Bishop McElroy Calls for a Practical ‘Apology’ to L.G.B.T. Catholics

The pope’s call for Christians to offer an apology to gay and lesbian people, issued during his flight back to Rome from Armenia on June 26, was carefully welcomed by Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego. “I think it opens up a very helpful pathway to dialogue and, hopefully, healing,” he told America on June 28. Pope Francis, Bishop McElroy said, brings to this dialogue with L.G.B.T. Catholics who feel marginalized by or alienated from the church a “renewed and deepened focus on the questions of accompaniment and the mercy of God for all of us.”

“We all walk together in a life of virtue and discipleship,” Bishop McElroy said, “and all of us fail at times.”

He added: “We have to begin to incorporate that mercy into the depths of our hearts and souls in ways that are going to be uncomfortable for us…. We all need to be shown mercy; it is something that binds us together, not differentiates us.”

“What we need to project in the life of the church is ‘You are part of us and we are part of you.’ [L.G.B.T. Catholics] are part of our families.”

That is not going to be an easy process, he acknowledged. It is one that will require preparation and “a lot of discussion and accompaniment and reflection in the church.” In the past, he argues, diocesan and parish leaders have struggled with two tendencies regarding L.G.B.T. people: “whether you had to sacrifice fidelity to the teaching of the church or sacrifice effective outreach to the L.G.B.T. community.”

“My own view,” the bishop said, “is that much of the destructive attitude of many Catholics to the gay and lesbian community is motivated by a failure to comprehend the totality of the church’s teaching on homosexuality.”

That teaching includes the conviction that “moral sexual activity only takes place within the context of marriage between a man and a woman.” But “that’s not a teaching which applies just to gay men,” Bishop McElroy said. “It is teaching across the board, and there is massive failure on that.”

Bishop McElroy argues that all Christians are called to a life of virtue, in emulation of Christ. Chastity is among the virtues of that life—others include self-sacrifice, service and piety—and it is an important one, “but it does not have the uniquely pre-eminent role in determining the character of a disciple of Christ, nor one’s relationship with the church” that some may believe, according to Bishop McElroy.

Finally, and most poignantly in light of the recent attack in Orlando on a gay nightclub that claimed 49 lives, the totality of the church’s teaching includes the understanding that all Christians are “called to build a society in which people are not victimized or violence visited upon them or unjustly discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.”

A practical expression of the apology encouraged by the pope, Bishop McElroy thought, might be a re-evaluation of the language the church uses even in talking about L.G.B.T. Catholics. “We are not talking about some group or person who is the ‘other,’” he said. “It has to be language that is inclusive, embracing, it has to be pastoral.”

While the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality and other teaching on pastoral care for L.G.B.T. Catholics deplores violence or unjust discrimination against people who are gay or lesbian, it also describes homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered.” Bishop McElroy thinks that phrasing ought to be reconsidered.

“The word ‘disordered’ to most people is a psychological term,” he explains. “In Catholic moral theology it is a philosophical term that is automatically misunderstood in our society as a psychological judgment.” He thought the term is an example of “very destructive language that I think we should not use pastorally.”

Another relatively easy step for most dioceses to take by way of institutional apology would be “to seek to collaborate with those in society who are working to banish discrimination and violence leveled against people because of their sexual orientation.”

Some church leaders may worry that the pope, in his recent comments on outreach and apology to gay and lesbian Catholics, may be moving too quickly, too far ahead of his flock. Bishop McElroy is not so sure, noting the many Catholic families he has met with have been longing to hear something positive about the church and its pastoral relationship with L.G.B.T. Catholics. “When I go out and meet with laypeople,” he said, “so many of them have family members, brother and sisters and sons and daughters, mothers and fathers who are gay or lesbian…. For them it is a great and painful thing to feel excluded from the life of the church, and for that element…we are not moving fast enough."

Leonard Villa
10 months 3 weeks ago
There are a number of problems with Bishop McElroy's commentary. The first is his uncritical embrace of the political ideology called LGBT aka LGBTQ. It keeps morphing because behind this ideology is a moral/philosophical relativism which no Catholic, let alone a bishop, should accept. It's an ideology that recognizes no proper objective order with respect to creation, human nature, or sexuality. LGBT-people? There are simply people. Human beings did not create themselves nor can an ideology re-create human beings; but that's its claim, hence its need for political power (with totalitarian overtones) to impose the "re-creation as a reiteration of "the modern Prometheus" by the State. If any apologies are warranted they should be based on behavior that violates human dignity and the Gospel/Church teachings. Disorder is not simply a psychological term. It is used in medicine and philosophy, recognizing an objective order exists. The Church teaches that sexuality has a proper order as part of human nature: procreation and the union of man and woman in a life-long union for the purpose of rearing and educating those children and the mutual help and support of the spouses. So how would Bishop McElroy reconsider this? The Bishop rightly notes, that sexuality outside of marriage, according to Church teaching is morally wrong and that this applies across the board, not just to people experiencing same-sex attraction. Violence (as opposed to the just use of force) against people should be rejected whatever the motive because it violates human dignity. Banish discrimination? The term should be unjust discrimination. Discrimination is the ability to make judgments based on truth. The Church justly judges with respect to the nature of marriage, what it can and cannot be. The Church rightly judges in her social teaching that the family, father, mother, and children is the basic building-block of society and the social order. The ideology claims to be able to re-create marriage, family, and the social order based on its subjective vision and State-power. The root intellectual malaise is metaphysical and the will/claim to total power. Terminology, as indicative of that malaise, becomes important because as a wise man once said: "All social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering." This verbal engineering must be constantly challenged especially because of its uncritical acceptance by the media, many politicians, many in the entertainment-industry, and unfortunately many clerics and laity. The Bishop should specify the "exclusion" he references in his conversation with families. Some families indeed have sons/daughters who are experiencing same-sex attraction but that attraction is not a metaphysical category, the defining element of human nature. That this is the defining element of their human nature is the ideology's claim which should not be embraced by a bishop of the Catholic Church.
Gregory Ryan
10 months 3 weeks ago
Mr. Villa writes: "Some families indeed have sons/daughters who are experiencing same-sex attraction..." When church leaders start talking about "sons/daughters who are experiencing opposite-sex attraction" I'll start listening more closely to what they say about my gay daughter. It's not an "attraction." It's who they are, as created by God. Bishop McElroy is off to a good start.
Martin Meehan
10 months 3 weeks ago
Mr. Villa is unsuccessful in using obfuscation as an argument again Bishop McElroy's welcome statement. A parent of a gay child knows very well that their son/daughter was born 'this way'. They have seen their gay child grow up to be a responsible, caring and loving individual. This gay son or daughter has a basic human right to love and be loved. To say that my child is intrinsically disordered or engages in 'behavior that violates human dignity' is false and insulting. Mr. Villa is so right which he points out that 'gays' are simply people. Exactly and with the same rights as all people.
Leonard Villa
10 months 2 weeks ago
Mr. Meehan does not point out the obfuscation and he misses the point. There are simply people means that there is simply human nature. Same-sex attraction is not a metaphysical category although the ideology claims it is. Whether people are born with that attraction is by no means proven. Even if that were the case, there is still a proper order to sexuality which inherent in human nature. People are born with all kinds of things but that ipso facto does not vitiate a particular order, medical, philosophical, or ortherwise. The ideology claims to "create" all kinds of human natures based on various sexual behavior based on relativism. That's why it keeps morphing. Yes all people should be loved and love but love is an equivocal term. What kind of love? The Greeks recognized four kinds of love: emotional/instinctual, friendship, man/woman, divine. The ideology however claims that any sexual expression is love.
Martin Meehan
10 months 2 weeks ago
Obfuscation = metaphysical category + unproven attraction + moral/physical relativism + political ideology + no proper objective order with respect to creation, human nature, or sexuality + political power (with totalitarian overtones) to impose the "re-creation as a reiteration of "the modern Prometheus" by the State + Discrimination is the ability to make judgments based on truth + The root intellectual malaise is metaphysical and the will/claim to total power. What's missing in all of these Philosophy 101 interpretations is understanding and love.
Leonard Villa
10 months 2 weeks ago
Obfuscation means the obscuring of an intended meaning. The terms you listed are clearly stated. It's not about philosophy 101 but the truth. There is no real love without the truth. There is no freedom without the truth. You avoid the issue of truth.
Martin Meehan
10 months 2 weeks ago
Many a Catholic teenager is tortured as they come to realize that they are gay. They agonize how or if to tell their parents. They sometimes consider suicide and may begin to abuse alcohol and drugs. The Church has done little in the past to support them. Such a child does not need a definition of truth or a definition of love or a definition of freedom. They do not need a discussion with tones of superiority and an arrogance that one person knows the real truth. Pope Francis' and Bishop McElroy's comments are much appreciated and are needed to combat the lack of love, understanding and support for gays in the Church. And that's the truth.
Lena Dalvi
9 months 3 weeks ago
Mr. Meehan: I too has a son that is loving, responsible and productive gay man. He goes to church and is a devout, conservative Catholic. I don't know how he reconciles the two challenges that Jesus has given him. This does not mean that I have changed my deep seeded belief in the teaching of the church? No. I often wonder if I am being tested if I will ever waiver in my belief because this has affected me personally. The answer is no. It saddened me at times but my faith is stronger.
Tim O'Leary
10 months 2 weeks ago
It is an incorrect interpretation to say the Pope "called" Christians to offer an apology to gay and lesbian people. First, he never used the word "lesbian," and second, contrary to the rest of this article, he never used the ideological acronyms LGBT (or LGBTQ or LGBTQIA). Surely, it is not medically or biologically or morally accurate to conflate LG with B or T or with QIA. They all have different causes, convictions, consequences and culpabilities and they require different moral interpretations and responses. It was his questioner (Cindy Wooden) who brought up the apology idea from Cardinal Marx (who said "homosexual, not gay or LGBT!) and her question was about an apology to the "gay community." The Holy Father stressed the moral legitimacy of Christian opposition to the homosexual political agenda. He reiterated the teaching in the Catechism and he also emphasized that we must accompany (he never says condone) those who have that “condition” (later edited to “situation”) who want to lead a moral life (“has good will and seeks God”). He then turned Ms. Wooden’s phrasing around and said all who do not accompany those who are exploited (gay person, poor, women, children, war victims) should ask for forgiveness (“Christians must ask for forgiveness for many things, not just these.”). He brings up Mother Teresa as the ideal example of how to accompany the inflicted in a really Christian way. This journal has completely missed this context, accidentally or otherwise. Here is a link to the pope’s comments for those who have good will and seek the fullness of what he said (it is at the end - the ninth & last reporter question):http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/full-text-pope-francis-in-flight-press-conference-from-armenia/ Given such twisting of Pope Francis' words, I wonder if Bishop McElroy is also being misquoted or if something has been lost in translation (normal English to ideological English)? The article quotes the bishop as assuming many Christians (“a massive failure”) think the Church teaching that “moral sexual activity only takes place within the context of marriage between a man and a woman” only applies to “gay men.” Is there anybody out there, Catholic, Protestant, whatever, who thinks the Church’s teaching on chastity is just for “gay men”, and not lesbians, transgenders, asexuals, heterosexuals, etc… What an extraordinary claim. Such careless use of language!
James Addison
10 months 2 weeks ago
Regarding the "massive failure" quote: the bishop may have been suggesting, quite rightly in my opinion, that many Christians do not fully comprehend the extent and rigor of the Church's teachings on sexual morality writ large and may not therefore be aware of the severity of their own actions / dispositions. Two examples from the Cathechism may suffice: Masturbation: "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." When have we last heard a priest in pulpit or bishop in letter address the intrinsic and grave disorder of masturbation? Yes, the Catechism also includes some interesting qualifications on culpability -- but it still stands that the act is disordered. Is it less or more likely that our pews are filled with parishioners committing homosexual acts or heterosexual masturbatory acts? I aplgize for the crudeness of the question, but it's to illustrate what I believe the bishop was trying to communicate. I wonder if it would also help for priests and bishops to explain quite clearly ALL of the things the Church considers to be "intrinsically disordered" -- as I agree, this is an oft-misunderstood term. To know that the Church considers masturbation in all forms to be intrinsically and gravely disordered (and presumably the inclination to masturbation being "objectively disordered" ) may add needed context to the discussion of homosexuality. If nothing else, I assume it considerably broadens the pool of parishioners who are placed in this category. The second example, very briefly, is the Cathechism's teaching on lust: Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes. Again, the characterization of "disorder" may help to provide some context for a similar characterization of homosexual activity. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions that are offered in the spirit of constructive dialogue. Peace.
Tim O'Leary
10 months 2 weeks ago
James - you make some very good points, and your interpretation might have been what Bishop McElroy meant, although he could have been a little more specific in his meaning. The Catechism is pretty harsh on contraception (#2370), fornication and trial marriages (2388-2391) and I expect the numbers flaunting these teachings is legion. The Catechism is also hard on polygamy, which might be especially challenging to pagan/Muslim polygamists who want to convert to the Gospel (see CCCC 2387). Of course, Several sins (rape, child abuse, incest...) are described as "intrinsically evil (#2356). Another place in the Catechism where “intrinsically disordered” can be found is in CCC 1753: “A good intention (for example, that of helping one's neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means.”
Lena Dalvi
9 months 3 weeks ago
Thank you for the clarification.
J Scanlon
10 months 2 weeks ago
To help this Catholic move on the matter of homosexuality, I'd like to hear whether a group like Dignity agrees that homosexual acts are in fact sinful. If they are, what accomodations are asked for? If they are not sinful, how is this rationalized in terms of Scripture and Tradition? Is an analogy to say, slavery made? BTW, on the question of human treatment and employment and similar issues, I believe being gay has been/is difficult in our and in most cultures. They should recieve human respect. Yet, I am unable to see how certain couples (male-male, female-female) are able to procreate and be unitive in this natural (from Nature only?, from the Trinity?) fashion. Where I sit currently is that there is a fairly clear Church teaching inclusive of St. Paul (who did overlook slavey, I agree) on homosexuality in action.
Michael Barberi
10 months 2 weeks ago
A great article that touches on the gay and lesbian situation. In particular it mentions language, virtue, discipleship, moral sexual activity, character. procreation, love, respect and dignity. To tackle these issues and the arguments/questions posed in these blogs would take us far afield from the pastoral direction that Bishop McElroy is trying to address. For those that want to read new scholarship on the general issue of homosexuality et al, I suggest reading the writings of Fr. James Allison and moral theologians such as Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler to name a few. Not all the issues facing families were fully explicated in the recent Synod on the Family or in Amoris Laetititia. Hopefully, how to deal with homosexuality today given recent scholarhip regarding its origin and context in ancient times, as well as newer knowledge and understanding of virtue and the role of procreation will get more attention in the years ahead.
Michael Barberi
10 months 2 weeks ago
Per my last email, below is an excellent article called "Following Faithfully' and covers the topic of "Conscience" (a related topic considering Amoris Laetitia). It was written by Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler for America Magazine. It corrects a lot of misinformation about 'conscience' and its role in moral decision-making. I hope the link works. If not, you can find it on this magazine's search engine. Following Faithfully | America Magazine americamagazine.org/issue/following-faithfully America Feb 2, 2015 - From Aquinas we learn that conscience is related to reason. Reason ..... Todd A. Salzman is a professor of theology at Creighton University.
Tim O'Leary
10 months 2 weeks ago
Michael - I was able to get the Salzman-Lawler article (http://americamagazine.org/issue/following-faithfully). It is well written and well thought out. And it quotes the future Pope Benedict XVI: "Rev. Joseph Ratzinger, who at the time was a theological expert at the Second Vatican Council, commented on this passage: 'Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. Conscience confronts [the individual] with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even of the official church.'" However, there is something deeply problematic with the Salzman/Lawler understanding of conscience and its relationship to Truth, and Cardinal Ratzinger expounds on this problem in his excellent presentation on Conscience and Truth (1991) http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/ratzcons.htm (thanks to John Daly and E.Patrick Mosman for bringing this to my attention). The key problem is this: One's conscience is necessarily subjective and often erroneous (meaning not True). We know this because so many people sincerely disagree on many matters of faith and morals, even within the Christian community. Moreover, Islamic suicide bombers go to their deaths (suggesting complete sincerity in their beliefs) killing innocents, as in Nice and Orlando and too many other places today. Must we expect that we will meet them in heaven as they are saved by their consciences? Ratzinger recounts the same question in his article: "someone countered that if this were so then the Nazi SS would be justified and we should seek them in heaven since they carried out all their atrocities with fanatic conviction and complete certainty of conscience." Yet Christ says "the Truth will set you free," meaning the objective divine truth, not one's subjective concept of it. Ratzinger also brings up the point that a "calm conscience" and absence of guilt does not protect one of doing terrible things - again we have examples daily. Another really important point from Cardinal Ratzinger is that a correct concept of conscience cannot mean "justification by the errant conscience" and quotes Psalm 19:12-13 "But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from my unknown faults." Ratzinger follows: "No longer seeing one's guilt, the falling silent of conscience in so many areas, is an even more dangerous sickness of the soul than the guilt which one still recognizes as such. He who no longer notices that killing is a sin has fallen farther than the one who still recognizes the shamefulness of his actions, because the former is further removed form the truth and conversion." And St. Paul connects this darkening of "senseless minds" even with sexual sins and depravity (Romans 1: 24-32). Ratzinger concludes: "it will not do to identify man's conscience with the self-consciousness of the I, with it's subjective certainty about itself and its moral behavior. One the one hand, this consciousness may be a mere reflection of the social surroundings and the opinions in vogue. On the other hand, it might also derive from a lack of self-criticism, a deficiency in listening to the depth of one's own soul...To put it differently, the identification of conscience with superficial consciousness, the reduction of man to his subjectivity, does not liberate but enslaves." Ratzinger's excellent analysis brings in Newman and Socrates. I have already quoted too much but encourage all to read it whole (http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/ratzcons.htm). Archbishop Chaput's document (http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/AOP_AL-guidelines.pdf) also addresses conscience in depth, emphasizing its correct formation according to the Truth. "Catholic teaching makes clear that the subjective conscience of the individual can never be set against objective moral truth, as if conscience and truth were two competing principles for moral decision-making.” He quotes St. John Paul II, that such a view would “pose a challenge to the very identity of the moral conscience in relation to human freedom and God's law... Conscience is not an independent and exclusive capacity to decide what is good and what is evil” (Veritatis Splendor 56, 60). But, as seems to have been completely missed by the media, he also says: "Church ministers, moved by mercy, should adopt a sensitive pastoral approach in all such situations – an approach both patient but also faithfully confident in the saving truth of the Gospel and the transforming power of God’s grace, trusting in the words of Jesus Christ, who promises that “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (Jn 8:32).” Pastors should strive to avoid both a subjectivism that ignores the truth or a rigorism that lacks mercy."
Michael Barberi
10 months 2 weeks ago
Tim, You cannot equate the examples of ISIS suicide bombers, et al, with the judgment of a properly formed and informed Catholic/Christian conscience per Aquinas, Haring and Salzman. No Christian or Jewish religion believes in the unjust killing of innocent people. One's conscience must be properly informed appropriately by the use of prudence, the Gospel, and human experience (collective), scripture, tradition and reason (science, et al). After a judgment of a properly informed conscience that disagrees with a teaching of the magisterium, one must continue to pray, be guided by a priest, moral theologian, and be open to further scholarship about the Church's teachings, and our own reasoning and further education, et al. There is a significant difference between the theology of conscience per Germain Grisez (and the magisterium) and Aquinas, Haring and Salzman. Grisez, et al, is a theology of conscience which can be characterized as "conforming" with all teachings of the magisterium. If one's conscience is not in conformance with a magisterium teaching Grisez and the magisterium considers it distorted and erroneous. In this case, there is no place for the freedom of an informed conscience; but only the teaching of the magisterium. Aquinas/Haring/Salzman's theology of conscience is one that can be characterized as 'informing'. You need to go back and reread the article I refer to. Tim, I do not want to further debate you on this topic because it will only lead to protracted arguments. We differ on this subject, as well as many others. All the best.
Tim O'Leary
10 months 1 week ago
Michael - I did reread Salzman-Lawler as you requested. However, I think it is an error to think that Aquinas would agree with them and not Ratzinger. Note that the article quotes Cardinal Ratzinger most extensively (3 -4 times) so I suggest you read Ratzinger's longer piece, which differs significantly from Grisez and analyzes the subject much more deeply (note his anamnesis vs. synderesis). Here is Ratzinger on Newman: "Newman embraced an interpretation of the papacy which is only then correctly conceived when it is viewed together with the primacy of conscience, a papacy not put in opposition to the primacy of conscience but based on it and guaranteeing it. Modern man, who presupposes the opposition of authority to subjectivity, has difficulty understanding this. For him, conscience stands on the side of subjectivity and is the expression of the freedom of the subject. Authority, on the other hand, appears to him as the constraint on, threat to and even the negation of, freedom. So then we must go deeper to recover a vision in which this kind of opposition does not obtain. For Newman, the middle term which establishes the connection between authority and subjectivity is truth." Finally, you say "No Christian or Jewish religion believes in the unjust killing of innocent people" but so many believe that abortion-on-demand (of millions of innocent humans) is not only justified but is a great good to be promoted and so good to justify compelling conscientious objectors to pay for it or even to be involved in it. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/07/21/pro-life-medics-face-harassment-and-discrimination-admits-doctors-union/ So, any complete and accurate understanding of conscience has to come to terms with violence like abortion or terrorism or war, including the Islamic-inspired suicide bombers, the killing of heretics or dissidents of the past, and not just the sexual ideologies of the secular world, which seem rather mundane compared to the truly momentous questions of creed, conscience and martyrdom. All the best,
Michael Barberi
10 months 2 weeks ago
Tim, This will be my last comment to you on this blog because I can see that further discussion will lead to a protracted disagreement, endless arguments over side issues and become unproductive. I have studied moral theology for 5 years and I disagree with your analogies in argument. If you really want to know Aquinas, Grisez and Haring on conscience, read "Conscience and Catholicism" by Robert J. Smith. Aquinas is more aligned with the theology of conscience of Bernard Haring, not Germain Grisez. However, you mistaken about Salzman and Lawler. They know Aquinas extremely well as professors of moral theology. Careful distinctions must be made Tim. I said "No Christian or Jewish religion believes in the unjust killing of innocent people". I know no 'religion' that believes in 'abortion-on-demand'. More importantly, abortion is a separate subject and there is a significant theological difference and disagreement within the Catholic Church between 'direct' and 'indirect' abortion. For example, even Germain Grisez thought that the termination of pregnancy in the Phoenix case (St.Joseph's Hospital) was indirect abortion which was not the decision of the Bishop of Phoenix nor was it consistent with the magisterium teaching. The moral analysis of that case requires an understanding of moral theology. In my opinion, allowing the mother and fetus to died with certainty when one life could be saved is immoral. Terminating the pregnancy in this case was indirect abortion and not immoral. Lastly, a properly informed conscience might be erroneous but it must never be violated. Even Ratzinger agrees with that as well as Aquinas. However, as Aquinas taught us, if someone does not inform his/her conscience properly when they could have, they are culpable. If they do all that is reasonably necessary to inform their conscience properly, there is no culpability. The theology of conscience is complex and it is not sufficiently grasped in short blog comments. Let's agree to end our disagreement and discussion on this subject for now Tim. If you want the last word, go ahead. Those who read our blog coimments and study this issue further can make up their own minds.
Tim O'Leary
10 months 1 week ago
Michael - I will agree to end our discussion on conscience as you request. However, I need to correct your erroneous statement claiming there is: "no 'religion' that believes in 'abortion-on-demand'" Here is the dictionary definition of “abortion-on-demand:” noun 1) the right of a woman to have an abortion during the first six months of a pregnancy & 2) an abortion performed on a woman solely at her own request. Most of the mainline Protestant Churches (Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA), Presbyterian (PCUSA), Church of Christ (UCC) & Methodist (UMC), the Unitarians and the Reform and Conservative Jewish denominations are all strong advocates of abortion-on demand as defined by the dictionary (meanings 1 & 2 above). http://www.pewforum.org/2013/01/16/religious-groups-official-positions-on-abortion. Some of them “disapprove” of reasons they think are unworthy, such as birth-control and sex selection, but all oppose any legal protection for the unborn. I note that several Protestant denominations (Baptists, Lutheran-MS, and Presbyterian-PCA) agree with the Catholic Church on abortion being wrong. They are the growing denominations, by-and-large.
Ysais Martinez
10 months 2 weeks ago
What is pastoral accompaniment? Is it bringing people to Church first, lovingly embrace them, then teach doctrine? Or just let them discover the truth by themselves without us sticking out noses in the process? I personally do not understand. In order for sins to be forgiven one has to have a sincerely contrite heart.If I feel I have nothing to repent about, then what good will the church do to me? Obviously, only God, and only HIM knows a person's heart. It would be nice to explain what pastoral accompaniment is so we can do our best to reach out to the marginalized and forgotten. At the same time we can discuss it with friends. After all we are all in some serious need of pastoral guidance.
Tim O'Leary
10 months 1 week ago
Ysais - You ask a very good question about what Pope Francis means by "pastoral accompaniment." I think it means to seek people out, to get to know them and their situation, to know them in depth, and to share the Gospel teaching with them, not necessarily as they would want it, but in its fullness. Here are three encounters Jesus had: 1) with the adulterous woman ("Go, and sin no more" John 8), 2) with the Samaritan women at the well ("Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband." and "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews." John 4) and 3) his encounter with Zacchaeus, who was converted just by the meeting "and said to the Lord, 'I will give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times more.' Jesus said to him, 'Salvation has come to this house today, because this man also belongs to the family of Abraham. The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them.'” Notice that in each occasion, Jesus actively engages them. But he never flinches from teaching them in the full. For He really wants to save them (Pope Francis says "heal their wounds"), not just console them or leave them with their sin. As Pope Francis said, the lax minister is withholding mercy as much as the rigorist. Here is what Pope Francis said in his interview with America back in 2013: "The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds." Archbishop Chaput echoed Pope Francis when he wrote "Pastors should strive to avoid both a subjectivism that ignores the truth or a rigorism that lacks mercy." As was noted in an article on Crux today, "On divorce, Chaput and Francis singing from the same song sheet" https://cruxnow.com/commentary/2016/07/17/divorce-chaput-francis-singing-song-sheet/
Ysais Martinez
10 months 1 week ago
Thank you Tim! I truly enjoyed your thorough response.
Lena Dalvi
9 months 3 weeks ago
I am throughly confused by Pope Francis. What am I supposed to apologize to the LBGT for? Am I not following the teaching of the church? Now I am the supposed to apologized for following my faith?

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