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San Diego’s Catholic bishop to become cardinal, a first for the diocese

San Diego Catholic Bishop Robert McElroy was named by Pope Francis on Sunday as one of 21 new cardinals, the first time the local diocese has been headed by a cardinal.

McElroy is the only member of the group from North America. Eight are from Europe, six are from Asia, four are from South America and two are from Africa. They will be officially installed by the Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on August 27.

McElroy, 68, said in a statement that he was “surprised and deeply surprised” by the date.

“My prayer in this ministry is to be an additional service to God who has given me so many levels in my life,” McElroy said. “And I also pray that I can help the Holy Father in his pastoral renewal of the Church.”

He thanked his family as well as the priests and “religious people” who guided him as he grew up and followed his chosen inclination.

McElroy was not released to the press on Sunday. Not knowing that the announcement would come, he had planned events with parishioners and chose to stick to his plan.

This decision to serve the community first highlights one reason why many said he was elected cardinal.

“He has the heart of a pastor,” the Most Reverend Efrain Bautista of Corpus Christi Parish told Bonita. “The pope wants the bishops to have the ‘smell of sheep’ and Bishop McElroy is one of those bishops.”

The Most Reverend Efrain Bautista tells the attendees of the Liturgy at 12:30 p.m. in Corpus Christi Parish that Bishop Robert McElroy was elected to become a cardinal.

(Kate Morrissey / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

McElroy is known for taking positions on social justice issues, including encouraging communities to welcome immigrants and refugees and to protect the environment. He has also expressed support for improving the church’s approach to LGBTQ people.

McElroy has criticized a push among some Catholic Church leaders – especially Archbishop Salvatore Cordilleone in San Francisco – who want to deny Society to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.

Cordilleone recently said he would no longer allow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco to receive Communion because of her stance on the issue.

McElroy said that society should not be politicized.

“It will have devastating consequences,” McElroy wrote in May 2021. “Eucharist is armed and used as a tool in political warfare. That should not happen. “

He grew up in the San Francisco area and received history degrees from Harvard and Stanford. He studied at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park and in 1985 received a degree in theology from the Jesuit Theological Seminary in Berkeley. He earned a doctorate in ethical theology at Gregorian University in Rome the following year and a doctorate in political science at Stanford in 1989.

McElroy was ordained a priest in 1980 and served in various pastoral services in Northern California. He became an assistant bishop in San Francisco in 2010. In 2015, at the beginning of the Francisco Mouse, he was named Bishop of San Diego.

“His strong faith and pastoral concern for the faithful he showed in his diocese will serve the world Church well,” said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Francis subverts the centuries-old tradition by selecting cardinals from areas that never had cardinals, such as San Diego. Once upon a time, becoming an archbishop in a big city like Los Angeles, San Francisco or Philadelphia was an almost certain step to becoming a cardinal. At present, none of the archbishops of these cities is a cardinal.

Cardinals under the age of 80 run in papal elections, called conclaves. McElroy will also be in talks with other cardinals and the Vatican about decisions facing the Catholic Church.

“It’s really a blessing and it speaks very well for both Bishop McElroy and the church in San Diego,” Bautista said. “For us, it means that San Diego has a voice.”

Bautista shared the news of McElroy’s appointment at Sunday morning services at his church. When he told those who appeared at the service at 12:30 pm what had happened, they burst into applause and applause.

The Rev. Efrain Bautista addresses attendees before the service

The Most Reverend Efrain Bautista tells the attendees of the Liturgy at 12:30 p.m. in Corpus Christi Parish that Bishop Robert McElroy was elected to become a cardinal.

(Kate Morrissey / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

He joked that when he heard his phone receiving a text message around 3:15 a.m., he initially tried to roll over and go back to sleep. But when he heard more messages coming soon after, he decided that someone in his church must be in crisis. He picked up his phone and saw that his friends in Rome wanted to talk about McElroy.

Priest Adnan Ghani, a priest of the Order of St. Augustine, said he learned of the appointment around 6 a.m. when reading the Vatican news site, as he does most days.

“I was very happy,” said Ghani, who was ordained by McElroy in 2019. “He is very enthusiastic, he has concerns for people. It is available. “He will walk with you and listen to you.”

Peter Brewster, a member of Corpus Christi Parish and the Knights of Columbus, said he learned of it while celebrating the Liturgy at 7:30 p.m. at the church.

“It makes you feel like a Catholic that you have a direct line with Rome now,” he said.

After the Liturgy at 11 a.m., the parishioners buzzed with excitement about the news.

“We are really happy to be in the universal community and to have this privilege for the first time in San Diego,” said Jorge Martinez. “It has focused on the community, especially the Latino community.”

Arcelia Corona had invited her friend Marta Gonzalez Aguirre to the Mass that morning. They left the church together, hand in hand.

“I am very happy,” Gonzalez Aguirre said when asked about the bishop’s appointment.

“I feel very blessed,” Corona added. “What a privilege.”

The Associated Press and the New York Times contributed to this report.

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San Diego’s Catholic bishop to become cardinal, a first for the diocese Source link San Diego’s Catholic bishop to become cardinal, a first for the diocese

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