San Francisco’s new Catholic Archbishop snubs Episcopal bishop
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.