Cardinal-designate McElroy: Yes, Pope Francis understands the US church

By Christopher White, 26 August 2022
A March 2022 image of Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego leads the Rite of Election at Good Shepherd Church in San Diego. Image: Catholic Diocese of San Diego/Supplied.


Contrary to recent remarks by some U.S. Catholic leaders, Cardinal-designate Robert McElroy of San Diego believes Pope Francis has a “deep” understanding of the church in the United States.

McElroy, 68, who was first made an auxiliary bishop of San Francisco in 2010 and then named bishop of San Diego by Pope Francis in 2015, has been among the most vocal champions of Pope Francis’ pastoral agenda among the U.S. hierarchy.

In a range of public interventions among his fellow bishops, interviews and speeches over the last decade, he has frequently echoed the pope’s prioritization of environmental concerns, calls for economic justice and the need for the church to offer a greater welcome to LGBTQ persons. He also has warned against the “weaponization” of Communion for political ends.

McElroy said that he sees his new responsibility as a cardinal as two-pronged: to point to the universality of the global Catholic Church and to be in union with Peter — the pope — as the center of the church.

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Christopher White is the Vatican correspondent for NCR. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @CWWhiteNCR.

With thanks to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) and Christopher White, where this article originally appeared.


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