San Francisco Catholics call for Cordileone’s ouster

Timothy Kincaid

April 16th, 2015

ArchbishopCordileoneSalvatore Cordileone is a bit of a superstar in the anti-gay community. He is considered to be the father of California’s Proposition 8, the man who shepherded its drafting, organized the funding for signature gathering, and championed it within the Catholic Church. He is also a on the board of the ex-gay Catholic group, Courage, and chairman of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference’s Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage.

Cordileone’s anti-gay activism served him well under former Pope Benedict the Malevolent. He quickly rose from auxiliary bishop of San Diego (2002) to Bishop of Oakland (2009) and then, in a deliberate slap to gay Catholics, to Archbishop of San Francisco (2012).

In his new exalted position, Cordileone has been quick to display his contempt to those who are more welcoming in their theological approach. Among his first acts was to snub the gay-friendly Episcopal bishop of Northern California at his installation. He quickly followed by demanding that teachers at the area’s Catholic schools be held to the strictest “morality” clauses, recruited a priest who then banned girls from serving at the altar, and spent more than a little time advocating for his anti-equality obsession.

But this has not sat well with some San Francisco’s Catholic community. They don’t like the Archbishop’s heavy-handed ideology and don’t find it to be an approach that appeals to local Catholics or which promises appeal among the younger faithful. The students and parents of some Catholic schools have held protests against the Archbishop and his policies were mocked at a local Irish Catholic event where he gave benediction.

And the Church’s image has suffered. Under Cordileone’s guidance, they have consistently taken steps that put the diocese in unfavorable light. The archdiocese was embarrassed when Cordileone was arrested for drunk driving and the constant friction between the leadership and the lay people tarnished the institution’s image. The latest shame was the media disclosure of the Church’s installation of pipes that would spray water on any homeless people who sought shelter from the night in the cathedral’s doorways.

Now some prominent observant Catholics in the City by the Bay have had enough. They are asking Pope Francis to replace Cordileone with someone more suited to San Francisco’s culture and values.

They first sought to appeal to the structure of the church. But the internal workings of the Church can be excruciatingly slow and the Church’s structure tends to always protect its own. So when that went nowhere, these Catholics chose to appeal to the Pope in a very public fashion. (

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members signed a full-page ad running Thursday in The Chronicle that calls on Pope Francis to replace San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for fostering “an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”

Cordileone is choosing arrogance as his response. Rather than hear the concern that these Catholic worshipers have for the Church, he is denouncing their voice as a misrepresentation.

A statement by the archdiocese provided to us Wednesday called the ad “a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, a misrepresentation of the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the archbishop. The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for ‘the Catholic Community of San Francisco.’

“They do not.”

I suspect that they speak for more of the city’s Catholics than Cordileone would like to admit.

It will be interesting to see if Pope Francis responds to the concerns. While Cordileone is consistent with the style of former Pope Benedict the Malevolent, the new Holy Father tends towards a more compassionate message, designed for inclusion and humility. This may be the decision which defines his image as truly reformative, or illustrates the Church to be irreparably hidebound and corrupt.

[NOTE: revised to correct who did the banning of girls from a parish’s altar]


April 16th, 2015

As I see the image above of the Archbishop “enthroned” I can only ask myself how Jesus’ simple message of loving God and loving one another got turned into…well…THAT.

Ben in oakland

April 16th, 2015

My first thing in the morning is to read the Chronicle. I saw that letter, and just started to laugh. I think there is going to be a world a-flutter over this one, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

but that’s because the archbishop isn’t so, ummmmm, nice.

His statement about it? “and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the archbishop.” Naaahhhhh. It’s fairly accurate.

when he was going to attend NOM’s pathetic Msarch for marriage last year, here’s what I sent to the chronicle. apparently, it wasn’t delicate enough, and they didn’t publish it. But for the price of a full page ad, they’ll be happy to publish a call for his removal.


I’m writing this just short of the one year anniversary of the Windsor decision, which invalidated a major portion of the legal mockery known as the Defense of Marriage Act. The irony is not lost on me.

Archbishop Cordileone claims that his attendance at the so-called March for Marriage, sponsored by the virulently and publicly anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council, should not be seen as “anti-gay or anti-anything”. The Archbishop’s claims are either considerably less than ingenuous, or stunningly clueless.

NOM doesn’t do one single thing to protect or promote heterosexual marriage; they exist solely to oppose gay marriage. Like the Prop. 8 campaign, which Cordileone was so intimately involved with, it routinely calls my rather commonplace marriage a threat to heterosexuality, heterosexual marriage, family, children, faith, education, religious freedom, and Western civilization. THE FRC characteristically does the same, adding the slanders of conflating innocent gay people with child molesters, and comparing our marriages to those of incestuous heterosexuals and people who have sex with animals. Most recently, FRC blamed gay marriage for the murderous violence of the Isla Vista shooter. All of this contumely, detached completely from facts, logic, and experience, is their stock in trade. This is incontestable.

These are the people the Archbishop wishes to associate with.

The archbishop, in his loving condemnation of gay people, says that we should “Avoid the behaviors and lifestyles that so often end in self-destruction.” I would agree, but that statement neither describes homosexuality, my life, or the lives of most of the gay people I have known for the last 40 years. It does describe, however, the mindset and beliefs of people who are anti-gay, as demonstrated repeatedly by statements from NOM, FRC, and the rest of the anti-gay industry. It also describes people who drink too much and get behind the wheel of a car.

And it’s not a lifestyle. It’s a LIFE.

In an article on from 7/27/12, Cordileone said, “The ultimate attack of the evil One is the attack on marriage.” So my marriage not only attacks heterosexual marriage, but is evil? Now I’m a minion of Satan? Does my marriage cause heterosexuals to divorce? Or does my marriage merely prevent heterosexuals from getting married, having children, raising them, and staying married? State governments, defending their gay marriage bans in court, have repeatedly claimed this. Is it worth noting that the courts have repeatedly rejected these claims as bigoted nonsense in the year since Windsor?

Archbishop Cordileone may wish to claim that he is merely supporting heterosexual marriage, and is not “anti-gay or anti-anything”. The public record of his own statements and actions, as well as those of the organizations sponsoring the March for Marriage, would argue otherwise.


April 16th, 2015

In regard to “banned girls from serving at the altar”, girls are not banned from serving at the vast majority of the 93 parishes in Archbishop Cordileone’s archdiocese, but it was the decision of pastor Fr. Illo at Fr. Illo’s parish to return to the “19th century tradition of only male altar servers” at Fr. Illo’s parish. “Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone supports Father Illo’s decision but he also supports those pastors who choose to have both girls and boys as altar servers, said Karen McLaughlin, executive assistant to the archbishop. Under canon law, a bishop can decide whether or not girls can serve as altar servers and most U.S. dioceses allow girls as altar servers.”

In Archbishop Cordileone’s own words, “I had a long talk with Fr. Illo… Can I say something off the record? [He was told no.] Well, let me say this. It could have been handled better. It could have been handled better. The Church does allow a pastor to use his discretion… He was exercising a pastoral discretion that the Church allows a pastor to have.”

Another of the archbishop’s assistants added that “in an archdiocese with 93 parishes, having a few that do something different is a healthy thing.” The archbishop echoed this, saying “There are some people in the archdiocese that like worshiping in this way, they like seeing only altar boys on the altar, and I wonder why we can’t have one or two parishes … with this practice, so the lay faithful with this preference have a space to go.”


April 16th, 2015

In Fr. illo’s words on his same-sex policy, “Nothing awakens a desire for the priesthood like service at the altar among the brotherhood of young men.”


April 16th, 2015

The worst part of Sam’s hypocrisy is his insistence that all LGBT San Franciscans treat him as a decent human being.

Timothy Kincaid

April 16th, 2015

Cordileone recruited and appointed Illo and approved of his decision. I’ve reworded the post.

Paul Douglas

April 17th, 2015

I expect nothing significant will happen from this “rebellion”of the faithful. Until romanist christians decide to leave the church with their hard, cold cash, nothing will ever change. That’s pretty much the only reason churches ever change…. to keep people from leaving or to attract new members.


April 17th, 2015

ET: “In Fr. illo’s words on his same-sex policy, “Nothing awakens a desire for the priesthood like service at the altar among the brotherhood of young men.”

What a delicious quote! And this was in an official news release:

In context, he meant that altar service should serve as a feeder program for the priesthood, but this sentence in isolation actually says that boys become priests mainly so that they can be surrounded by young men, that is, boys, which sounds more plausible.

Mark F.

April 17th, 2015

Do Catholics want the Bishop to be “nice,” or do they want him to actually admit that the church has been wrong? I’m just not seeing them coming out saying that gay relationships are okay.


April 17th, 2015

The “recruited” priest Fr. Illo’s “troubled history of questionable judgment as a pastor” includes his November 2008 public stance that “Many Catholics voted for candidates on November 4 who stated clearly that they would promote abortion. President-elect Obama, for example… But one thing is clear and certain: we can never vote for a candidate who promises to promote abortion … If you are one of the 54% of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position, and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving communion.”

His bishop at the time, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, responded by saying that “determining the moral culpability of an individual Catholic who votes for a candidate with a pro-abortion record is a very complicated matter” and “requiring all Catholics who voted for a candidate with a pro-abortion record to go to confession is not in accord with the moral guidelines set out in ‘Faithful Citizenship'”, and although committed to Church teaching that abortion is “an intrinsic evil” (forbidden regardless of circumstances), he “will not tell the Catholic people of this diocese for whom to vote”.

When asked for his response, Fr. Illo replied, “I never condemned Barack Obama. But WE MUST CONDEMN A POLICY THAT ELIMINATES THE RIGHTS OF A WHOLE CLASS OF PEOPLE.”


April 17th, 2015

Americans are stupid and out of control whiners. He is only
reiterating the teachings of the Catholic Church. There always seems to be some liberal ninnies who whine about everything and anything they disagree with. I can’t comprehend how liberals want their rights respected, but they won’t respect anyone else’s rights or beliefs. Idiots!

Mark F.

April 17th, 2015

@Connie You have a right to your beliefs, but you don’t have a right to have your beliefs respected. Do you “respect” someone who thinks AIDS is caused by green men from Mars?


April 17th, 2015

Mark F. I am a gay woman who lost my cousin and a very good friend to aids. They have both been dead over 15 years now. They contracted aids in the earlier years of the epidemic. I am a practicing Catholic and most priests I know don’t have a problem with me being gay. But the Church does teach against it. That doesn’t mean I agree. I feel very strongly that there are too many whiners in America who jump on every band wagon that comes along. I’m sure there ate many priests in liberal S.F. that don’t have a problem with people who are gay. But the Bishop is stating Church teaching. I live in the Albany NY diocese and we’d love to have Bishop Cordileone as out Bishop. We just got rid of our liberal but job Bishop through retirement. He ruined our diocese. Our new Bishop is from NYC. He’s not as liberal as our other Bishop, but not as conservative as we would like. I’ll be glad to trade if the Pope agrees.

Ben in oakland

April 17th, 2015

So you don’t whine, but agree with it, when they call ou intrinsically, morally evil.

Right, Connie?


April 17th, 2015

How many here are offended by the SF Cathedral (the home church of Abp. Cordileone) hosing down homeless people who have the effrontery to sleep on the grounds?

It strikes me that SF Catholics may have several reasons for disenchantment.


April 17th, 2015

Connie, you say “the Bishop is stating Church teaching”, but it is not Church teaching that the archbishop must do the things that have been alleged, e.g. “foster an atmosphere of division and intolerance”, “coerce educators and staff”, “violate individual consciences as well as California labor laws”, engage in “mean-spiritedness”, “require [particular] language” in school handbooks, “refuse to withdraw his demands”, “repeatedly label behaviors” as “gravely evil” (even if they are gravely evil behaviors), “select and install” a particular pastor “in spite of a troubled history of questionable judgment”, “disregard advice”, “brush aside deep reservations”, “rely on a tiny group of advisers”, have a “single issue agenda”, etc.

You talk about “being gay” as if that’s a “problem”, saying “the Church does teach against it”. Do you mean engaging in homosexual acts?

You say you “just got rid of our liberal bishop” as if “liberal” is bad, but do you know that the Church teaches that Jesus is the “liberal” giver of salvation?


April 17th, 2015

NancyP, in regard to spraying water, the rector of the cathedral said, “We are sorry that our intentions have been misunderstood and recognize that the method used was ill-conceived. It actually has had the opposite effect from what it was intended to do, and for this we are very sorry.” No homeless people were using the cathedral’s alcoves until recently, said another spokesman for the archdiocese. The sprinkler system was installed two years ago, after the archdiocese learned that kind of system was being commonly used in the Financial District as a safety and cleanliness measure. Feces, needles and other dangerous items were regularly found in the doorways, Justice said. “The problem was particularly dangerous because students and elderly people regularly pass these locations on their way to school and Mass every day,” Justice said. According to the archdiocese, the homeless people who slept in the doorways were informed in advance about the sprinklers being installed. “The idea was not to remove those persons, but to encourage them to relocate to other areas of the Cathedral, which are protected and safer,” according to the archdiocese statement. Justice pointed out that the archdiocese of San Francisco is one of the largest supporters of services for the homeless in San Francisco. “Every year, it helps many thousands of people through food, housing, shelter programs for people at risk including homeless mothers and families, and in countless other ways,” he said.

Richard Rush

April 17th, 2015

Connie, you said, “I feel very strongly that there are too many whiners in America who jump on every band wagon that comes along.” Right. Those whiners should just remember their place, accept church-screeching, and keep their mouths shut.

You also said, “I am a practicing Catholic . . .” I disagree. I think you are a practicing quisling.

Mark F.

April 20th, 2015

As soon as Pope Francis himself comes out and says the church has been wrong about gays, I’ll be impressed. Otherwise, not so much. So what if the Archbishop develops a nicer tone but still teaches the same basic nonsense?

Paul Douglas

April 20th, 2015

Connie quit whining about your allegedly “liberal”catholic priests in Albany and just buck up. If there is one thing that is remarkably unattractive it is whining whiners such as yourself.
And please have your beloved church stop funding secular, anti-gay legislation please. Although you seem to believe it, romanist catholics are not the only people who are citizens of this country and your particular cult of rome doesn’t have the right to impose its irrational “faith-based” beliefs on other religious or no-religious people.
You can start your corrective action with the “Knights of Columbus”. (Wasn’t Columbus the author of genocide?….. guess he was just being a faithful churchman. But I forgot, catholic teaching never changes…. or does it?).

Timothy Kincaid

April 20th, 2015

Mark, I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Catholic Church still hasn’t (to my knowledge) admitted it was wrong about Lutherans.

But, as with Lutherans, they’ll eventually admit that they don’t have a lot of room to tell non-Catholic gays how to marry, behave, or be a good citizen based solely on their own doctrine.


April 22nd, 2015

The idea that a group would send a petition to the pope to remove a member of the inner circle is laughable.
The hierarchy is a self perpetuating body with no outside influence and being composed of human beings it is corrupt to it’s core. I seriously doubt that there is any crime known to humanity that this group has not been guilty of in the past and while I would be shocked to learn are still being committed on a regular basis, I wouldn’t be surprised.

If you want to change it you do the only thing possible. Starve it. Really. Don’t put a penny in any collection plate.

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