Tuesday, October 2, 2018



Bishop McElroy Grilled on Gay Clergy, Catholic Sex-Abuse Crisis

San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy spoke at the first of eight listening sessions about clergy abuse.
San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy speaks at the first of eight listening sessions on clergy sex abuse. He’ll attend four more this week alone. Photo by Chris Stone
By Ken Stone and Chris Stone
Bishop Robert McElroy may have thought he was bringing good news Monday to 330 Roman Catholics attending the first of a series of “listening sessions” on the pedophile priest issue.

McElroy outlined the careful way the San Diego diocese responds to sex-abuse reports. He said the “history of abuse is in the past” with no credible accusations against living priests since 2002.
Only one allegation against a San Diego priest has been made since his arrival in spring 2015, McElroy said, and it was “found not to be credible.” (Four “credible allegations” have been made against lay employees, though.)
And no parishioner money went to settle suits against the local diocese.
But in the parish hall of Our Mother of Confidence Catholic Church in University City, dozens demanded McElroy explain what his superiors — even Pope Francis — were doing to address the crisis of confidence in the church and clergy. (One even called for a “new leader” in the Vatican.)
“We’re in a terrible wrenching moment in the life of our church,” McElroy confessed at the outset, citing the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that reignited the worldwide predator priest scandal.
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The 64-year-old bishop also noted an explosive 11-page letter by Italy’s Carlo Maria ViganĂ², a former Vatican envoy to the United States who alleged a cover-up of sex abuse by resigned Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington.
The ViganĂ² letter was “an attack on Pope Francis” and “ideologically charged,” McElroy said.
But the McCarrick scandal even touched McElroy.
ViganĂ² wrote, in that late August letter, that McElroy “was also well aware of McCarrick’s abuses, as can be seen from a letter sent to him by Richard Sipe on July 28, 2016.”
However, McElroy told his audience: “It’s my conviction that nobody was aware of any allegation against Cardinal McCarrick about abuse of a minor until this past summer.”

“No, no,” murmured members of the crowd.

McElroy thus tried to fend off a conservative Catholic faction that brought up the work of Sipe, a La Jollan and ex-priest made famous by the movie “Spotlight.”
Sipe, who died Aug. 8 at 85, was the scholar of clergy sexuality who briefed Boston Globe reporters, leading to revelations of a vast Catholic clergy molestation crisis.

"How we respond to reports of sexual abuse"
“How we respond to reports of sexual abuse” by San Diego Roman Catholic Diocese (PDF)
In a July 2016 letter to McElroy, Sipe said it was “credibly established” that 30 percent of U.S. bishops “have a homosexual orientation” and that former San Diego Bishop Robert Brom was guilty of misconduct that led to a $120,000 settlement.
McElroy told how he tried to engage him but ultimately was put off by Sipe’s lack of investigative rigor. Sipe cited “extremely unreliable” accounts of clergy abuse via “recovered memories” — including sex in a casket, McElroy said.
A handful of audience members grilled McElroy on gay clergy (one of Sipe’s top issues). They asked if the Vatican had a homosexual subculture and whether McElroy would allow gay priests.
The former San Francisco auxiliary bishop said gay men could be ordained if they pledged to be “chaste,” or celibate.
“I want LGBT people to feel welcome in our churches,” McElroy declared, saying any discrimination against that community is unacceptable. But he also said he accepted “everything in the catechism” that opposes homosexuality or sex outside marriage between a man and a woman.
McElroy suggested that altar boys were the most vulnerable population because of “proximity” and not gay priests on the prowl. He said power and domination were bigger factors at work than homosexuality.
Another cause: “psychological underdevelopment.”
McElroy’s liberal views have become a lightning rod for conservative websites such as, which alleged that McElroy “quickly marginalized” the Rev. Richard Perozich, a former Old Town priest who published a bulletin making clear “Catholics could not vote in good conscience in line with the Democratic Party.”
After the two-hour event, Rancho Bernardo’s Steve Frost, a former IRS man, said homosexuality was the “elephant in the room.”
“I don’t think a homosexual should be allowed in the priesthood,” he said. “I differ night and day with this guy [McElroy].”
Frost said allowing gay priests around boys was inviting trouble, like “I wouldn’t take my alcoholic brother to a bar.”
Outside the parish hall, Frost added: “I think where the rubber meets the road is it’s all about politics, it’s all about money and power. And power brings in money. … Allegedly McCarrick brought in millions of dollars to the Catholic Church. And money talks.”
Inside the hall, McElroy was urged to demand that U.S. bishops, at a conference in November, take more aggressive steps to deal with the abuse issue.
“I have no confidence that the bishops will police themselves,” a woman said at one of 40 tables where six to eight people picked a representative to ask a question or two.
McElroy said bishops lack formal accountability. The diocesan system, which involves lay people sitting on allegation review boards, should be adopted at the bishop level, he said.
“Lay eyes and perspectives are incredibly vital,” he repeated, having said “we need to have lay people at the very center of teaching us how to move forward.”
But one bone of contention was whether the laity invited the molestation crisis by putting priests on pedestals.
“Clericalism is such a part of the blindness that let this happen,” McElroy said. “People have too high a view of priests and attribute to them a status that shouldn’t be.”
One woman said she loved her religion but came to demand truth and transparency, and a guarantee that it would not be “business as usual.”
Asked if he were satisfied with McElroy’s responses, a San Diego man who gave only his first name — Tomas — said he felt the bishop was dodging some questions. He wished McElroy had answered them more fully.
Joe Quiroz of San Diego said: “What I wanted was a spiritual father angry for his children, and I didn’t feel that he embodied that role.”
He said he thought McElroy had a “CEO or politician mind-set.”
Jamie, who also declined to give her last name, said the bishop didn’t give “tangible examples” of future actions to solve the problems.
He’ll have four more chances this week, though.
Listening sessions are set Wednesday at St. Joseph Cathedral auditorium downtown, Thursday at Our Lady of Grace parish center in El Cajon, Friday at St. Charles Catholic Church parish hall on Saturn Boulevard and Saturday at St. Mary Church parish center in El Centro. (All times are 7 p.m. except El Centro at 9 a.m.)
The final three stops — with Maria Olivia Galvan (diocese chancellor) and the Rev. John Hurley as facilitators — are 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Church of the Nativity parish hall in Rancho Santa Fe, 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at St. Gabriel Church in Poway and 10 a.m. Nov. 5 at the Joan B. Kroc Institute at the University of San Diego.
On Monday, TV cameras and still photographers were allowed to record McElroy’s opening remarks but were ordered shut when it came to the question-and-answer session.
The fear was cameras would inhibit survivors of clergy abuse from sharing their stories.
But no speaker mentioned having been a victim.
BISHOP MCELROY GRILLED ON GAY CLERGY, CATHOLIC SEX-ABUSE CRISIS was last modified: October 2nd, 2018 by Ken Stone


John Nolan said...

'It's my conviction that nobody was aware of any allegation against Cardinal McCarrick about the abuse of a minor until this past summer.'

Quite so. And this particular allegation might well be unfounded. But his record as a homosexual predator of young men (not minors) is a different matter.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, John, I don't think anyone knew about the abuse of an altar boy and another boy until they came forward only recently, but many knew he was homosexual and using seminarians and priests for his gratification.

Robert Kumpel said...

I have no idea what Bishop McElroy hopes to achieve by this PR stunt, but it appears to be backfiring.

I spent 45 years of my life in the diocese of San Diego and to call the clerical atmosphere "troubling" would be a gross understatement. I moved away in 2004 and it doesn't appear that things have improved at all. After McElroy's appointment, one of San Diego's best priests, Fr. Richard Perozich, elected to retire, even though he is far younger than retirement age. There are good priests in the diocese, but they are a group that has to be VERY careful, if you know what I mean. How sad.

Anonymous said...

A priest who promotes his own, personal political views as if they were the teachings of the Church is blatantly misusing his position. Perozich included the following in his parish bulletins:

"It is a mortal sin to vote Democrat … immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell.”

In his bulletin he, "spoke against the 'importation of immigrants whose religious values are to eradicate every belief except those of their own prophet and god, and to impose this on America' and public assistance for immigrants adding to the public debt 'while paying Americans to sit home and not work.' The article also criticized 'regulating the right to bear arms for free citizens in a nation where criminals and terrorists will always have weapons, and where government is now in opposition to the citizens.'"

He also made stereotypical descriptions of Jewish people.

“Years ago when I was working in physical therapy, I had a patient who was Jewish. And I asked her, ‘Why is it that so many Jewish people are doctors, lawyers and Ph.d.’s?’”

I hope he is content in his retirement in Hawaii.

60's Survivor said...

Can you name any organization outside of Planned Parenthood that is as fanatically devoted to promoting and protecting abortion as the Democratic Party?

Is abortion suddenly NOT a mortal sin? Is aiding and abetting someone in procuring an abortion suddenly NOT a mortal sin? Every vote for a Democrat does exactly that.

Do YOU honestly believe that importing huge numbers of Muslims, many of whom would like to bring Sharia Law into force is a good thing for America?

Do you honestly believe that curtailing 2nd Amendment rights makes us a better country--especially when gun control "paradises" like Chicago are knee deep in the blood of murder and manslaughter victims?

Can you name ANY race of people who have had as much success and been as outstanding in their professional fields as the Jewish race? I admire them and make no bones about it. So if a priest admires them and expresses that admiration he is guilty of "stereotyping"?

Keep reaching.

Anonymous said...

Survivor, it is no reach at all to note that Fr. Perozich has not represented the Church's doctrine, which he is supposed to do, but has, rather, used his position to promote his own political ideas.

The Church doctrine, stated by the Magisterium, does not support his claims about voting for a Democrat, about "importing" Muslims, about the right to keep and bear arms, or about Jews.

A priest who regularly supplants the Church's teaching with his own ideology and his own extreme political vision is not a "great" priest. If he is unwilling or unable to do his job, he should find a spot where he can stop pretending to be a minister of the Gospel and a priest of the Catholic Church and rant about politics all he wants.

Anonymous said...

From the Pew Research Center: "Some of the most financially successful religious groups – Jews, Hindus, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians – also are all among the nation’s most educated as well. These rankings, which come from our 2014 Religious Landscape Study, are based on the percentage of people within each religious group who reside in households with a yearly income of $100,000 or more."

The material success of Jews, Hindus, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians is linked to education, not to the religion to which they belong. (Jews, by the way, are not a "race" anymore than Episcopalians or Presbyterians are a "race.")

Jews have always placed a high value on literacy, especially for young men who, at their Bar Mitzvah, would be expected to read a portion of the Torah. Sometime in the 16th century Jews of Germany and Poland began to call boys of 13 years of age to the bimah to read. This emphasis on literacy, primarily among males, gave the Jews a huge advantage over many other European immigrants to the US who were illiterate upon their arrival in this country. This seems to account for much of their material "success."

The Forward reported in September 2017: 1)that Hindus have replaced Jews as the most highly educated religious group, and 2) that Jews earn slightly more than the average American household. Among the most successful ethnic groups in the world, including in the USA, are the Lebanese.

Stereotypes are over-generalizations. Not all Irish Catholics are drunks, not all Poles are unintelligent, not all Scots are cheap.

Anonymous said...

"A priest who regularly supplants the Church's teaching with his own ideology and his own extreme political vision is not a 'great' priest. If he is unwilling or unable to do his job, he should find a spot where he can stop pretending to be a minister of the Gospel and a priest of the Catholic Church and rant about politics all he wants."

Such concerns only seem valid if that "ideology" offends the dominant ideology of leftism that currently holds sway in the emasculated postconciliar Church. Many of us have sat through homily after homily to listen to priests shove their liberalist philosophy down our throats and the bishops give them a pass. Fr. Perozich gives pushback and stands behind it and the bedwetters go wild! One thing especially to note: Fr. P actually published his positions in a bulletin and had the guts to put it in writing. You won't find many of the effeminate V2 priests of the leftist bent willing to do the same. And for good reason. I believe history will vindicate the Fr. Perozich's of the Church. In fact, current events already are.

Seeing the way some postconciliar Catholics seem to have imbibed the gospel of liberalism, it seems they could have never handled having a pope like, say, Blessed Pius IX.