LOS ANGELES (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego says Church Militant tells lies.
Allyson Smith, an attendee at the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference (LA REC), approached Bp. McElroy during the LA REC and spoke to him about a pro-gay Mass in the diocese, his denial of a "homosexual subculture" in the diocese, his opposition to the Catechism's description of homosexual activity as "intrinsically disordered" and his use of the term "LGBT."
Bishop McElroy briefly defended his positions on these issues related to homosexuality, telling the woman that he disagrees with her assessment.
Smith later brought up Aaron Bianco, a former openly gay diocesan employee that Bp. McElroy has defended. According to Smith, Bp. McElroy called Church Militant "liars," but she was unable to get more details from him.
She told Church Militant in an email Tuesday, "I also mentioned McElroy's defense of Aaron Bianco, the openly homosexual former pastoral associate at St. John's, and the bishop responded that Church Militant are liars. At that point, others began coming up to greet him, so he walked away, and I did not pursue the conversation further."
Smith also said she was the one who originally questioned McElroy about Bianco's employment back in October at a "listening session" — one in a series of town-hall-style events organized by the diocese in response to the summer's sex abuse scandals.
At the event in October, Bp. McElroy told her, "Alright, you've gone far enough now. You're not going to stand here and disparage an employee of the diocese. You can leave if you're going to do that. The other things you can say — you cannot attack an employee of the diocese."
Church Militant reached out to the diocese of San Diego to see if Bp. McElroy stands by his recent remark that Church Militant tells lies. No reply was received by press time.
Some faithful Catholics were critical of the listening sessions hosted in October and November.
At an Oct. 17 listening session, security guards forcibly removed two men from the premises just moments after they walked in. The only explanation provided was that the men had been "loud" at a previous listening session.
Apparently, a similar thing unfolded at a listening session on Oct. 3. Several faithful Catholics were removed by security, and the diocese claimed it was because they had been disruptive at a listening session earlier that week.
At one listening session, a man who claims he was groomed for abuse at a Catholic summer camp slammed the San Diego bishop, saying, "Bishop McElroy, I have no faith in your will or character. I've emailed you — twice. And I believe the thought of losing more money from lawsuits is more than enough temptation for you to keep everything hidden."
The LA REC, where Smith encountered McElroy, is an annual event notorious for theological dissent and liturgical abuse.
Pro-gay Jesuit celebrity priest Fr. James Martin has spoken at the LA REC on several occasions in recent years.
Smith told Church Militant that she saw Fr. Martin speaking with Bp. McElroy and a few other clerics prior to Martin's speech at this year's REC.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, a retired archbishop with a history of allegedly covering up sex abuse, was a speaker at the REC this year. Two different petitions were launched calling on the Los Angeles archdiocese to revoke Cdl. Mahony's speaking gig. The petitions garnished a combined total of more than 10,000 signatures. LifeSite and the Ruth Institute delivered the two petitions to the Los Angeles archdiocese on March 22.
Faithful in the archdiocese of Los Angeles have called for Cdl. Mahony to be totally barred from active ministry and investigated by law enforcement for allegedly covering up clerical sex abuse.
A petition with this message was launched last year. An organizer tried delivering the petition to Los Angeles Abp. Jose Gomez in February, but got booted from the cathedral grounds. He was able to hand the text of the petition to Abp. Gomez, but security officers intervened before he could hand over the list of signatures.