CV NEWS FEED // In an extensive interview with a Spanish magazine, an American cardinal endorsed banning EWTN content from his diocese’s media.
San Diego Cardinal Robert McElroy told Vida Nueva that he is “concerned about EWTN because it represents a giant of economic and cultural power linked to a religious point of view that is fundamentally critical of the Pope.”
“I wouldn’t have EWTN in the diocesan media either,” the cardinal said, applauding the recent decision of Bishop Fernando Prado of San Sebastian, Spain to prohibit the media network’s content on diocesan television.
The interviewer specifically asked him: “Should there be limits to the criticism of the ‘Catholic’ media of the Successor of Peter?”
Cardinal McElroy has been an outspoken critic of established Church teaching as articulated by previous popes, including Pope Benedict XVI, Pope St. Paul VI, and Pope St. John Paul II. In 2019, he told the U.S. bishops that to state abortion is a preeminent priority is to be “discordant with the pope’s teaching, if not inconsistent.”
He lamented in the Vida Nueva interview that he fears “the ordination of women to the priesthood at this time would deeply divide the Church, and for this reason it should not be a goal of the synodal process.” In the past, however, he has spoken favorably of women’s ordination, directly contradicting Pope St. John Paul II’s definitive declaration of May 1994, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which states:
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
Cardinal McElroy also told Vida Nueva that “it hurts me to be labeled a heretic,” an apparent response to Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki’s recent article in First Things, “Imagining a Heretical Cardinal.” In it, Paprocki referred to a January 2023 essay by McElroy published in America Magazine arguing that the Church must “embrace a eucharistic theology that effectively invites all of the baptized to the table of the Lord.”
It is contrary to a ‘truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith’ to reject or condemn ‘a theology of eucharistic coherence that multiplies barriers to the grace and gift of the eucharist,’ as if no such barriers existed. They do exist, and they are a matter of divine revelation.”
McElroy also objected in the America essay to the teaching that “all sexual actions outside of marriage are so gravely evil that they constitute objectively an action that can sever a believer’s relationship with God,” and argued:
The distinction between orientation and activity cannot be the principal focus for such a pastoral embrace because it inevitably suggests dividing the L.G.B.T. community into those who refrain from sexual activity and those who do not. Rather, the dignity of every person as a child of God struggling in this world, and the loving outreach of God, must be the heart, soul, face and substance of the church’s stance and pastoral action.
Erasing the distinction between “orientation,” or the particular inclinations or temptations a person has, and “activity,” or actual sins committed, contradicts the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching on temptation:
Temptation is an attraction, either from outside oneself or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God. (CCC 538)
The Church is equally clear that temptation is not in itself sinful. Pope Francis gave a homily in 2014 on this distinction, pointing out that the “Word will save us from falling into sin in the moment of temptation.” He cited Psalm 119: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
McElroy also told Vita Nuova that opposition to Pope Francis centers on a resistance to “his intention to complete the work of the Second Vatican Council instead of going backwards.”
“In the United States,” the cardinal claimed, “these elements are exacerbated by the concern of many Catholics and ecclesial leaders that the Pope is willing to explore paths of pastoral action in the Church that are not circumscribed by existing doctrinal formulations.”
He accused American Catholics who criticize Francis of rejecting “the pastoral method of our Lord himself,” because the pope’s approach “lacks the clarity and certainty that [they] have come to rely on in their understanding of the faith.”
“This language endangers the church even more,” McElroy warned. It breaks down “the dialogue that we should maintain these days about the fundamental questions that we are confronting.”
Bishop Paprocki defended his use of the term “heresy” to The Pillar, stating that “this debate has become so public at this point that it seems to have passed beyond the point of just some private conversations between bishops.”