|When there are guitars there are Neo Cats. Archbishop Sal drew a lot of Neo Cats to his installation, but not many from Oakland.|
Archbishop Sal Cordileone's installation ceremony has generated some very interesting stories, most of which do not demonstrate the attitude one would expect from a fully committed Christian leader in Jesus's Church. They do however, demonstrate a fully committed leader to Rome's version of Catholicism. The following is from an article by NCR's Dennis Coday. It describes the fate of Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California in his attempt to attend Bishop Sal's coronation as king of San Francisco Catholics. It wasn't very nice treatment for one of Bishop Sal's ecumenical peers.
Episcopal bishop not seated for Cordileone's installationBy Dennis Coday - National Catholic Reporter - 10/5/2012
Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal diocese of California, an invited guest for the installation of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, was not allowed to be seated for the service, according to a report by Pacific Church News, the news service of the Episcopal diocese of California.
Andrus, who three days earlier had written a letter pledging to work with Cordileone but remaining firm in supporting gay rights and marriage equality, which Cordileone opposes, was escorted to a basement room at St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral and “detained by an usher until the time the service began, whereupon Bishop Andrus left the cathedral,” according to the report.
The spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese told the Associated Press that Andrus’ exclusion was due to a misunderstanding. Spokesman George Wesolek said that Andrus had arrived late and missed the procession of interfaith clergy. (I guess Bishop Andrus misunderstood the nature of his invite. He was supposed to politely decline, not actually attend.)
Church staff, said Wesolek, were looking for an opportunity to bring the bishop in without disrupting the service. "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."
Andrus, however, said that he was not late. In a statement released on his blog this morning, the Episcopal bishop said he waited in the basement with other invited interfaith dignities. When Andrus attempted to enter the church with the other dignities, the bishop claims, he was stopped.
“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,” Andrus’ statement reads.
“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 1:50 PM. 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.” ("Thank you for being understanding." These are some of the saddest words I have read in very long time.)
I do not for one second believe the spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I think the treatment Bishop Andrus received was intentional and designed to humiliate him. If Cordileone or the Archdiocese was that offended by Andrus's letter to his own flock they should have called his office and requested he not attend. Instead these Catholic folks chose to publicly marginalize him in the presence of his peers. This kind of thing is nothing more than vicious politics. Or given Cordileone's penchant for keeping the spotlight on himself, narcissistic pique.
One segment of his sermon illustrates his narcissism: "I know in my own life, God has always had a way of putting me in my place in little and sometimes big ways to remind myself of my need to depend on him and to attend to the work of my own rebuilding from within," Cordileone said. "I would say, though, that with the latest episode in my life, God has outdone himself." Apparently we are to believe that Sal's arrest for drunken driving was not his fault. It was God thrusting His hand into Sal's life to teach him a personal lesson about public humiliation. This speaks to a great deal of self importance, and is seemingly a twist on the 'devil made me do it' blame game. For Sal's ego only God could set him up like that. The truth is Sal did it all on his own, and it was Sal who made a freaking fool of himself trying to pass a field sobriety test---in front of his mother no less. Anyway, it might have been the devil who answered Sal's urgent prayers for personal intervention because Sal snuck in a guilty plea this past Monday to reckless driving, not drunken driving, and avoided a bigger public embarrassment and lesson in humility from God.
I can see where Sal might have decided a certain Episcopalian political foe needed a lesson in humility not from God, but from Sal. After all Sal is quite apparently a much better political operative than he is a bishop. It wasn't lay members from Oakland who demonstrated in his behalf. It was Neo Cat followers who have no allegiances to any diocesan bishop. I'm sure Sal will richly reward the Neo Cats for their public support.
But the one thing I don't really understand is how traditional Catholics can truthfully be upset with the pastoral letter Bishop Andrus wrote his own Episcopal flock. It's common knowledge there are millions of disaffected Catholics in the US Church, and there will be even more in San Francisco. Andrus was stating the obvious that many of those Catholics might start to pop up in Episcopal churches and should be given a warm welcome. Unlike Pope Benedict, he didn't start some Episcopalian Ordinariate for disenfranchised Catholics where they could bring in their own priests and keep their own rites. Andrus's blog post was an observation and request for hospitality. It was not a pointed attack on Catholicism the way the Anglican Ordinariate was a stab in Archbishop Rowan Williams back and a betrayal of years of ecumenical discussion.
Many many people have written that the problem with Catholicisms' clergy is the prevalence of narcissism and competitive ladder climbing where there are no rules about the people you destroy on the way up the clerical colors. Sal is one of the more colorful poster children for this truth. Maybe San Francisco is the step that will prove to be Sal's one too many.