SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Archdiocese says Episcopal bishop is spoiling for a fight
Bishop Marc Andrus claims he was snubbed at San Francisco Archbishop's installation
By David W. Virtue & Mary Ann Mueller
October 8, 2012
Episcopal California Bishop Marc Andrus is livid. A few days ago, he gave the new San Francisco Roman Catholic archbishop a backhanded welcome to the neighborhood stressing the wonders of The Episcopal Church's Millennium Development Goals. Then he turned on the high level cleric for not showing appropriate pain for gays and his church's alleged "oppression" of gays.
At the installation of the new Archbishop, Andrus showed up late and missed the procession of interfaith clergy who were to be seated up front.
The enthronement was held at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, a sweeping paraboloid geometric type structure with a saddle roof. It seats more than two thousand. Representatives from the Jewish community, the Buddhists, and the Mormons in addition to Orthodox and Protestant Christians were seated.
Church staff said they were looking for an opportunity to bring the bishop in without disrupting the service, according to diocesan spokesperson George Wesolek. When they went to retrieve him, he had already left.
Andrus got into a snit and plastered the Internet with his own interpretation of events.
He issued multiple press releases about his poor treatment. The Episcopal press took to fainting in their couches. The archdiocesan communications director said, "He wants a fight."
Headlines screamed: "Episcopal bishop gives Cordileone frosty welcome" ... "California Episcopal Bishop 'Welcomes' Catholic Bishop" ... "A Qualified Welcome" ... "Bishop Andrus has a few thoughts on his new Catholic counterpart" ... "Interfaith tensions strained over gay marriage" ... "In 'welcome' to new Catholic archbishop, Episcopal leader calls Catholic teaching on marriage 'oppression'" ...
Bishop Andrus had earlier released a "Letter to the Diocese of California concerning the installation of Salvatore Cordileone as Archbishop of San Francisco." In the first paragraph of his epistle he chastised, the Archbishop-designate for being an "active supporter of Proposition 8."
Proposition 8 is California's ballot proposition for a state constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008 state elections allowing for traditional marriage between a man and a woman to be the only type of marriage recognized under Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights in the California Constitution.
Bishop Andrus boldly proclaimed, "...I and the other Episcopal bishops throughout California oppose [Proposition 8]."
Other Episcopal bishops in California who support Bishop Andrus include Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno, San Diego Bishop Don Mathes, Northern California Bishop Barry Beisner, El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, and Provisional Bishop Jerry Lamb of San Joaquin.
San Francisco is notorious for embracing and promoting the gay culture. Archbishop Cordileone's processor, Archbishop George Niederauer, was noted for championing Proposition 8, but in 2007 he was in hot water for being filmed inadvertently giving Holy Communion to two Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence - drag queens - posing as Catholic nuns in outlandish habits.
"The recognition of the dignity and rights, within civil society and the Church of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people, and of women are as core to our proclamation of the Gospel as our solidarity with the poor, with victims of violence and political oppression, and with the Earth," the Episcopal bishop continued in his missive greeting his new religious counterpart highlighting the third Millennium Development Goals which calls for "promoting gender equality and empowering women."
This flies in the face of everything the new archbishop holds dear to his understanding of the Catholic faith. San Francisco's newest Catholic leader clings fast to the teachings of his Church that describe homosexual activity as "intrinsically disordered" and "acts of grave depravity" and as being "contrary to the natural law" while "closing the sexual act to the gift of life."
The Church of Rome is careful, however, to teach that the LGBTQ crowd must be "accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" while "unjust discrimination should be avoided." The Catholic Church also insists that all unmarried persons - gay or straight - must remain celibate. The church teaches that proper sexual expression is reserved for marriage alone because sexuality is "the means by which one man and one woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to the spouses." Anything and everything else is verboten as in keeping with traditional Biblical understanding of Christian marriage and sexual morality.
When the catholic prelate arrived on the scene this week, Bishop Andrus offered the glad hand of welcome, not to Archbishop Cordileone, but to those Roman Catholics who feel ostracized by their new spiritual leader's strict adherence to Catholic doctrine.
Archbishop Cordileone is the chairman of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. The USCCB is roughly equivalent to the Episcopal House of Bishops.
"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," Andrus wrote. "Even as we welcome those who may join us and look for ways to work with our Roman Catholic siblings in the faith, we will not be silenced in our proclamation of God's inclusion."
The enthronement of a Catholic archbishop in his cathedral is an impressive, but tightly choreographed event, replete with the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of Peter Clavier all in their multihued regalia - pinned back satin-lined capes and curled ostrich plumed chapeaux; the Knights and Ladies of Malta in their sweeping black capes with a large Maltese cross on the left shoulder; the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher in their flowing mantles bearing a bright red Jerusalem cross on their left shoulders; as well as a host of representatives from other Archdiocesan fraternal and service organizations each identifiable by their unique and colorful ceremonial dress.
The entrance procession is long - sometimes several hundred people long - with lay participants and the Religious - monks and nuns - as well as the vested clergy - the deacons, priests, bishops, archbishops and even a cardinal or two in their brilliant scarlet vestments. Thursday's Solemn High Pontifical Mass was no different. The procession included at least 60 Catholic deacons, 250 Catholic priests, 40 Catholic bishops and archbishops, two cardinals and even the papal nuncio to the United States.
What really irritated Andrus was that the new archbishop had already put one parish, The Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, on notice. That San Francisco Catholic congregation is noted for being very embracive to the gay community and for allowing gays to participate in their drag costuming. Archbishop Cordileone put a screeching halt to that practice. the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are up in arms over the decision and protested at the new archbishop's installation, apparently causing Bishop Andrus to lose valuable time in getting into the Catholic cathedral's staging area.
"The procession was long, that's the key here," Wesolek told VOL. "Marc Andrus got here about 1:45 which is when they started the interfaith procession because they had to because there were so many people and they sat way up front."
Apparently, when Bishop Andrus got to his lower floor staging area, the other members of his ecumenical delegation were ready to proceed. It appears that the Episcopal bishop was not there quite early enough to find his proper place in line so it went without him, leaving him - what was to be temporarily - behind thus causing the cathedral staff to scramble to find a delicate way to bring the bishop to his place after the entire procession had been completed.
"That was the problem. He [Bishop Andrus] had to wait down stairs because they are trying to figure out a way to get him in there without causing a huge amount of disruption," Wesolek explained. "After a while they came down to get him to seat him and he had left. He was gone."
Bishop Andres felt he was being dissed because of the strong pro-gay stance he took earlier in the week in his "Welcoming Statement" to Archbishop Cordileone and his offer to give a spiritual home to Roman Catholics who disagree with their new archbishop's by-the-book position on the gay agenda and upholding traditional marriage values.
The Episcopal News Service reported: "Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, an invited guest for the installation of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco Archbishop-designate Salvatore Cordileone, was not allowed to be seated for the Oct. 4 liturgy."
Wesolek thoroughly disagreed saying that Bishop Andrus was not refused seating nor intentionally detained; neither was he purposely dissed or snubbed in the ensuing confusion and breakdown in communication as the early stages of the archbishop's installation celebration was starting to get underway.
"No," Wesolek concluded. "He wants a fight."
Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to Virtue Online
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