(LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Robert McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego recently joined dissident Jesuit publication America to defend his latest essay that pushed for the Catholic Church to be more accepting of individuals openly living disordered lifestyles, such as homosexuals and gender-confused individuals who pretend to be the other sex.
This included giving the Holy Eucharist to homosexuals in mortal sin. He said that it is not a “good part of the Catholic moral tradition” to say that all sexual sins are automatically mortal.
But in his comments to America, McElroy made additional questionable claims about mortal sins that deserve further scrutiny.
One of the questioners from the magazine asked McElroy if he wanted to see the Catechism and Catholic Church teaching changed from saying that individuals in a state of grave sin must not receive the Holy Eucharist until they have been to Confession.
Cdl. McElroy had said of the Eucharist: “It’s not a reward. It doesn’t go only to the best-behavers. And so our role in the church should be to expand the openness of the Eucharist for all those Catholics who are striving to live by the Gospel and teachings of the church. I believe they should all be welcomed into the Eucharist.”
Asked to explain if he wanted to change the Catechism, McElroy claimed that St. Paul did not clearly describe any particular sins when he said that “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:27)
“It’s interesting: St. Paul never speaks about the subject matter. There’s no substance of what he’s saying—’If you do this…’ My problem is, we have cast violations for which you need to not go to the Eucharist, or need to go to confession first, largely in terms of sexual things.”
That is not true though – the passage is prefaced by St. Paul condemning women who dress immodestly as well as the idea of women being ordained, a tough loss for Cdl. McElroy. It also, in another loss for McElroy’s vision of the Catholic Church, discusses the “the relation between the sexes” and the “natural order,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ own commentary.
He then claimed that the Catholic Church does not automatically say that abusing workers is a mortal sin, apparently trying to use a classic leftist argument to distract from sexual sins like adultery and sodomy by pointing out other sins that are apparently not so widely condemned.
“We don’t say it’s automatically a mortal sin to discriminate against somebody,” he said. “We don’t say it’s automatically a mortal sin to rip off your employees or exploit them.”
“Those are very serious elements of the moral life,” he said, after giving other examples. “But we don’t automatically say those are mortal sins. It springs from this notion that comes to us from the 16th century that all sexual sins are mortal.”
“That’s what I’m challenging in the essay. I don’t think that’s a good part of the Catholic moral tradition,” he said.
But it actually is “automatically a mortal sin to rip off your employees,” assuming that someone knows it is a grave sin. In all cases when someone knowingly rips off employees and knows it’s a serious sin, they have committed a mortal sin.
The Catholic Church teaches that defrauding laborer of their wages is one of the four sins that cries out to heaven for vengeance, alongside murder, oppressing the poor, and sodomy.
Contra McElroy’s claims, the condemnation of sodomy goes back to Genesis, not to the 16th century.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1867) states: “The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: the blood of Abel, the sin of the Sodomites, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner.”
Jesus reiterated that the Ten Commandments still held when it came to grave matter, as noted in the Catechism. “Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.’” (CCC 1858)
The cardinal’s comments on LGBT “inclusion” deserve a deeper dive as well.
“By not addressing some of these issues of inclusion, we’re losing the younger generation,” the cardinal told America. “In my own view, it’s clear that a big part of the drift of young people away from the Catholic Church is [from having] very uncomfortable feelings about issues on women and L.G.B.T. [issues] in terms of the life of the church.”
Let’s break down what this means in actual terms, not vague, fluffy ideas of “inclusion” of LGBT people.
We can presume that the cardinal is not referring to someone who struggles with same-sex desires or gender dysphoria but is prayerfully trying to live a chaste and ordered life while seeking aid in dealing with those disorders.
Rather, he is referring to someone who is an open homosexual or pretends to be the other sex. Even the “B” in LGBT, which means bisexual, implies someone who is open to adultery – a bisexual man who is married to a woman means a man who is interested in sexual or at least romantic, adulterous relationships with men, for example.
This is clearly adultery, and there’s no gray area when it comes to it being a mortal sin.
What the cardinal is saying is that open homosexuals who take no efforts to amend their lives should be fully embraced, receive Holy Eucharist, and if the Church does that, then young people will come flocking back, because then the Church will have embraced liberal, secular agenda. That is what I surmise. It is not true, but it is a favored argument of liberal Catholics – “If the Church simply adopted my political agenda, then it would be bursting at the seams,” they seem to argue.
There is another issue here, and that is that the Catholic Church cannot change and suddenly say that homosexual sexual activity or cross-dressing or mutilation of one’s own body is just a venial sin or not a sin at all.
Someone who is LGBT, by definition, has decided to embrace the disordered inclinations as part of their lifestyle. That means they have made a firm commitment not to avoid sin, but to embrace it. It is hard to see a situation where a 22-year-old homosexual male decides to move in with his boyfriend and live as a couple and that would only be a venial sin.
The end result of this sort of confusion and an attempt to create a grey area is ultimately Hell. When a cross-dressing man or a lesbian woman lives an entire life of sin, perhaps encouraged by heterodox bishops or clergy who publicly toy with the idea that it is not sinful, and then these people die, Hell is the most likely place they end up, given what happens when someone dies in a state of mortal sin without repentance.
Intentional or not, Cdl. McElroy’s confusion is not helpful and it does not help people. A true commitment to helping individuals who struggle with same-sex or gender-dysphoric feelings would include prayer, counseling, and encouragement to bear their cross with love with eyes on heaven.
It is not to encourage them to try to change the Catholic Church to be “inclusive” of those who refuse to try to control their base and disordered desires.