Many U.S. Catholics want the church to “banish judgmentalism” of people in its ministries and to focus instead on getting close to them and understanding the struggles they face in their lives, the new bishop of San Diego said. In an almost hourlong interview with NCR, Bishop Robert McElroy said while people want to be challenged by Gospel teachings, they are looking for a church that has “a sense of accepting people where they are and helping them to come farther.” “People want standards; people want the challenge of the Gospel,” said McElroy, who was installed as the new leader of the San Diego church in April. “They don’t want it diluted, but they are so grateful that it is encased with Pope Francis in a very clear message that people aren’t expected to be perfect,” he continued. “They’re called to do the best they can in the circumstances in which they find themselves — which are often very, very challenging in people’s lives.” McElroy, who had served as an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco since 2010, said he has gotten a sense of people’s desires for the church as he is undertaking parish visits in his new diocese to introduce himself to people and learn about their work and needs. The bishop said he has visited about a third of San Diego’s approximately 100 parishes and met with around 1,250 people in the diocese individually or in small groups. “When they speak about the contribution that Francis is making in their view, it draws very much from the type of spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, which is so core to this pontificate,” McElroy said. “A sense of mercy, a sense of joy, a sense of accepting people where they are and helping them to come farther, taking the next step in the light of the Gospel, but really trying to banish judgmentalism,” he said.
Bishop sees a Church “trying to banish judgmentalism”
Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/01/15
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