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I Guess He Really Meant It

Ive been waiting to read that the newly-installed Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, has offered a warm and sincere apology to the Episcopal Bishop of San Francisco, Marc Andrus. But as of today, Im still waiting.Heres what happened, as far as published sources have revealed it. Andrus issued a letterto his own people, dated the first of October, stating that he looks forward to working with Cordileone on issues of common concern. He cited global development and immigration as especially pressing subjects on which they wouldjoin in makingcommon cause. He acknowledges their differences over Proposition 8 (gay marriage) and promises that his own stand will remain firm. In light of the obvious disquiet among some over Cordileones appointment, he reminds his people in closing to welcome as brothers and sisters any who might turn up on the doorstep of the Episcopal Church. I found his message charitable, sober, andhonest.Bishop Andrus had been invited to the installation, which was held on October 4 at 2:00. He was told that he must arrive by 1:45 in order to be seated. He arrived, by his own account, at 1:40, and waited, chatting with some Orthodox bishops. The Orthodoxwere led away, and he was told to remain waiting. Two oclock arrived and he was still waiting. It became evident to him that he was not going to be seated. He left. A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese claimed that Andrus arrived late, and was not seated so as to not disturb the ceremony. Andruss own account clearly denies this.The incident has been reported in the Huffington Post, CNN, the website of the Episcopal Church of San Francisco, US Catholic, NCR, and a number of news sources and blogs since that time. Conspicuous by its absence is any statement from Cordileone, clarifying the matter.Now, admittedly there were a lot of people at this event, and big events always include opportunities for underlings to flub things up. If the failure to seat Bishop Andrus was actually a snafu that happened at the installation,with no offenseintended, what would you expect to happen next? I would expect Cordileone to call up Andrus the very next day and say Im sorry; I regret this happened; please forgive this lapse of etiquette; it was all due to some confusion and truly it was not an intentional slight. I would then let the press know that we had made amends, and invite him to another public event soon, so that it could be seen that the Catholic leader of the Archdiocese of San Francisco respects leaders of other, long-established religious bodies. They are our dialogue partners and local collaborators in building the Kingdom, after all.But no. As of this writing there has been no word, no explanation from Cordileone. Nothing in the press or on anyone's blog that adds substantially to the story. In terms of the news cycle, that's a long time.Reluctantly, I am coming to believe that the slight must have been intentional.This is shameful, if so. Some have suggested that the letter Andrus wrote to the members of the Episcopal Church of his diocese caused offense to Cordileone and therefore it was right not to admit him. A more puerileargument can hardly be imagined. Andrus was an invited guest. He did not crash the party. If his letter was so egregious, he ought to have been asked not to come, rather than left standing at the door when he arrived.What sort of a leader has been appointed to the Catholic see of San Francisco? What sort of bishop cares so little for ecumenism and public relations that he would sit quiet while all this unfolds? On August 25, Cordileone was arrested in San Diego for driving under the influence of alcohol. He joked about it at his installation, in fact.A regrettable mistake he called it, and of course that is true. The incident with Bishop Andrus at the installation may go down in history as another instance of bad judgment.But there are also worse consequences imaginable here. It may be the beginning of the end of ecumenism in San Francisco. And that is more than regrettable.


Commenting Guidelines

You're right, Rita: even if it was a simple screwup, the failure to make any kind of amends is inexcusable. What would an apology cost? Surely nothing close to the potential cost of not apologizing.It seems like this happens over and over in the Catholic hierarchy: a bishop makes a mistake (or a member of his staff makes a mistake), and instead of simply admitting it -- saying something like "I'm sorry," "I reacted too quickly," "I misjudged the situation," or even "I can understand why people are upset, and I am working to make it right" -- he stands his ground and undermines his own credibility. I can think of several recent examples, and very few where a statement from the diocese actually struck the right note of humility and goodwill after the fact. There seems to be a widespread misconception that acknowledging false steps would undermine a bishop's authority. I would say the opposite is true.

I can't know whose side is telling the whole truth. However, if the Episcopal bishop felt not being seated by the start of the ceremony was payback from the archdiocese, he clearly recognizes that his letter's "backhanded welcome" was unbefitting. His own conscience made him walk out.

But then again, maybe the Episcopal bishop is purposefully blowing things out of proportion:

This is pretty entertaining as it is, but if they start anathematizing one another, I'll be in hog heaven.

Not to digress, but...It's been 33 days since a U.S. Catholic bishop was found guilty of failure to report possession of child pornography by one of his clerics.And he --- the bishop, that is --- is still in office!The "legacy" of JPII.Just like the new AB of San Francisco.Go figure.

"Puerile" is a good choice. The fact that this event is still noticeable five days later says as much about the people involved as the original happening, whatever it was.

Thomas, Sorry, but that Virtueonline report is extravagant and gives a completely distorted account. Read Bishop Andrus's own words. He doesn't sound "livid" to me. He is certainly not "spoiling for a fight." That's all made up. How can you recommend such irresponsible journalism?

I guess it depends on how one interprets things. Some people may have found Bishop Andrus' letter a little rude and insulting, while others just think it's polite and the restating that differences and disagreements exist.Likewise, some people think Vatican criticisms of the work of dissident theologians and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious are harsh and nasty while others think they are perfectly reasonable and corrective in tone.

Rita, I read Andrus' own words. I don't believe them. That's the problem with all the coverage of this incident -- everyone's reporting what Andrus said and not checking it out with anyone else, and they're laying the blame solely at the feet of Archbishop Cordileone. I think that by his silence it should be taken that the Archbishop believes the report of his people that they were waiting for an opportune moment to get Andrus up there and when they returned, he was gone. Why should the accusations of an Episcopal bishop be taken as gospel? Because it's character assassination against the Archbishop.

Is anyone able to find the entire press release that was issued by SF archdiocesan spokesperson, George Wesolek. In the link that Thomas provided, there was one thing that Wesolek was reported to have said that stood out to me: "He wants a fight." What I have read elsewhere, at a more reputable source -NCR- states that Wesolek actually said in this statement: "If he felt like because of the wait that was insulting to him, we certainly will apologize." ( Perhaps we can at least hope that Cordileone reached out and privately apologized to Andrus as this statement intimated might happen.

I am surprised so little was made of Cordileone's drunk driving arrest.

Here's a (traditionalist) Episcopalian site that outlines several plausible scenarios about what "really" happened in SF, some of them not very complimentary to Bishop Andrus.

I imagine that Eutyches and Eusebius, wherever they are, are clucking their tongues in impatience over the bloodlessness of this sort of fight. Kids these days...

Dan Cosacchi, I looked for the statement and couldn't find it, aside from what was in the NCR and AP reports. But that Virtue Online reporter claims to have spoken to Wesolek, the archdiocesan spokesperson ("'The procession was long, that's the key here,' Wesolek told VOL..."). If Wesolek really talked to them on the record, and if he really told them, regarding Andrus, "He wants a fight," that's an alarming indication of the bishop's office's priorities and approach to public relations.Let's assume the version of events that reflects best on everyone involved: Andrus's story is true; the archdiocese is also telling the truth; and somehow there was a communications screwup that resulted in Andrus being told the wrong arrival time, or misdirected when he arrived. It's still the case that Cordileone and his staff have failed to make the obvious goodwill apology that the situation calls for. Again, what is the cost to the archbishop of a public apology and gesture of friendship? What possible reason could there be not to offer one? You can be convinced Andrus is a publicity-seeking liar and still shake your head at how badly Cordileone has handled this situation.

Of mountains and molehills. I commend the Archbishop for not engaging lowering himself to engage in such a catty affair. Must be a slow news day in San Francisco.

From what I've read of the situation, I'm on Andrus' side. I read his letter and it wasn't insulting. But soon after it appeared, I saw some pretty huffy Catholic responses in the blogosphere, like at "First Thoughts". Then there was the ceremony in which he was stiffed. Then a sort of un-apology from one of Cordileone's minions, not Cordileone himself.What's not being mentioned muchm however, is the strangeness of Cordileone, one of the main suporters of Prop 8, being made archbishop of San Francisco, one of the most gay-friendly dioceses in the US. There has been a lot of concern about how things will change for places like Most Holy Redeemer Church, which does a lot of work with the gay community and people with AIDS ... San Franciscos New Archbishop Worries Gay Catholics

Could it be that this controversy is a textbook example of confirmation bias?"Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. For example, in reading about gun control, people usually prefer sources that affirm their existing attitudes. They also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position." ...from Wiki.

Mark Proska:The word catty is a pretty dismissive evaluation of a situation in which a religious leader is accused of lying and another seems to have washed his hands of the affair. But, I have more of a problem with Bishop Cordileones joke about his drunken driving arrest. I never heard anybody accuse God of putting persons in their place (aka, playing tricks on a person?) by causing them to be caught doing something illegal. The bishop did admit that he did not know if it is theologically correct to say that God makes himself known in this way. However, he is a spiritual leader, who is supposed to be teaching us how to form our consciences!

I guess Jesus took the wheel, Helen.

Abe Rosenzweig:Nah - Jesus wouldn't drink under the influence with his mother in the car.

If this incident is to "go down in history," as the post fears, and if it is to mark the beginning of the end of ecumenism in San Francisco, it's important to nail down the timeline as precisely as we can. To that end, here's another contribution from an Episcopalian site about this potential turning point in history:"Andrus states that he arrived in the correct place at the Cathedral at 1.40 p.m.while implying that he had to make his way around hordes of protesters between 1.30 and 1.40 [turns out that press reports indicate the gay activists were only able to muster some three dozen protesterspretty pathetic for San Francisco]. But 1.40 is rather late for a service in which he was to be seated processional style at the front of a massive building with more than 2000 attendees. Even a standard wedding service will seat the honored guests half an hour early. At the installation of an archbishop? Incredible to think that the honored guests were to be processed at 1.45."I didnt find an Order of Service for this installation, but a little googling turns up some other instances of processions for installations. Heres a description of the pre-events of the installation service for Archbishop Timothy Dolan. In it we find this, for a service starting at 2 p.m.:'At the April 15 Mass of Installation, a procession will begin at 1:30 p.m. with representatives of various groups, ministries and organizations of the archdiocese, as well as bishops, archbishops and cardinals. Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Dolan will be at the end of the procession.'

" causing them to be caught doing something illegal,"Helen,The Archbishop was simply applying the maxim that God/Divine Providence governs in the affairs of humankind, even the most illegal. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that a newly appointed Archbishop can get arrested without God's aid (to teach him a lesson)? I would imagine that is what the Archbishop was thinking, alluding to. It might not be your theology, but that's the Archbishop's faith which cannot be dishonest and which enters into the very depth of his conscience. Finally, I do agree with Mark Proska: it is "catty" -- almost as if Bishop Andrus feels he is getting the lesser share of attention in San Francisco. So he has to pounce on this to be more heeded in the media. Indeed, it must be a "slow news day in San Francisco."

Abp Cordileone is certainly off to a remarkable start.Joseph Jaglowicz: The event you mention has disappeared from the media, it is not to be seen anywhere on the diocesan website, and in fact Bp Finn's Lent 2007 pastoral letter on the dangers of pornography seems to also be absent from the page listing his letters and statements: the whole nightmare didn't really happen? Maybe if people don't talk about it, it'll just go away?In the meantime, right now that bishop has very little visibility on the website. He is keeping a very low profile. For example the invitation to a kickoff event for the year of faith comes from "the diocese", not from the bishop himself. The diocese might be effectively leader-less (which, come to think of it, might be better than the alternative!)

Two oclock arrived and he was still waiting. It became evident to him that he was not going to be seated. He left. He left. Of his own accord, by his own decision, he left. He wasn't turned away. He chose to leave. Even if he had been "dissed," his response was not to bear wrongs patiently, not to forgive, not to turn the other cheek, not to act with charity and presume that there had merely been some misunderstanding somewhere, but to turn his back and leave.

Correction:Abe Rosenzweig:Nah Jesus wouldnt drive under the influence with his mother in the car.

If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that a newly appointed Archbishop can get arrested without Gods aid (to teach him a lesson)? james chichetto,That explains the arrest. It doesn't explain the drunk driving. If I had a teenage son who was arrested for drunk driving and he joked about it, he would never get the car keys again. Tens of thousands of people a year are killed because of drink driving. It's no joke.

I'm with Abe (2:13pm). Remember the days of the Old Evangelization? The Eurozone ran red with blood for years over matters sometimes barely more important than this one. For a pro-lifer (ex officio) publicly to laugh off a DUI arrest suggests questionable values. The Archbishop begged forgiveness from family, friends, and co-workers but made no mention of the utter strangers driving along whose lives he may have been putting at risk. While the Archbishop was detained at the county jail, his mother took the car home. She hadn't been drinking and had a license. If only she had helped him out more at the installation, maybe the unfortunate contretemps under discussion might have been avoided.

There are a couple of problems with responding to this by saying that Andrus is just trying to make trouble and get attention for himself. One is that it fails to presume good faith on his part, which is a violation of charity. The other is that, despite great effort on the part of many internet commenters, Andrus's measured statements make it very hard to paint him as petulant and hysterical. He seems pretty in control of himself.But Patrick Malloy, for one, thinks it best to follow the example of some commenters elsewhere on the internet in not presuming good faith on the part of Andrus. Fine, then: let's say Andrus is lying, for some reason, about what he was told, and in fact it was his own lateness that caused the misunderstanding. Without any particular reason to believe it, let's just say that Andrus wants only to make the new RC bishop look bad and himself look persecuted. It is still the case that Cordileone can, and I would say obviously should, use this opportunity to extend a hand in friendship. It would cost him nothing and do much good. Why not do it?

Although I agree that an apology is probably warranted, I'm not much concerned about the impact on ecumenism. Ecumenism in San Francisco--as in most of the country I suspect--is sustained more by connections between congregations than by connections between bishops. It will survive this.

Patrick Malloy,The antipathy of traditionalist Episcopalians for their mainstream cousins is well known. Why do you quote their comments on this affair so glibly? Andrus reports what he was told to report no later than 1:45. If he was told this, whose fault is it? You seem convinced he is lying, and that the person on the traditionalist blog commenting behind a screen name is more trustworthy source. (Is it yourself, perhaps?) Bishops do lie, of course. But why should he lie about this? His story sounds plausible to me. One generally receives the program upon arrival, not in advance, and he was talking to people when he arrived, not reading the program.Guests at a wedding are much more likely to second-guess instructions about times and places than bishops are, because such events are rare. Bishops, on the other hand, are constantly going places as a guest of honor and appearing in processions. The secretary takes care of the schedule.

Peter Nixon,I am glad for your confidence in the future of ecumenism in San Francisco. I sincerely hope that Archbishop Cordileone, having started out on the wrong foot here in my estimation, does not continue in this way. Alas, bishops have been know to undermine the valuable work of congregations if they are not in sympathy with the project.

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly and Rita Ferrone - I nowhere said or implied that Bishop Andrus was lying.In my considered opinion there was a misunderstanding. It happens all the time. We have an anacronym for these incidents: SNAFU.It's not a turning point in history and there's no need to wax indignant.Just for the record, Rita Ferrone, I do not use a false screen name, though thanks for asking.

Mollie's point about public relations needs to be underlined."If Wesolek really talked to them on the record, and if he really told them, regarding Andrus, He wants a fight, thats an alarming indication of the bishops offices priorities and approach to public relations."This is maladroit and even unprofessional.

Andrus states that he spent some time before the installation began speaking to the Greek Metropolitan and some of his priests ..... if he was late, then so were they, but they were seated.

Helen--I agree, a certain amount of dismissiveness is conjured up by the word "catty." Which is precisely why I used it.

Crystal Watson, thanks for pointing out that the Episcopal bishop was chatting with some Orthodox bishops, the latter were led to the ceremony, and Andrus was left waiting. And not a peep from the SF chancery to alleviate any concerns, smooth feathers, etc.???Cordileone may be the official AB in The City, but his supposed leadership style, not to mention PR ability, are severely lacking. A fellow blogger recently noted (on a separate thread) two kinds of authority, and I looked up my old notes from a Management class I took many years ago. According to one source, there are 5 basic forms of power, ranging in effectiveness from Most to Least: referent (charismatic leader), expert, reward, coercive, and legitimate. Cordileone and guys like him may hold positions of legitimate leadership, but (as I used to note about managers who abused their authority) they would "lose coin" as a result of their behaviors. This is not good for any organization.Cordileone: another "legacy" of JPII.Sad.

The Mormon delegation got front seats and were not held in the basement. Take a look at retired A/B Quinn's pained pic in NCR. His 18 year reign held ecumenism as a high priority. I'll post 'the rest of the story' Friday when Catholic SF is published. Who will the Orthodox bishops who were 'on the spot' side with? It may be deja vu... all over again. Also "there is no slow news day in SF' as some have foolishly alleged . (-:

Helen, you're right to zero in on Mark's intentional use of the word "catty."It's a word he tends to like to employ to marginalize folks with whose views he disagrees. As we all know, the word tends to be gender-laden and quite specifically dismissive of females or males whom alpha males want to feminize.For previous discussions of Mark's use of the term, which illustrate that he knows perfectly well what he's doing in lobbing it into this conversation, see the following threads:

"It's no joke."David Nickol,Yes, the innocence of the intention abates nothing of his error of judgment. But God looks to our efforts, not to our successes. The Archbishop's intent and effort was to get his mother, the other cleric in the car, and himself home safely In redoubling his efforts to get them home safely, he under-estimated how much he had exceeded the legal limit (0.08%). Sincerity was in his power, but his judgment wasn't. He could count no success in that.I don't think he was joking about his error of judgment as about his elevation (to a high office) then descent into jail. Humor, a genial quality, is based on incongruity (i.e., a 600 pound woman waltzing in tiny high heels). What can be more incongruous (and humbling) than the Archbishop's senario?

Mark Proska, I understand drinking and driving and failing to apologize by the archbishop of San Francisco is a trivial matter to you. But I am reassured that you will not let that hold you back from your profound reverence for an unbridled free market and keep it constant on your adoration track.

james chichetto "The Archbishops intent and effort was to get his mother, the other cleric in the car, and himself home safely In redoubling his efforts to get them home safely, he under-estimated how much he had exceeded the legal limit (0.08%). Sincerity was in his power, but his judgment wasnt. He could count no success in that."How do you know that?"Humor, a genial quality, is based on incongruity (i.e., a 600 pound woman waltzing in tiny high heels). What can be more incongruous (and humbling) than the Archbishops senario?"What are you saying here? He was excusing his behavior (with humor?) and thus not taking responsibility for it.Would I go for Spiritual Direction to him? I don't think so.

Bill Mazzella--My dismissive reference was not to drunk driving, but to the hissy fit thrown by the "jilted" reverend, which I understood to be the main topic of this thread.

"don't think so."Helen,I am sure you wouldn't. You are obviously resentful of his humor. You think he makes light of his mistake. Maybe there is not enough repentance (coming from him) on account of the discrepancy between his mistake and the ideal behavior which is expected of a bishop elect (or of any citizen). Maybe you think he deceives himself? My reading is that the Archbishop hates the error of judgment, not merely the jail penalty, and, owing to his earlier comment (that God was humbling him), hates the mistake most because it has exposed to view God's chastising hand in the penalty. Should he joke about this? Someone once said, When a person has laid down her/his mistakes to the feet of God, she/he feels as though she had wings. Possibly the Archbishop's humor reflects his peace with the Lord, his repentance, giving him a "lift" (without literal wings) as well as a wachful eye. I hope so.

William Lindsey--Alpha male?

You might look for the "beginning of the end of ecumenism" a bit earlier, say, with the statement in Andrus' letter that "some Catholics may find themselves less at home with Salvatore Cordileones installation and they may come to The Episcopal Church."

Maybe Archbishop Niedermier said the same thing when Bishop Andrus was installed bishop.Maybe the former said: "Some Episcopalians may find themselves less at home with Andrus's installation and they may come to the Catholic Church." Did he?

Archbishop Cordileone's record on ecumenism according to his own P.R. office: visited Protestant minister Walter Hoye II who was jailed for trying to counsel pregnant women outside an abortion clinic.He signed the Manhattan Declaration in defense of the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty and calls Christians to hold to their convictions in those three areas. It was originally formulated and signed by Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders.He worked closely with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the very successful East Bay Interfaith Blood Drive that this year expanded to most of Northern California. He worked closely with various faiths for justice for workers while auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of San Diego and in 2008 he allied with evangelical Protestant and Mormon leaders to pass the pro-marriage Proposition 8.I also note that he "is very attentive to the nuances of the liturgy as worship"...

Insofar as "ecumenism" means working with people of other faiths on matters of common priority, it does not seem to be a problem for him. He apparently is good at joining forces with those who agree with him, at least according to his own representative.

james chichetto;Someone once said, When a person has laid down her/his mistakes to the feet of God, she/he feels as though she had wings. Possibly the Archbishops humor reflects his peace with the Lord, his repentance, giving him a lift (without literal wings) as well as a wachful eye."Who may I ask is the "someone" that you are quoting?You are correct that I am resentful (?) of his humor. Archbishop Cordileone has a special responsibility to teach by word and action and he has failed. This is not a time for humor or excuses.

But if "ecumenism" includes dialogue to work out differences and work towards greater unity, as the Vatican has tried to do with the Lefebvrists and may be trying to do with the Orthodox, that's not for him.