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(LifeSiteNews) — Heretical Cardinal Robert McElroy lashed out at EWTN and his critics last week, suggesting that he would ban content from the Catholic TV network on his diocesan media and claiming that accusing him of heresy “harms the Church.”

The San Diego cardinal also reiterated his call to open the diaconate to women, which leading prelates have described as impossible, and said that the Synod on Synodality will lead to “fundamental change” in the Church that is “not clear” yet.

READ: Bishop Paprocki accuses Cardinal McElroy of ‘heresy,’ says he may have excommunicated himself

‘I wouldn’t have EWTN on diocesan either’

In an interview with left-wing Spanish magazine Vida Nueva, McElroy said that he agreed with the decision of a newly installed Spanish bishop to ban EWTN content on his diocesan TV channel.

Bishop Fernando Prado Ayuso, a journalist who conducted book-length interviews with Pope Francis and scandal-plagued papal adviser Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga before being appointed to the Diocese of San Sebastián last year, blacklisted EWTN two days after his installation.

McElroy applauded the move. “I wouldn’t have EWTN on diocesan media either,” he told Vida Nueva.

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Liberal bishops around the world continue promoting heterodox views on homosexuality, female priests, divorce, contraception, and more — advancing anti-Catholic positions that jeopardize the salvation of souls.

Such bishops often sideline, ignore and even persecute traditional Catholics who simply ask that the Faith be preserved and passed on to their children.

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The cardinal further criticized EWTN for allegedly having a viewpoint “fundamentally critical of the Pope” and for trying to “steer the world away” from Francis’ “reforms.”

“I am 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,” he said. The network’s main presenters constantly downplay Francis’ theological skills and knowledge, cite Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s slander against the Pope, and try to steer the world away from the reforms the Pope is advocating.”

EWTN, the world’s largest religious media organization, is faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI awarded EWTN foundress Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier, then the chairman of EWTN’s board of governors, with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, the highest award a pope can bestow on laity and religious.
But the network has rankled Pope Francis and his allies in recent years for airing criticism of the pope’s controversial decisions and deviations from Catholic teaching, particularly on Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over. 

READ: Fr. Gerald Murray slams Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality, African bishops

Francis vilified EWTN’s unfavorable coverage of him as the “work of the devil” in a thinly veiled critique in 2021.

McElroy: ‘It hurts me to be labeled a heretic’

Cardinal McElroy also struck out at those who have accused him of promoting heresy, telling Vida Nueva that such criticism “hurts me” and “harms the Church.”
“It hurts me to be labeled a heretic,” he said. “Such language further harms the Church by degrading the dialogue we must have these days on the fundamental issues we face.”

McElroy has faced explosive backlash, including from other U.S. bishops, over an essay he published in America magazine in January disavowing a “theology of eucharistic coherence” and demanding that the Church allow unrepentant homosexuals and adulterers to receive Holy Communion. Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, went so far as to condemn McElroy’s comments as “heresy” and suggest that he automatically excommunicated himself.

Barriers to the Eucharist “are a matter of divine revelation,” Bishop Paprocki, a canon lawyer and chairman-elect of the Church governance committee of the U.S. bishops’ conference, explained in a response to McElroy last month.

The left-wing cardinal nevertheless doubled down on his stance in a follow-up essay, explicitly pushing Communion for “sexually active” homosexuals and divorced and “remarried” couples in blatant contradiction to Catholic teaching.

“Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states. “The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental Communion.”

Synod will lead to ‘fundamental change’ that is ‘not clear’

Asked about Pope Francis’ Synod of Synodality, McElroy, a strong backer of the initiative, said he believes that the synodal process will bring about a “fundamental change” in the Church’s “culture.”

“The seeds will have been sown for a fundamental change in our church culture that will create a Church of remarkably greater discernment, participation, inclusion, and missionary outreach,” he said.

At the same time, McElroy admitted that the “specific contours” of this “fundamental change” are “not clear” and described this “lack of clarity” as a constitutive element of the Synod.

“The specific contours of this transformation are not clear to us. Nor can they be if we want to remain faithful to the deepest challenge of synodality: that we are on a journey in which God knows the way but we do not,” he told Vida Nueva. “It is this lack of clarity that worries many Church leaders.”

McElroy’s latest remarks echo an article that he wrote for America magazine last year in which he said that the “synodal process” aims at “nothing less than a recasting of the culture of the church that will endure for generations.”

Several prelates have spoken out against the Synod on Synodality in recent months, criticizing top Synod officials for contradicting Catholic teaching and warning that synodal documents conflict with the apostolic tradition.

The late Cardinal George Pell accused Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the relator general of the Synod on Synodality, of heresy last year after Hollerich claimed that Catholic teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts is “no longer correct.”

McElroy pushes women’s ordination, echoing German bishops

In his interview with Vida Nueva, McElroy also reiterated his call for women deacons, falsely claiming that opening the diaconate to women “reflects the history of that ministry.”

But Deacon Dominic Cerrato, a member of the international commission created by Pope Francis in 2020 to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons, refuted McElroy’s position on the issue in a recent essay for the National Catholic Register, writing that it “cannot be sustained by the historic and theological evidence.”

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has said that any attempt to admit women to the diaconate would be “invalid.” Cardinal Robert Sarah, the former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament, has made similar comments.

McElroy additionally presented the ordination of women to the priesthood as a prudential issue, recommending against it “at this time.”

“I fear that 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,” he told Vida Nueva.

Pope St. John Paul II declared in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 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.” The Church’s inability to ordain women is an infallible teaching that “requires definitive assent,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith later reaffirmed in a responsum approved by the saintly pope.

McElroy’s position on female ordination reflects that of the German Synodal Way, which has similarly advocated opening the diaconate to women and argued that ordination of women to the priesthood is a possibility, despite infallible Catholic teaching on the subject.


Vatican synod website celebrates homosexuality and child adoption by same-sex couples