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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Mar 03, 2023
Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org
From my personal perspective, the this week’s stunning First Things essay by Bishop Paprocki is easily the most important news story of the young year: a development that I have anxiously awaited for years.
For far too long our bishops have papered over their differences, allowing confusion and consternation to fester among the faithful, in order to preserve a façade of episcopal unity. Now at long last, an American bishop has called another bishop (a cardinal, in fact) to account.
Bishop Paprocki does not actually charge Cardinal Robert McElroy with heresy. But he does quote verbatim from the cardinal’s outrageous article in America, and he does question how those statements can be reconciled with Catholic doctrine. The imputation of heresy is no light matter. This is an unmistakable challenge: not only to Cardinal McElroy, but to all other bishops, particularly in the American hierarchy. Bishop Paprocki has posed the question: Is this sort of episcopal statement acceptable? Can the universal Church tolerate such open calls to dissent? …
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