(RNS) — On Feb. 28, the Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois, Thomas Paprocki, accused the most recent American cardinal, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, of heresy.
Not that Paprocki made so daring as to name out McElroy by title. In a Feb. 28 essay, “Imagining a Heretical Cardinal,” on the web site of the journal First Issues, the bishop started by quoting instantly from an article McElroy had revealed within the Jesuit journal America a month earlier:
Think about if a cardinal of the Catholic Church have been to publish an article through which he condemned “a theology of eucharistic coherence that multiplies obstacles to the grace and reward of the eucharist” and said that “unworthiness can’t be the prism of accompaniment for disciples of the God of grace and mercy.”
Anybody who plugged the quotes right into a search engine didn’t must think about for lengthy.
Paprocki then proceeded to a second imaginary: “Or what if a cardinal of the Catholic Church have been to state publicly that gay acts usually are not sinful and same-sex unions ought to be blessed by the Church?”
Public statements alongside these traces have been made by Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, not McElroy — although a reader may suppose in any other case. In his America article, McElroy involved himself with the query of whether or not entry to the Eucharist ought to be permitted to the divorced and remarried and to sexually lively LGBT folks.
McElroy took the place that members of each teams ought to be so permitted for the explanations of “eucharistic conherence” that Paprocki quoted in his response. The Springfield bishop pronounced the remarks heretical and proceeded to quote canon legislation indicating that these holding heretical views are routinely excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
However, Paprocki continued, since a cardinal can solely be faraway from workplace by the pope, one who’s routinely excommunicated (i.e., McElroy) may get to vote for the following pope. “We should pray,” Paprocki piously concluded, “that the Holy Spirit is not going to let this occur, and can encourage anybody who espouses heretical views to surrender them and search reconciliation with our Lord and his Church.”
I assume Paprocki figured there’s no manner the current pope would himself avert the hazard by eradicating the heretical cardinal in query from workplace. And with good cause.
In spite of everything, in his 2013 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Pleasure of the Gospel), Pope Francis wrote:
The Eucharist, though it’s the fullness of sacramental life, is just not a prize for the right however a robust drugs and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral penalties that we’re referred to as to contemplate with prudence and boldness. Regularly, we act as arbiters of grace quite than its facilitators. However the Church is just not a tollhouse; it’s the home of the Father, the place there’s a place for everybody, with all their issues.
In his 2016 exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (Love’s Happiness), Francis declared that it “can not merely be stated that each one these in any ‘irregular’ scenario live in a state of mortal sin and are disadvantaged of sanctifying grace.” And that “science must be higher integrated into the Church’s praxis in sure conditions which don’t objectively embody our understanding of marriage.”
And: “At instances we discover it onerous to make room for God’s unconditional love in our pastoral exercise. We put so many circumstances on mercy that we empty it of its concrete which means and actual significance.”
Did I point out that, to the consternation of some conservative prelates and laity, the pope in reality did, in Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia,” give bishops the facility to grant divorced and remarried individuals entry to the Eucharist?
Nobody ought to have the slightest doubt that the McElroy remarks condemned as heresy by Paprocki convey exactly Francis’ magisterial instructing — certainly, that the pope’s injunction to “make room for God’s unconditional love in our pastoral exercise” is clearly mirrored in McElroy’s advocacy of a “radical inclusion” of some folks whose sexual exercise outdoors of church-sanctioned marriage violates church doctrine.
If McElroy pushed the envelope, it was by extending the pope’s rules to sexually lively LGBTQ individuals. However that’s not the place Paprocki introduced his hammer down. He introduced it down on the rules themselves — successfully making use of the identical automated excommunication he assigned to McElroy to Francis himself.
It’s onerous to think about a bishop affronting another pope on this manner with impunity.