Friday, October 5, 2012

A tale of two bishops: a snub, and a welcome.

It's inevitable that contrasts will be drawn between Episcopal and Roman Catholic Bishops because of conflicting views. We've done that here at FoJ on several occasions,

For example after the passage of Prop8, we contrasted the crowing triumphant op/eds written by the RC bishops with the op/ed of San Diego's Episcopal Bishop James Mathes, who lamented the pain and unnecessary hurt this wrong caused. (That was before BP had left the RC church for TEC, and well before we met Bishop Mathes).

Then there was the contrasting response of two NY bishops to marriage equality in that state, with (then) Archbishop Dolan (RC) going ballistic that marriage equality was a loss of HIS freedom, while Bishop Provenzano (TEC) called for equality while protecting true religious freedom.

WE didn't highlight the recent example in Newark, where RC Bishop Myers called for gays and supporters of marriage equality to be denied communion, while TEC Bishop Mark Beckwith called for churches to work together to end poverty.

I also did not draw an explicit contrast between incoming San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's remarks in which he excommunicated "active" gays:
in a recent interview at the headquarters of the Oakland diocese, where he has served as bishop for three years, Cordileone was more direct: Gays and lesbians who are in sexual relationships of any kind, he said, should not receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, the central ritual of Catholic life.
and the comments of Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus, in which he identified many points of agreement with the incoming Archbishop on which they could work together, and one disagreement:
In working together with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, however, I will not change my course with regard to the full inclusion of all people in the full life of the church. I hope that public disagreements can be handled respectfully and that criticisms of public statements may be met with mutual respect. Some Catholics may find themselves less at home with Salvatore Cordileone’s installation and they may come to The Episcopal Church. We should welcome them as our sisters and brothers.
Stating the obvious. And not really any different than the Pope's "ordinariate", Anglicanorum Coetibus , which offers the same welcome to disaffected Anglicans, as outlined here by an Episcopal Bishop.

But that sets the stage for the installation of Abp Cordileone yesterday in San Francisco. Bishop Marc reports he arrived earlier than requested, and chatted with the Greek Metropolitan while waiting to be seated.
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.

The Archdiocese tells another story to the AP,
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.
You know what? I believe Bishop Andrus. I think Archbishop Cordileone's people may have been merely stupid, or misguided, to deny seating to Bishop Andrus. But they wanted to snub him in retaliation for daring to disagree with Abp Cordileone, just the way the Pope has snubbed San Francisco Roman Catholics by seating the "father of Prop8" as their Archbishop.

I hope that what this does is identify TEC as a welcoming church to the Roman Catholics whom Abp Cordileone and his Newark colleague have excommunicated, and those dismayed at such heavy handed tactics. I hope that those RC will try out one of their local Episcopal Parishes this weekend.

My wife swam the Thames, and hasn't looked back. It wasn't easy.  It conflicted with her strong identity as a cradle Roman Catholic.  But as she says, she's still Catholic--just with a Celtic style.   She agrees with the late John Cogley, who described moving from Rome to Canterbury thusly: "I do not look upon this move as a 'conversion' since I have not changed any of the beliefs I formerly held," he said. "Rather, it is a matter of finding my proper spiritual home."

Hey, Roman Catholics:  The Episcopal Church welcomes you home.


dr.primrose said...

My take on this -- an intent to be insulting while maintaining plausible deniability.

dr.primrose said...

And while were on the subject of Cordileone - S.F. archbishop pleads guilty to reckless driving in DUI case.

"The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco, arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in San Diego in August, has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless driving, court records indicate.

"An attorney for Salvatore Joseph Cordileone entered the plea Monday in San Diego County Superior Court. Cordileone was sentenced to three years probation, a $1,120 fine, and attendance at a panel discussion sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"The penalty is consistent with the plea bargain given to other drivers arrested under similar circumstances, the city attorney's office said."

David said...

Well said. Amen!

JCF said...

I understand the Archdiocese is no longer claiming Bishop Andrus was "late". Stay tuned for further (non-credible) SPIN.

Erp said...

I would say more Anglo-Saxon than Celtic (the Thames is in England not Wales). :-)

I'm actually a bit surprised the Catholic Church sent an invite in the first place. SF has several prominent Catholic politicians (Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom [former mayor now Lieutenant Governor]) who haven't exactly toed the Catholic line on gays.

Anonymous said...

I too was rather surprised at the invite, but am also surprised the bishop didn't get a note not to come after his public letter a few days earlier. Telling Catholics to forget loyalty or to work it out, but join TEC instead while promising that you're going to continue telling everyone that the Catholic church is a bunch of bigots(although in a polite way) days before the celebration seems a good way to get yourself uninvited. Truth or not, turning a "welcome to the neighborhood" letter into an insult at the end is not a good way to make friends. It may not have even been the new Catholic bishop who made the decision, but someone farther down in the works. Too bad whoever it was didn't realize that Episcopalians love publicizing disagreements, though Bishop Andrus' first letter should have been a clue.

Brian Delaney said...

That isn't home and the Episcopal bishop's letter was a provocation and sheep stealing

Brian Delaney said...

That isn't home and the Episcopal bishop's letter was a provocation and sheep stealing

Anonymous said...

Chris and Brian, I see that you both willfully ignore Coetibus Anglicanorum. That wasn't sheep stealing in your view? Or is it that it only counts if you are Anglican? Double standards -- the downfall of the orthodox.

Jim Pratt said...

When someone has been told they are not welcome in one church, it is not sheep-stealing for another church to invite them in.

I have welcomed a few ex-RCs into my parish recently. They had not been to their RC parish, except for Christmas and Easter, for years, and were barred from receiving communion because of remarriage. They will be received into the Anglican Church of Canada when the bishop visits the parish in January, and like BP, have found their home.

Counterlight said...

How can anyone "steal" what the Roman hierarchy has proclaimed to be disposable trash?

The Episcopal Church has been picking up their wretched refuse for decades. I go to a parish filled with Irish and Italians tossed out of Rome like yesterday's fish.

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Anonymous said...

Actually I thought that the Coetibus was the result of Anglicans asking for help after their church changed it's mind on what is sin. I still think the end of Andrus' letter has an insulting tone and if you're going to insult somebody, don't be surprised if they don't want you at their celebration. A polite paraphrase of "Welcome to the neighborhood, I'm going to tell everyone you're a bigot forever" just doesn't sound like you want to go to their party anyway.

JCF said...

Actually I thought that the Coetibus was the result of Anglicans asking for help after their church changed it's mind on what is sin.


"We have always been at war with Eastasia!"

Counterlight said...

And the irony is that it is those much demonized gays and lesbians who are keeping the churches of all denominations open in San Francisco. But for them, the city would be as secular as Montreal with abandoned churches everywhere.

JCF said...


Twin Cities Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt told a mother with a gay son that her “eternal salvation” may depend on whether or not she embraces the anti-gay teachings of the Catholic Church

IT said...

JCF, I'm glad TWO has finally caught up with us. WE reported that here at FoJ in 2010.