of theological reflection, pastoral insight, visioning and governing, all within the context of a deep spiritual orientation to the wider life of the Church. The synod in October will focus on five major challenges contained in “The Joy of Love”: witnessing to the beauty and realism of the Catholic vision of marriage; the need to form a culture of invitation to unmarried couples; the nurturing of children; ministry to those who have been divorced; and bringing spiritual depth to family life in its various forms. It is my hope that our synod will provide a moment of profound renewal and growth in our ecclesial support of the families in San Diego and Imperial counties. And it is my hope that this synod will be a genuine reflection of the mercy and compassion of God in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
AGENDA FOR THE SYNOD ON ‘THE JOY OF LOVE’
II. The Challenge to Form a Culture of Invitation and Hospitality to Unmarried Couples
Immense numbers of young Catholic couples who fully intend to marry in the Church live together before their Catholic marriage. In approaching couples in all of these situations, Pope Francis states that we must be consistently clear that Catholic marriage in the fullness of its vision remains the moral requirement for all. But he also emphasizes that the Church’s teaching and outreach should not ignore the love, sacrifice and commitment which is reflected in so many of these relationships which differ from marriage, because to do so is to ignore the presence of elements of God’s grace in the hearts of these young men and women and to alienate many of them from the Church.
In order to achieve this balance toward the invitational outreach of the Church to couples in civil marriage or cohabiting, “The Joy of Love” states that such couples must be “welcomed and guided patiently and discretely.” Whatever their situation, “all these situations require a constructive response seeking to transform them into opportunities that can lead to the full reality of marriage in conformity with the Gospel.” Pope Francis points to the “law of gradualness” which the Synod on the Family of 1980 explored in depth, a principle which recognizes that men and women tend to accomplish moral good in stages of growth. This principle requires an outreach to couples who are living together or in civil marriage which reflects love more than judgment, which affirms the beautiful elements of love already present in the lives of such couples while constantly beckoning them to the permanent commitment of Catholic marriage.
The principle of gradualness reaches far beyond the question of marriage to embrace all elements of the Christian moral life, for it really is an embodiment of the pastoral method of the Lord Himself. Pope Francis repeatedly cites the example of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well as a prism through which to construct the Church’s outreach to young couples, a prism which embraces them in their humanity and their love, rather than categorizing them as living in sin.
The challenge to build a culture of invitation and hospitality for couples who are not yet married requires us to examine practices which, while they have a certain legitimacy, alienate young couples and leave them feeling that they are unwanted in the life of the Church. Various rules about which churches will accept specific couples for marriage can leave Catholic couples feeling shut out. Diocesan rules about the setting for marriage are also often experienced by couples as a source of alienation. The lack of pastoral outreach and information for couples who are married civilly constitutes a barrier to their being married in the Church. During the diocesan synod in October, existing rules and practices which are alienating must be examined, and creative new pathways to inviting couples to the full commitment of Catholic married life must be explored.
IV. The Challenge to Provide Authentic Pastoral Support for Those Who Are Divorced
But what of Catholics who have remarried civilly after a divorce?
“The Joy of Love” powerfully asserts that the Church’s pastoral care for those in second marriages must “allow them not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the body of Christ, but also to know that they can have a joyful and fruitful experience in it …. Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel.”
Many Catholics who have been divorced and remarried conclude for a variety of legitimate reasons — many of them arising out of caring concern for the effects that an annulment process might have on the feelings of adult children or former spouses — that they cannot initiate the annulment process. What is their status in the Church?
“The Joy of Love” emphasizes that no abstract rule can embody the many complexities of the circumstances, intentions, levels of understanding and maturity which originally surrounded the action of a man or woman in entering their first marriage, or which surround the new moral obligations to a spouse or children which have already been produced by a second marriage. Thus, Pope Francis rejects the validity of any blanket assertion that “all those in any [second marriage without benefit of annulment] are living in a state of mortal sin and deprived of sanctifying grace.”
It is important to underscore that the role of the priest is one of accompaniment, meant to inform the conscience of the discerner on principles of Catholic faith. The priest is not to make decisions for the believer, for as Pope Francis emphasizes in “The Joy of Love”, the Church is “called to form consciences, not replace them.”
Catholics participating authentically in this discernment of conscience should keep in mind both the permanence of marriage and the teaching of the Church that “the Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
Many Catholics engaging in this process of discernment will conclude that God is calling them to return to full participation in the life of the Church and the Eucharist. Many others will conclude that they should wait, or that their return would hurt others.
As for the so-called “law of gradualness”— where does that come from, exactly? The Bible? No, of course not! Some weak, liberal, “hippie” of the Death Culture made up that term, because they have NO COMMITMENT to the true Catholic Faith, nor sincere interest to reform their lives, and become an honest, practicing Catholic! Oh, it is so CONVENIENT– all the sins of the hippie Death Culture! So easy, so convenient! Especially, when the Church tells you that there is NO SUCH THING AS SIN, to worry about!
Well said, Linda Maria.
Taken from Fr. Hardon Archives – Catholic Catechism on Homosexuality
69. What is at the heart of the strategy of the promoters of homosexuality among Catholics?
In one word, the heart of this strategy is “GRADUALISM”. It is assumed that homosexuality will not soon be approved by all Catholics, and still less soon by Catholic Church authority. The following quotation is lengthy, but it deserves to be quoted in full. Publicly stated by the chairman of the Department of Moral Theology at the Catholic University of Louvain, it clearly expresses the gradualist strategy for the Church’s acceptance of sodomy.
“Is the teaching going to continue to evolve? With respect to the homosexual relationship, will it evolve toward encompassing it? Yes, it will! We have already taken the first step. Begrudgingly as we might like to admit, even the teaching of the Church has recognized the homosexual person, the homosexual orientation. It may be very uncomfortable with its own statements, but it’s there! The homosexual person is a person and no less of a person than anyone else. This is the first step.”
“The second step is the recognition of the homosexual relationship. I think we are virtually on the edge of accepting the homosexual relationship. The Church will accept the homosexual relationship, like those divorced and remarried: We must live as brother and sister or brother and brother and sister and sister as the case may be… [The audience laughs.] What is important is that the relationship be recognized as a valuable, fruitful, meaningful, affirmative, creative relationship. We are on the verge of accepting this.”
“The third step is: Can we accept the homosexual act? Before we can talk about the morality of the homosexual act, we have to define it, to understand exactly what it is…. Our whole understanding of human sexuality needs to be rewritten, but rewritten not from a “procreative or reproductive” point of view. It needs to be rewritten from a ‘relational’ point of view” (The Meanings of Human Sexuality, New Ways Ministry, Fourth National Symposium).”
Bishop Robert McElroy reveals himself as a dangerous Cultural Marxist promoting cohabitation and sodomy. Defining normalcy down in the name of the Second Vatican Council.
TRUMPING CDF RULES FOR HOMOSEXUAL ADOPTION
“Bishop 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.”
“McElroy has repeatedly emphasized Pope Francis’s call for mercy, saying in February, “To be judgmental is a sin for religion. It is easy for the Church to get lost in the rules, but pastoral theology trumps rules.”
He is also on the record saying he favors relaxing rules that bar divorced and remarried Catholics from receiving the Eucharist, a position that aligns him with other Church moderates, such as Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich, another Francis appointment who was in San Diego for the celebration yesterday.”
Alice Von Hildebrand Sheds New Light on Fatima – OnePeterFive
“Back in 1980 the one surviving visionary, Sister Lucy, wrote an important letter to Monsignor (now Cardinal) Carlo Caffarra. After Pope John Paul asked him to begin a new Pontifical Institute for studies on marriage and the family, Caffarra wrote to Sister Lucy, simply requesting her prayers for this venture. He has recently made known his surprise at receiving “a very long letter with her signature. . . . In it we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. ”
We priests and parish representatives must be clear on church teaching of the truth with compassion. If the intention of the synod is to “implement” Amoris Laetitiae, then it must be done with the clarity of a family beginning when a man and woman unite in marriage (JPII Angelus address 1999) which means sacramental marriage for Catholics. Paying attention to failings, families can be helped with sacraments: the grace of baptism, confirmation, certainly moving toward matrimony, and if married in the church penance and eucharist. They need to be made aware of these, and what is necessary to receive these two: a contrite heart and purpose of ammendment for penance, and a state of grace for Eucharist.
As seen in the synods in Rome, those running it control the input and the report. This exhortation does not require an implementation because it is not all church teaching or law, but the Holy Father’s summary both of church teaching and personal opinion. The distinctions will have to be made in light of Bishop McElroy’s personal comments in his new year’s article in the UT of communion for the remarried outside the church.; also, clarity on how we include persons with homosexual and sexual dysphoria in true ministry for their healing, rather than just inviting everyone to come as they are and to stay that way without conversion to Christ, to His plan for humanity, and for inner peace which can never approve sinful thoughts or actions.
Ah, Father, come on. You know what B. McElroy wants: He is a corporate Bishop and wants to look good to his king. How does he do this? By going further to implement AL. Meaning . . .? Uncensored communication for all Catholic Live-ins, Married/Remarried, homosexuals, blah and blah.
His agenda is almost incomprehensible, cluttered as it is with longing to look good to the Emerald City. The end and concepts are simple, and simply stated. This type of thing will happen all over now, and for no other purpose.
You may be right, St. Christopher. I’m just listing a strategy for doing my part to promote the truth of the faith. Fr. Perozich
Best of luck, Father. Please do not trust the bishop.
I wonder how much practical use this will be. An 800-pound gorilla in the room is the fact that there are Catholics in their thirties who are still single. This is where I believe the Mormon philosophy on families is superior. Just this morning I read an article in a Catholic source about the new demand for “Meternity Leave” (paid time off for single women). The article suggests that loving someone else more than yourself is the solution. See: https://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/you-dont-need-meternity-leave-to-be-happy/18055
“Immense numbers of young Catholic couples who fully intend to marry in the Church live together before their Catholic marriage.” What a mess the Church is in, with ‘immense numbers” of its young couples unconverted to Christ. No wonder the Church is so ineffectual in combating the culture of death, combating large protestant inroads, and Mormon inroads, into her ranks. Good luck, Excellency.
Looks like Church teaching is now open to interpretation. It will cause lots of division. What a mess. Hope the next Pope will clarify.
I am becoming more convinced that the church post Vatican II is not the same Church founded by Our Lord upon St. Peter. This ‘church’ goes with whichever way the wind is blowing. This is a man made church, not a Divinely created one. Domine, miserere nobis. +JMJ+
“Without good moral guardianship there is no check or correction for bad morals.”
We have a Catholic Bishop in the diocese of San Diego who by his office is guardian and Shepard of all people of faith who should be speaking out against the immorality and danger to families because modesty and decency are being flushed away.
Many of us have been thinking about our Bishop McElroy, whether in your opinion he has been a good Shepard to his flock in San Diego. We have only seen our good Bishop at confirmation, we do not know the man and he does not know us. As for evangelizing, what has he done to strengthen the faith? We knew Christ by what he said and did and the same can be done by the successors to the Apostles.
“Various rules about which churches will accept specific couples for marriage can leave Catholic couples feeling shut out…”
I Read this passage several times, and it remains at the least Confusing; and on another level deeply alarming.
If these are indeed “Catholic Couples” – then it seems the process (timeline, formation…) may differ by Parish, but the use of “Specific Couples” sounds a lot like a sanitized euphemism for SSAD (Same Sex Attraction Disorder) folks, trying to twist Catholic Marriage like a pretzel.
Further clarification would be appreciated
Women ordination and priestly celibacy coming up next.
We can only hope and pray!
Cardinal Burke: We must ‘resist’ those in the Church presenting false teaching on marriage, sacraments
ROME, May 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke stated on the weekend that faithful Catholics must “resist” a perspective within the Church that seeks to undermine the truths of the Catholic faith regarding the indissolubility of marriage and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
‘Priest linked to sex-abuse cover-up tapped as chief of California church’s sex-abuse hotline, dismaying victims ‘ = No compassion, or mercy, for victims. It’s business as usual. IOW, corruption trumps the joy of love, wisdom, mercy and pastoral prudence. There is not a scintilla of shame or embarrassment for their cruel deeds.
“Bishop McElroy has no excuse for putting Callahan in charge of the hotline. A simple Google search or a quick chat with Catholics would show what a bad idea Callahan’s new job is,” – Tim Lennon, Snap Member