(LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Robert McElroy’s latest article in America magazine purports to respond to his critics concerning his stated position on “sexual sin, the Eucharist, and LGBT and divorced/remarried Catholics.” This most recent article by Cardinal McElroy conspicuously fails to draw any support from the most time-honored authoritative sources on the subject, including Holy Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Cardinal McElroy seems to assume that his critics believe that only sexual sins should preclude Catholics from receiving Holy Communion. On the contrary, any mortal sin should preclude one from receiving the Eucharist, at least until they repent of that sin and seek forgiveness through the sacrament of Reconciliation. For example, all knowing violations of the Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20:2-17, are a good place to start when considering whether one should abstain from receiving the Eucharist.
Moreover, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Saint Paul provided other examples of such serious sins: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers-none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 6:18, Saint Paul stated: “Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” Therefore, sexual sins are indeed unique in their seriousness, given how they tend to harm the person in a unique manner.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Moreover, Jesus always called the sinner to repentance, including the sexual sinner (John 8:11).
Nonetheless, Cardinal McElroy seeks to allow those engaged in sexual sin to remain unrepentant in their sin, while they pretend to still be engaged in the full life of the Church. He specifically includes those who divorce and “remarry” (without first obtaining an annulment), and practicing homosexuals. This presumably includes people who are open and notorious in their sexual sins, as is the case with many who identify as “LGBT.” Indeed the use of the term “gay,” which is an acronym for “good as you,” is a political term which is intended to promote full societal acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.
Such open and notorious sinners have made a conscious choice to reject a core teaching of the Church while still seeking to receive the Holy Eucharist. As for those who embrace the “LGBT” agenda, no other group of unrepentant sinners who seek to present themselves for Holy Communion boldly proclaim that they engage in their sin with “pride.” Nor does any other group of sinners demand that everyone else accept, and even celebrate, their sin or suffer the consequences.
Instead of calling these defiant people to repent and conform their lives to Church teaching, Cardinal McElroy has joined them in calling for a change in the teaching of the Church.
Fortunately, many faithful Catholics have come forward to defend the faith against the heterodox views of Cardinal McElroy. Most notable among these are the following six American bishops: Archbishop Charles Chaput, Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop James Conley, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, and Archbishop Samuel Aquila, along with South African Cardinal Wilfred Napier. Let us hope and pray that the clear light of reason, enlightened by faith, will decisively prevail in this debate.
Finally, let us also continue to pray that by the grace of the Holy Spirit, all of us who are sinners will constantly seek forgiveness, and to fully conform our consciences, and our conduct, to the immutable teachings of our Catholic faith.
Charles S. LiMandri is a Catholic attorney in San Diego who specializes in religious liberty cases.