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Pope Francis appoints 13 new cardinals, some of whom are pro-LGBT, back communion for adulterers

A handful of the future cardinal electors are known to hold heterodox positions on Church teaching
Mon Oct 26, 2020 - 9:39 pm EST
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Pope Francis next to a statue of Martin Luther placed in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. October, 2016.

ANALYSIS

October 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has named 13 clergymen to be appointed to the college of cardinals, nine of whom are eligible to vote in upcoming papal conclaves. This brings the number of cardinal electors appointed by Francis to 57 percent of total electors, increasing the likelihood that the next elected pope will share Francis’ vision for the Church.

Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, writing for Religion News Service, noted that when the appointees “officially become cardinals, there will be 128 cardinal electors, eight more than the canonical limit.”

US archbishop who is pro-LGBT

Among the named cardinal electors are archbishops known for heterodox stances: Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, D.C.; the Maltese Mario Grech of the Vatican-based Secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Italian Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints; and Celestino Aós Braco of Santiago, Chile.

The most well-known among them, Archbishop Gregory, has been a source of controversy for his heterodox views, political statements, and involvement in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) handling of the sex abuse crisis.

For a snapshot of his views, consider that in 2017 Gregory delivered the keynote address at the annual meeting of one of the most liberal and heterodox Catholic organizations in America, the dissident Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. The group has published essays calling for priest-less parishes, female deacons, married clergy, and pro-homosexual initiatives.

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In the same year, Archbishop Gregory spoke at an event organized by far-left Cardinal Blase Cupich where he praised Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia as a document that “challenges the church and its pastors to move beyond thinking everything is black and white, so that we sometimes close off the way of grace and growth.”

Gregory also has a history of supporting the LGBT movement within the Catholic Church. He personally invited pro-homosexual priest Fr. James Martin to give a speech at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 2018.

Earlier this year, Bishop Gregory castigated the John Paul II National Shrine for allowing President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to visit, saying he found it “reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated.”

Following his criticism, over 42,500 people signed a petition created by LifeSiteNews asking Bishop Gregory to apologize to President Trump and the Knights of Columbus, who maintain the John Paul II National Shrine. Former U.S. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò in June denounced Bishop Gregory as a “false shepherd.”

“Unfortunately, the Catholic Church is led by many false pastors,” said Viganò. “Do not follow them, as they lead you to perdition.”

It should be noted that Gregory was president of the USCCB during the 2002 sex abuse crisis, and allowed then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to help draft USCCB sexual abuse policy at the time. Along with McCarrick, he also “helped exempt bishops from the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

Malta archbishop who supports Communion for adulterers

Just as strong an advocate of heterodox views as Gregory is Archbishop Mario Grech. He hinted that doctrine evolves when he said to the Synod of Bishops on the Family in October 2014 that “the doctrine of the faith is capable of progressively acquiring a greater depth” in reference to divorce and so-called second unions as well as homosexuality. He lamented in his address that such people “feel wounded” by the language of the Church that currently calls adultery and homosexual acts sinful.

Grech co-authored with Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta the notorious Maltese bishops’ pastoral guidelines on Amoris Laetitia, which gave access to Holy Communion to divorced and civilly “remarried” Catholics, living in sin, who “with an informed and enlightened conscience ... acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God.” These guidelines were republished by the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

In 2017, Grech “attacked a group of Maltese faithful Catholics” after it defended “real marriage against ‘unnatural’ homosexual ‘marriage’” in a full-page ad in a widely read paper. The bishop called the ad “propaganda.” He has also accused opponents of these guidelines of having “attitudes” that “annihilate all hope in people,” calling them “prophets of doom.”

When Catholics begged for the sacraments during the COVID-19 lockdown, Grech said it is “curious that many people have complained about not being able to receive communion and celebrate funerals in church, but not as many have worried about how to reconcile with God and neighbor, how to listen to and celebrate the Word of God and how to live out a life of service.”

Bishop who invites adulterous couples to be godparents

Archbishop Marcello Semeraro, who was selected by Pope Francis in 2013 as part of an eight-member group to “advise him on the government of the universal church” is another appointee who rode the wave of Amoris Laetitia.

Semeraro went out of his way to invite adulterous couples to be godparents and to even teach religion in a document he issued that aimed to implement Amoris Laetitia. According to Italy’s Religious Information Service (SIR), the document, called “Rejoice with me,” states that “after a careful evaluation by the pastor,” those who are divorced and “remarried” may be deemed “ideal for the teaching of the Catholic religion” or “educators of the faith together with other catechists of Christian initiation.”

This allowance stands in marked contrast to the Church’s Code of Canon Law, which states that “teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life.” (can. 804).

Bishop who refused Communion to kneeling Catholic

Bishop Celestino Aós of Chile denied Communion, in defiance of "Redemptionis Sacramentum,” to faithful who knelt to receive the sacrament during a Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in 2019.

Aós has previously investigated accusations of abuse made against five priests in 2012, as “promoter of justice for the ecclesiastical tribunal of Valparaiso.” According to Crux magazine, he dismissed the cases because “there wasn’t enough evidence to merit opening a canonical process.”

Since then, one of the priests has died, and the others have been suspended from the priesthood or are again undergoing investigation.

One of the alleged victims, Mauricio Pulgar, called the appointment of Aós as apostolic administrator of Santiago in 2019 “a really bad signal for victims of clerical abuse, and also for all the lay movements trying to clean up the Church.”

“The pope made a terrible mistake, is mocking Chile, or received terribly bad advice,” Pulgar told Crux at the time.

The following is the full list of cardinals-elect who will be eligible to vote in the next conclave:

  • Archbishop Mario Grech, 63, Maltese, Vatican-based Secretary of the Synod of Bishops
  • Archbishop Marcello Semeraro,73, Italian, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints
  • Antoine Kambanda, Rwandan, 61, Archbishop of Kigali
  • Wilton D. Gregory, American, 72, Archbishop of Washington D.C.
  • Jose F. Advincula, 68, Filipino, Archbishop of Capiz.
  • Celestino Aos Braco, 75, Spanish, archbishop of Santiago, Chile
  • Archbishop Cornelius Sim, 69, Brunei, apostolic vicar of Brunei
  • Augusto Paolo Lojudice, 56, Italian, archbishop of Siena, Italy
  • Father Mauro Gambetti, 54, Italian, custodian of the Franciscan convent of St. Francis in Assisi

Those who will be ineligible to vote in the next conclave are:

  • Raniero Cantalamessa, OFMCap
  • Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi (“was the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva until 13 February 2016”)
  • Rev. Enrico Feroci (former director of the Rome Catholic charity, Caritas)
  • Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel (Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas)

  cardinals, conclave, homosexuality, pope francis

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