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San Francisco’s new Catholic Archbishop snubs Episcopal bishop

Timothy Kincaid

October 5th, 2012

The installation of Sal Cordilleone, the Catholic Church’s point-man on opposing marriage equality and other civil rights for gay people, as Archbishop of San Francisco did not go without hitch. From AP

Meanwhile, interfaith tensions over the marriage issue threatened to mar the Cordileone’s day. The Rev. Marc Andrus, the Episcopal bishop for Northern California and a strong same-sex marriage supporter, reported that he was snubbed when he showed up for the cathedral service, which came three days after Andrus had written an open letter offering a spiritual home to any Catholics who felt disowned by the archbishop’s views.

Andrus said he was taken to a basement room with other invited guests, then left waiting as ushers showed everyone but him to their seats in the sanctuary, Joseph Mathews, an Episcopal spokesman said. He was still waiting when the mass had started, so he left, Mathews said.

The Catholic Church blamed Bishop Andrus:

San Francisco Archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek chalked it up to a misunderstanding. Andrus had arrived late and missed the procession of interfaith clergy who were to be seated up front. Church staff were looking for an opportunity to bring the bishop in without disrupting the service, according to Wesolek. When they went to retrieve him, he had already left.

“We had no intention of excluding him at all,” Wesolek said. “If he felt like because of the wait that was insulting to him, we certainly will apologize.”

Rather than play along, Bishop Andrus decided to post a dispute to the Church’s accusations:

I was dropped off at the cathedral at 1:30PM by my assistant. After making my way around protestors and showing my invitation to security guards, I was in the lower level area to which I was directed by 1:40.

The instructions the Archdiocese had given my assistant were that I should be at St. Mary’s by 1:45. The service was scheduled to begin at 2.

I identified myself to an assistant to the archbishop, who spoke to someone through a headset, saying, “Bishop Andrus is here.”

I saw the Greek Metropolitan, a good colleague of mine, who was in the same room with me, several Greek Orthodox priests, archdiocesan employees and security guards. I greeted the metropolitan and we spoke briefly.

An archdiocesan employee attempted to escort me upstairs with the Greek Orthodox group, but was stopped from doing so by the employee to whom I had first identified myself. This person, who appeared to be in a superior role, instructed another employee to stand with me.

At this point no other guests remained in the downstairs area. The employee and I chatted while waiting. I began to wonder about the time holdup. I checked my phone; it was 1:50PM. I asked the employee standing with me if the service indeed started at 2, which she affirmed.

At 2PM, when the service was to begin, I said to the employee, “I think I understand, and feel I should leave.” Her response was, “Thank you for being understanding.” I quietly walked out the door. No one attempted to stop me. No attempt was ever made to explain the delay or any process for seating. I arrived early, before the time given my assistant, and waited to leave until after the service had begun.

This all seems rather easily proven and I hope the AP makes this a real story. One could simply interview the Metropolitan (the term for a Greek Orthodox Bishop) and Bishop Andrus’ assistant. Then ask why it is that the Catholic Church decided to snub the Bishop.

Cordileone may feel that the Vatican’s favor guarantees adoration from the public. But this level of arrogance and intentional rudeness will alienate not only Protestants, but some Catholics and many non-religious people who will extend respect for his office only so far as he respects that of others.

Comments

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Manheart
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

Well, since the good Archbishop likely considers the Episcopal Bishop an apostate and provocateur(what with the open letter thing) why are we surprised by any of this?

Hunter
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

Nothing says “heavy handed” like the behavior of a Roman Catholic bishop.

I suspect the only misunderstanding was Cordileone and his staff thinking that Bishop Andrus would just keep quiet about it.

F Young
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

I can sort of understand why the Catholic Archbishop would be upset, and even take retaliatory measures, about the Episcopal Bishop trying to “steal his flock,” as he probably saw it.

On the other hand, I recall that the Catholic Church made special concessions to steal Episcopal priests in the UK.

I’m glad that the Episcopal bishop did not retreat silently, which is unusual.

It looks like there could be a vigorous competition between the two churches for the gay faithful, which is an unusually advantageous position for them.

Catholic laiety and clergy who are gay should seriously consider moving to the Episcopal Church. The two churches are very similar, except the Episcopal Church is way less homophobic and it owes no allegance to the Pope, which are two big plusses if you ask me.

Hyhybt
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

Childish.

Especially when the arrangements appear to mean he was invited. At the very least, they’d deliberately given the impression he was welcome, when they easily could instead have said they’d rather he wasn’t there.

Soren456
October 6th, 2012 | LINK

They did it. And when they were called on it, they lied about it.

Off to a great start, huh?

John Ozed
October 6th, 2012 | LINK

You should have brought him a bottle of booze Bish.

Charles
October 6th, 2012 | LINK

Apparently, Sal’s sense of humility and appreciation of his own humanity after the little DUI incident has at last worn off.

Donny D.
October 6th, 2012 | LINK

This wasn’t a good move on Cordileone’s part. There are a fair number of gay Episcopalians here in town, as well as I’m sure some very wealthy, powerful, mostly straight Episcopalians who I suspect have a lot more to say about what goes on in this town than most residents. The grassroots Episcopalians that I’ve known here were a relatively staid crowd who weren’t apt to jump on a picket line at a moment’s notice. But generally, when you finally get staid people riled at you, it’s worse than pissing off the volatile.

I’m not sure what Cordileone was thinking with this, but I get the impression he doesn’t have a good grasp of local church politics. He may also not yet understand how small a town this really is.

I wonder to what degree, if any, his actions are being encouraged by those above him in the Catholic hierarchy?

Everything I’ve written above presupposes that he or his archdiocese won’t come up with a convincing apology to Rev. Andrus.

Donny D.
October 6th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid wrote,

Cordileone may feel that the Vatican’s favor guarantees adoration from the public.

From the Catholic public, yes, and a buffer against all those awful gay activists. But he’s miscalculated if he thinks all local Catholics will love him no matter what. And his powerful supporters in New York and Rome are very far away, while his harshest critics exist in high concentrations within ten miles of him.

Donny D.
October 6th, 2012 | LINK

F Young wrote,

It looks like there could be a vigorous competition between the two churches for the gay faithful, which is an unusually advantageous position for them.

Catholic laiety and clergy who are gay should seriously consider moving to the Episcopal Church. The two churches are very similar, except the Episcopal Church is way less homophobic and it owes no allegance to the Pope, which are two big plusses if you ask me.

I think you’re three decades late with this. When Karol Wojtyla, aka John Paul II, was Pope, the Catholic church pushed gay Catholic organizations away from it, including by not allowing them to meet on any of its property. I haven’t seen any big thawing of relations toward gay Catholics since then (though I could have missed soemthing), so I don’t think the Catholic church much cares about gaining any gay parishioners.

There has been a steady draining of gay Catholics over to the Episcopal church for some time now. I’m told the “Anglo-Catholic” tendency of Episcopalianism is especially appealing to gay male ex-Catholics due to its “high church” services and places of worship.

TomTallis
October 7th, 2012 | LINK

Don Cordileone has also announced that gay Catholics who are sexually active, even if monogamous, will not be allowed to take communion.

MHR Church in the Castro will quickly empty out, while St John’s and (a little further away) St Gregory Nyssan can expect some new parishioners.

No self-respecting gay Christian should put up with the crap Don Cordileone is dishing out.

Donny D.
October 7th, 2012 | LINK

Here’s a good article about Cordileone’s appointment and the Diocese of San Francisco’s history of reaching out to gay Catholics:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/us/san-francisco-catholics-see-strict-message-on-gays-in-choice-of-new-leader.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Most Holy Redeemer Church in the Castro district is discussed also.

Regan DuCasse
October 7th, 2012 | LINK

The Cozza family are very public gay supportive Catholics in Petaluma and a lot of their political action takes place in SF. I’m thinking they still are Catholics. It wouldn’t surprise me if they changed their affiliation.
F Young, makes a great point. I was raised Episcopalian for all the reasons FY states.
My family wanted us kids raised in as open a church as possible. One that has evolved a great deal to include FEMALES in leadership roles.
We do have a lot of similarity with the CC. The solemnity of ceremony and circumstance, but with a lot less of the exclusion.

I spent nearly as much time in temple with my best friends family as when I went to church.
I remember when the rabbinical college accepted is fist females as well as women cantors. Close to the time the Episcopal church was doing it.

BTW,Bsp. John Shelby Spong is one of my clerical heroes.

Coxhere
October 8th, 2012 | LINK

How will this guy enforce his no-communion-rule on the Gay, unfaithful in the flock? It’s stupid to proclaim something that’s unenforceable. The only consequences of such a proclamation is to further alienate human beings from his church.

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