Featured Image
San Diego bishop Robert McElroy.

SAN DIEGO, California, January 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – San Diego’s Catholic bishop says no clerical “gay subculture” exists in his diocese. Bishop Robert McElroy said this despite the fact that the bishop himself is pro-homosexual, having defended a diocesan employee in a same-sex “marriage,” told priests to embrace “LGBT families,” and has been implicated in knowing about ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s serial abuse of seminarians and ignoring the matter.

A “gay subculture” within the priests or seminarians of the diocese “would be a threat to a healthy Catholic community,” Bishop McElroy said, “both because it undermines Catholic teaching on sexual morality and represents an obstacle to priests in achieving authentic celibacy in their lives.” 

“But I have not witnessed the presence of such a subculture in my three years as bishop of San Diego,” he added.

McElroy, a 2015 Pope Francis-appointee to San Diego, was “well aware of McCarrick’s abuses,” according to bombshell testimony last August from former Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, which also says the particularly liberal San Diego bishop’s appointment came from a power network that goes all the way to top Vatican officials. 

McElroy’s insistence that his diocese was free of a gay subculture came in a statement titled, “Pastoral Reflections on the Listening Sessions,” that was published in the January issue of his diocesan newspaper The Southern Cross.

It concerned eight listening sessions on the Church’s abuse crisis convened in October and November in the Diocese of San Diego. 

Theodore McCarrick 

The specifics of McElroy’s diocese notwithstanding, the revelations beginning last June that disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick preyed sexually for decades on minors, seminarians and young priests – even as McCarrick rose to power in the Church – has shown renewed light on the long-suspected homosexual network in the Church; a power system of prelates who are either themselves homosexual, accepting of the homosexual lifestyle or both. 

Reports have persisted for years of homosexual networks at varying levels within the Church up to and including the Roman Curia, whether termed a “homosexual underground,” the “lavender” or “gay mafia.” The networks are said to protect and promote homosexual clergy and those who are sympathetic to them, and punish those priests or seminarians who are not.

Journalists who attempted to report on the abuse and related subculture in the past but were continually thwarted, the kibosh presumably generating from the power networks, have affirmed since the McCarrick story’s breaking that “everybody knew” about the prominent cardinal’s abuse.

The pool of Church power with prior knowledge of McCarrick’s predation extends to the Vatican and Pope Francis, according to Viganò’s testimony – which some have criticized, but none have authentically refuted.

In his statement on the listening sessions, McElroy discussed actions taken or planned in his diocese to address abuse. For the bishop, what Pope Francis has called “clericalism” is to blame for the sex abuse crisis.

“The participants in the listening sessions pointed to a moral blindness born of a clerical culture which led pastors and bishops to ignore the reality of sexual abuse and reassign abusers, he said. “The combination of a misplaced desire to forgive, ties of friendship and a common vocation, and a desire to avoid scandal for the Church are at the core of the sinfulness that has brought us to this moment.”

Faithful Catholics shutdown 

Notable in regard to the McElroy listening sessions is that two men were ejected from the second listening session in October, the diocese giving the reason the men “had attended the last one as well and they were mildly disruptive. So that we could actually have a quality discussion, they were asked to leave.” 

The men were told to leave despite the diocese conceding it was not prohibiting people from attending more than one listening session. One of the men told a local Fox affiliate he’d been forcibly removed from the first session. The diocese denied forcibly removing anyone, but the men’s’ removal from the second event was captured on video. (CM) reported receiving tips from San Diego Catholics claiming that the people removed from the event were young, devout Catholics who’d been asking challenging questions at the first session about the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood.

Further at the second session, CM reported, a woman in attendance said, “When a gentleman stood up in the hall … to quote the Catholic Catechism and Scripture, he was quickly shut down by security.”

The report said as well McElroy expressed a willingness to ordain same-sex attracted men to the priesthood.

At the third session, a parishioner rose and gave a testimony about his time at a Catholic youth camp in another state where he claimed he was a victim of sexual grooming. As he spoke, security guards attempted to silence him, though McElroy allowed him to continue. He said his 15-year-old daughter was physically removed by security for filming her father’s testimony.

“How are we supposed to trust the bishops?” the man asked at the listening session. “The same bishops that were supposed to fix this before – we're supposed to trust them again to fix it now?”

Sipe’s letter

Archbishop Viganò, nuncio from 2011 to 2016, explained that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin directed him as nuncio to “Reserve the See of San Diego for McElroy.” 

Regarding McElroy’s knowledge of McCarrick’s abuse, Viganò stated, “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.”

Dr. A.W. Richard Sipe, a foremost expert on clerical sex abuse who passed away last August, had written a 16-page letter to McElroy, his ordinary at the time, that detailed sexual misconduct with adults and abuse of children on the part of McCarrick and others based upon Church or civil records, and in the case of McCarrick, interviews with 12 priests and seminarians. 

The two had apparently met to discuss Sipe’s findings, but communication broke down and Sipe took the information to the current Nuncio. McElroy said he was concerned about the accuracy of Sipe’s information in two cases. The letter was published via Sipe’s website after his death.

The male parishioner who spoke at the third of McElroy’s listening sessions, narrowly missing being silenced by security, had also challenged McElroy on the Sipe letter.

“I'm talking about you, Bishop,” the man said. “I can’t believe a reasonable man would ignore Dr. Sipe's letter.” 

“If someone sent me that letter, I'd make it my life's work to…disprove a crazy man's theories or to rid this evil from the root of my church. It's worldwide!” he said, garnering fervent applause.

“I have no faith in your will or your character,” the parishioner told McElroy. “Until everything is exposed into the light of God, we cannot heal.”

McElroy has been among those critical of Viganò’s testimony.

LGBT affirmation 

Since being named bishop of San Diego, McElroy has called upon his priests to embrace “LGBT families,” and to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in some cases. 

He has criticized the Catechism’s used of the term “intrinsically disordered,” as “very destructive,” and vigorously defended LGBT-affirming Father James Martin, calling voices who oppose Martin’s agenda a “cancer of vilification.” 

McElroy has defended his diocese’s employment as a pastoral associate of a homosexual activist openly living in a same-sex “marriage,” praising the activist’s parish as a model of welcome of LGBT worshippers. 

The San Diego diocese failed to tell parishioners their associate pastor was under police investigation for sexual battery when it removed him in February for abusing a seminarian.

And last September, according to a San Diego NBC affiliate, the diocese had continued writing recommendations for a Father J. Patrick Foley after he’d been accused of sexually abusing two minors.

In September of last year, local lay leaders have launched Concerned Catholics of San Diego (CCSD). The group sent McElroy a letter the following month asking him to provide his plan of action “to meaningfully include the laity in the process of purification and reform of the Church hierarchy that will include accountability, transparency and an emphasis on maintaining clerical celibacy.” 

They are petitioning him to answer the specific questions contained in the letter regarding his handling of abuse.