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Please attribute the following statement to Aida Bustos, spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego:

“Fr. Jacob Bertrand, a priest of the Diocese of San Diego, is facing charges in Minnesota stemming from a sexual encounter with an adult woman there in 2010. The facts behind the encounter are a matter of dispute and will be resolved by the courts and civil authorities.

“Fr. Jacob asked for and received a Leave of Absence when he learned of the possibility of these charges several weeks ago. There have been no allegations lodged against Fr. Jacob here in San Diego, where he remains on a leave of absence and currently has no faculties. The diocese is not involved in his legal defense.

“Out of respect for all parties and for the legal process, the diocese will make no further statement at this time.”





SAN DIEGO, Sept. 28, 2016 – The Most Rev. Robert McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, today issued the following statement concerning the shooting death of a resident by a police officer in El Cajon.

“The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial Counties is saddened by the shooting death of Alfred Olango in El Cajon and mourn with his family. While acknowledging the personal risk the men and women in uniform take daily, we call on the pertinent law enforcement authorities to be as transparent as possible in their investigation. We understand the pain the community feels. We pray for calm during this wrenching time and stand ready to work together to achieve true justice and peace for all.”


SAN DIEGO, Aug. 4, 2016 – The San Diego Catholic Diocese announced today the sudden death from pneumonia of Father Henry Rodriguez Jr., one of the local Church’s most recognizable community leaders.
        “Father Henry,” as he was known, was ordained for the diocese on July 12, 1986. His most recent assignment was to serve as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, where he arrived this summer. Previously, he was the long-time pastor at St. Jude Shrine of the West in San Diego’s Southcrest neighborhood.

     He frequently accompanied Bishop Robert McElroy at special events and celebrations, particularly those serving the Latino community.  

    Father Rodriguez served as the Church liaison to many community groups and organizations, including the San Diego Police Department, where he served as chaplain. He also served as chaplain at Mercy Hospital and hospice care. And he will be remembered for his spiritual outreach to the LGBT members in our community.

On many weekends and evenings he could be seen attending street festivals and speaking at special events, often featuring leaders from other sectors, faiths, races and ethnicities.

       Father Rodriguez’s Vigil will be Aug. 10, at 7 p.m., with Father John Dolan presiding, at St. Jude Shrine of the West Parish, 1129 South 38th St., San Diego.

    The Funeral Mass will also be at St. Jude Shrine of the West Church on Aug. 11, at 10 a.m. The principal celebrant will be Monsignor Edward Brockhaus, a longtime friend.

 Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery immediately following the Funeral Mass. 




SAN DIEGO, July 29, 2016 – The Most Rev. Robert McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, today issued the following statement concerning the shooting of two police officers in San Diego on Thursday night, one fatally.

“The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial Counties weeps with the family of  San Diego Police Officer Jonathan DeGuzman, who was killed last night, and prays for the swift recovery of his partner, Officer Wade Irwin. We recognize the great personal risk the men and women in uniform take as they work tirelessly to enforce our laws. As we await to learn the circumstances of this heart-breaking crime, it’s up to each one of us to work to prevent violence and to promote justice and peace in our communities, our cities and our nation.”



Bishop Robert McElroy is leading a delegation of around 150 young Catholics, priests and chaperones from the San Diego Diocese who are in Krakow, Poland, through July 31 for World Youth Day. An estimated 2 million young pilgrims from 187 countries are attending the triennial conference. The bishop shared the group’s activities on July 26.

Bishop McElroy in Krakow for World Youth Day 2016

Bishop Robert McElroy is leading a delegation that includes Luke Maxwell, of (standing next to him), Father Martin Latiff, MC, and about 150 young faithful from the San Diego Diocese in Krakow for World Youth Day.

KRAKOW, Poland – In the afternoon I celebrated Mass with 150 teenagers and young adults from the Diocese of San Diego. It was a moment of great faith and joy.  The young pilgrims shared their greatest experiences of God' grace on this trip:

  -  A young woman had not been to confession for many years, and with much trepidation she entered the confessional in the Krakow cathedral, presented her sins and received forgiveness with a rush of grace that ran through her soul. Only afterward did she learn that this particular confessional was the one that Saint John Paul Il used regularly to hear confessions when he was a priest and bishop here.

  -  The young woman who encountered the ultimate face of evil in her visit to the death camp at Auschwitz, and ultimately found hope in a Jewish prayer etched on the wall there;

  -  The young man who described the sense of oneness with millions of pilgrims from every land and race and way of life who have journeyed to Poland to encounter God and witness the face of Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit;

  -  The elderly chaperone who wept as she described the depth of faith of the young people in her group and her happiness in finding a home decades ago in the Catholic Church.

After the Mass, a group of pilgrims from San Marcos and Oceanside performed the San Diego World Youth Day dance and anthem that they had created.

In the evening, a dozen teenagers and young adults from San Diego spoke to a gathering of 20,000 American pilgrims, telling how they were caught in the lockdown and trauma of the Munich shooting, and yet continued on their pilgrimage to Krakow in unity, faith and in prayer.  They led all the American pilgrims with hundreds of American flags waving in the auditorium, in prayer for our nation, the victims of the violence around us, and for the renewal of faith and hope in our world.

At tonight's prayer service, the Gospel spoke of the Transfiguration. In today's events the grace of God and the faith, joy and energy of the young have pointed overwhelmingly to the transfiguring power of the Lord in our midst.

SD Bishop Supports Prop. 62 to Eliminate Death Penalty
Also opposes Prop. 66 that would expedite executions

SAN DIEGO, Calif., July 14, 2016 – The Most Rev. Robert McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, today issued the following statement about Props. 62 and 66, which deal with the state’s death penalty: 

“This fall, voters in California will be asked to decide on two propositions regarding the death penalty. Proposition 62, which would eliminate the death penalty in California and Proposition 66, which would expedite the death penalty process and make it easier to carry out executions.
“The Catholic Bishops of California are strongly united in opposing the death penalty and are urging voters to join us in supporting Proposition 62 and opposing Proposition 66.
“I am proud to lend my voice to this effort.
“State sponsored killing perpetuates the very cycle of violence that it professes to end.  It applies the ultimate sanction of death in a manner that is racially and economically biased. Most chillingly of all, in recent years more than 100 individuals on death row in the United States have been released from prison because they were innocent of the crime for which they were convicted; thus even here in America the death penalty inevitably brings with it the reality of killing innocent people.
“It is for is these reasons that Pope Francis has called upon the world to recognize that the death penalty ‘is an offense against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person which contradicts God's plan for man and society....It does not render justice to the victims but rather fosters vengeance.’
“For us as Catholics, there could be few greater contradictions to God's mercy than to have California reaffirm or even increase the use of the death penalty in this Year of Mercy.  It is essential that we, as a society, follow the counsel of Pope Francis to guarantee vigorously the security of our citizens, but to do so in a manner designed to foster respect for human life rather than to undercut it.

“In November, as we come to the end of the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, I urge Californians to embrace both justice and mercy to support Prop. 62 and oppose Prop. 66.”


The Most Rev. Robert McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, tonight delivered the following statement during the San Diego Latino/Latina/Latinx  Memorial at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral for victims of the shooting in Orlando. 

     “Our Lady of Guadalupe occupies a pivotal role in Hispanic spirituality and culture, and as we gather to mourn the Latino men and women whose precious lives were ended by cruelty, hatred and violence in Orlando, it is particularly appropriate that we point to the figure of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the Mother of the Lord, who symbolizes on so many levels the sadness of this night.

     “In the Catholic tradition, Mary, as the Mother of Jesus, experienced seven profound sorrows, beginning with having to flee her homeland with her husband and son as refugees, and culminating in the profound suffering of watching as her son Jesus was tortured, crucified and buried.  Over the past four weeks, I have no doubt that our Lady of Guadalupe has wept for us all as a people, as our nation has experienced seven enormous sorrows that strike at the very heart of  our peacefulness, our security, our identity, our unity.

     “The sorrow of 49 women and men, filled with graces, talents and hope, targeted and killed in Orlando because of a vile prejudice against their sexual orientation.

      “The sorrow of their families and friends, who awoke to a horror of deep and unimaginable loss that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

      “The sorrow of guns and violence continually pointing to our national inability to eradicate the brutal convulsions which tear at our nation’s sense of safety and its social fabric.

     “The sorrow of the Muslim community, once again targeted not because of their religious beliefs, but by the distortion of those beliefs or the political gain which that distortion can bring.

     “The sorrow of young black men and their families and young people of color who must live in a world where racial prejudice ends the lives of even those who follow every rule.

     “The sorrow of police who are murdered because they are white or because they are blue, and the terrible toll that takes upon the families of all who dedicate their lives to enforcing justice in our nation.

     “The sorrow of recognizing that these events are not random in our nation, but constitute a profound crisis of our national soul which calls us to choose between our unity and our prejudices, our hatreds and our peace.

     “This terrible time of sorrow calls us to see one another as God sees us. There are no children of a lesser god and there are no lesser children of the one God who is the father of us all. Our failure to recognize this simple reality is the greatest sorrow of all.

     “Let us pray this night in union with Mary, mother of sorrows and mother of the Lord:

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe,
Ore para que nuestro país
That we might rebuild hope on foundations of rock
That we may come to see every life as precious and equal to our own
That we can eliminate the barriers of hatred and the terrible wounds they produce
That this cycle of violence might yield to a pathway of compassion and mutual accompaniment 
Ayúdenos, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
Ayúdenos a todos. Amen.


Bishop's Statement at Latino Service


SAN DIEGO, July 8, 2016 – The Most Rev. Robert McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, today issued the following statement concerning the attack in Dallas, Texas, that left five police officers dead and two civilians injured:

       “The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial Counties stands in sorrowful solidarity with the people of Dallas, and particularly with the victims of the violent and brutal attack upon the men and women who dedicate their lives to enforcing the law, often at great personal risk.

“We weep with the families of those who were shot and especially those who were killed, and we are renewed in our gratitude to officers of the law who undertake the enormously complex and difficult task of attaining justice in our society. It is a profoundly tragic irony that these officers were killed precisely at a moment when they were safeguarding citizens who were peacefully pointing to shortcomings in our criminal justice system.

“May this irony be a spur to us all to work together to end the scourge of violence which plagues our nation, to deepen the justice and unity which our Founders sought to erect in the United States for our criminal system, and to support the countless men and women who serve our society with fairness and effectiveness as officers of the law.”


Statement on Deadly Attack in Dallas 


SAN DIEGO – The Most Rev. Robert McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, today issued the following statement concerning separate decisions by the US Supreme Court striking down legislation intended to regulate abortion in Texas, Mississippi and Wisconsin.

“A series of decisions by the Supreme Court this week striking down abortion statutes in Texas, Mississippi and Wisconsin is another sign of the failure of our national legal and political system to protect human life at its most vulnerable. It is also an ominous signal that even the most modest legal steps to protect the life of the unborn are likely to be blocked by a judicial philosophy and political culture which effectively annihilate the human identity of the unborn child while pretending to accord presumptive recognition to the stark reality which both morality and science attest – that a preborn child is indeed a human life.

“Let us pray and work together to create a society in which children in the womb might be accorded the most fundamental human right of life which is the heritage of us all.”



Once again our nation has been murderously rent by hatred and violence, rooted in a counterfeit notion of religious faith and magnified by our gun culture.  The shootings in Orlando are a wound to our entire society, and this time the LGBT community has been specifically targeted and victimized.

It is all too easy when faced with such wanton slaughter and human suffering to reach for a solution which is itself founded in hatred, prejudice and recrimination.

But our Catholic faith demands that we reject such a pathway and embrace with ever greater strength the solidarity of all people who stand as the one family of the God who is Father of us all.

We pray for the many victims in Orlando who were targeted for death simply because of their sexual orientation, and we grieve with their loving families and friends.  This tragedy is a call for us as Catholics to combat ever more vigorously the anti-gay prejudice which exists in our Catholic community and in our country. We pray for the Muslim community in our nation, who have acted in unanimity to deplore this act of violence and to reject hatred rooted in a distortion of Muslim faith.  We pray for the first responders whose courage and suffering are a witness to the spirit of sacrifice that ennobles American society.   And we commit ourselves to a pathway which seeks true security for our nation not only in efforts to identify those who would do us harm, but far more importantly in building a culture which truly embodies and fortifies the equal dignity of every woman and man. ​


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