SAN DIEGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - The bishop of San Diego, California is calling on priests in his diocese to welcome members of the LGBT community and to consider allowing divorced and remarried couples to receive Holy Communion, contrary to longstanding Church practice.
Following a diocesan synod, Bp. Robert McElroy has ordered priests in his diocese to post invitations in parish bulletins welcoming divorced-and-remarried Catholics to "utilize the internal forum of conscience" when it comes to receiving the Eucharist.
Various parish bulletins have issued summaries of the synod, claiming the "Synod pointed to the need to invite young couples lovingly, non-judgmentally and energetically into Catholic marriage and to provide mentors for them."
The delegates spoke movingly to the need for the Church to reach out to divorced men and women at every moment of their journey, to support them spiritually and pastorally, to help them move through the annulment process, and to assist those who are divorced and remarried and cannot receive an annulment to utilize the internal forum of conscience in order to discern if God is calling them to return to the Eucharist.
The summary went on to indicate "a spirituality of family life which is deeply inclusive" and involves embracing "LGBT families," among others.
Bishop McElroy has a long history of supporting the LGBT community in his diocese.
In an interview with the Jesuit publication America, he said, "My own view 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."
He went on to criticize the Catechism of the Catholic Church, saying, "Labeling homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered is very destructive language that I think we should not use pastorally."
In September, Bp. McElroy rejected the notion of allowing intrinsic evils to guide our votes. "[T]he category of intrinsic evil cannot provide a comprehensive moral road map for prioritizing the elements of the common good for voting," he wrote.
This is in contrast to several other bishops who have prioritized the issue of abortion as the most crucial issue for Catholic voters.
McElroy went on to say:
A fatal shortcoming of the category of intrinsic evil as a foundation for prioritizing the major elements of the political common good lies in the fact that while the criterion of intrinsic evil identifies specific human acts that can never be justified, it is not a measure of the relative gravity of evil in human or political acts.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), on the other hand, teaches that divorce, homosexual acts and cohabitation are morally evil acts. Regarding divorce, the CCC states:
Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery.
Regarding homosexual acts, the Church teaches "tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."