Cardinal advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion – others disagree

Cardinal Robert McElroy

A US cardinal has said opposition to Fiducia Supplicans, the Vatican declaration allowing blessings for couples in “irregular” situations, is due to an enduring hostility among far too many toward LGBT persons.

Cardinal Robert McElroy (pictured) of San Diego is championing LGBTQ+ rights within the Catholic Church amidst a growing divide over same-sex blessings.

McElroy’s remarks at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress underscored the importance of supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and those in complex marital situations.

However McIlroy noted the conflicting responses from bishops in other parts of the world.

“We have witnessed the reality that bishops of various parts of the world have made rapidly divergent decisions about the acceptability of such blessings in their countries, based substantially on cultural and pastoral factors as well as neocolonialism” McElroy claimed.

Church unity could be fractured

McElroy’s stance stands in contrast to the Nigerian Catholic Bishops’ rejection of Pope Francis’s position on same-sex blessings.

The bishops argue that such blessings could be interpreted as endorsing same-sex marriage, leading to splits within the Church.

Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, speaking at the formal opening of the 2024 First Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), expressed concern that the Pope’s stance could fracture the unity of the Church.

Ugorji highlighted the ambiguity of Fiducia Supplicans.

He noted its prohibition of liturgical blessings for same-sex couples while simultaneously recommending spontaneous pastoral blessings for couples in irregular situations – which might include same-sex couples.

Ugorji referred to the document’s mixed reception worldwide, especially in Africa. Many African bishops and devout Catholics have rejected the idea of blessing same-sex unions, considering them contrary to natural law and traditional Church doctrine.

In his remarks at the LA Congress, McIlroy acknowledged that “it is wholly legitimate for a priest to personally decline to perform the blessings outlined in ‘Fiducia’ because he believes that to do so will undermine the strength of that union”.

It is “distressing” the prelate said, that opposition to ‘Fiducia’ has focused “overwhelmingly on blessing those in same-sex relationships” compared to people in heterosexual relationships that also might be considered sinful.


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