The Worst Archbishop Ever?

When Bishop Salvatore Cordileone was named the next Archbishop of San Francisco—a move that will take him across the Bay from Oakland—liberals became unhinged. They insisted that Cordileone was an arch-conservative! A culture warrior! A radical (but not in the way San Franciscans find endearing)! His appointment was perceived as a stick-in-the-eye to the famously progressive City by the Bay. One local newspaper called him, believe it or not, “The worst archbishop ever.

So just how “bad” is Archbishop Cordileone? Here’s a recent story from the San Francisco Chronicle about San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer parish, “arguably the largest gay parish in the nation.” This snippet should give you an idea of what some San Franciscans see as the Archbishop-designate’s deep-seated backwardness:

When the archdiocese refused to allow drag queens to serve as emcees for charity events at the church’s community hall, it fed rampant paranoia about antigay sentiment. The decision was initially blamed on incoming Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage who has been championed by extreme conservative Catholic groups. Some read the drag-queen ban as a calculated slap in the face.

What kind of regressive kill-joy nixes the parish drag queens? A face-slapping radical like Salvatore Cordileone, that’s who!

Now, just so we’re clear, the Archbishop-designate is radical—and he wants the rest of us to be radical, too—just not in the way some of the nervous parishioners of Most Holy Redeemer might think.

Here’s Cordileone in his own words, taken from the homily of his installation Mass as Bishop of Oakland in 2009:

Christ is the answer. Let us draw near to him, and abide in him, so that we will not be tossed about by the waves of deception and swept along by the teachings of destructive imposters. This means that we must claim Jesus Christ as our only ruler; it means that we place ourselves completely under his dominion. Let there be no doubt: if, as his Church, we are to be his faithful bride, it means that Jesus Christ must have dominion over every aspect of our life.

Christian discipleship demands of us everything. We all are asked to abandon the sins to which we cling, to die to sin, to pick up our cross and follow Him. While some undoubtedly carry heavier crosses than others, the brokenness of our fallen nature extends equally to people with same-sex attraction as it does to anyone else. In this one regard—sin—no one is special.

Photo: Archbishop-designate Salvatore J. Cordileone. We could use more radicals like him.

Yet Christ marks us as His very own. He lays claim to us—to our every desire, hope, aspiration, and longing—indeed, to our very being. He does this so that, having died with Him in baptism, we might also rise with Him. He transforms us, renews us, remakes us, until, like St. Paul, we might say, “It is not I that live, but Christ who lives in me.”

All because He loves us.

Such is the profound conversion of true, radical discipleship and the freedom of complete abandonment in Christ. Such is the “narrow way” that leads inevitably to Calvary, but it is also our “easy burden” and the path to everlasting life. He came to show us this way. For this He was born; for this He suffered; for this He died. To this He calls us all, and to accomplish this, He inundates the world with his grace and sends the Holy Spirit. His is, truly, our Most Holy Redeemer.

All because He loves us.

Now, considering the gratuity of His love and the magnitude of our vocation—our unimaginably, infinitely, cosmically radical vocation—is it really too much to ask, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that we stop with the drag-queen shows? I’m sure your new Archbishop would appreciate it.

After all, he loves you.

Stephen P. White is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC and coordinator of the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society. The views expressed here are his own.


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  • Bob Smyth

    I’m not sure of the terminology for the supposedly celibate. Was the priest he got smashed with before his recent drunken driving arrest his priest-friend or just a priest who is a friend?

  • Tony

    I just hope that the good Lord will take this archbishop to heaven ASAP.

  • cowboy

    Unless the new archbishop immediately excommunicates Nancy Pelosi and forbids her by issuance of restraining order against setting foot on church property he is nothing but a phony parading as a Sheppard of the flock. Like wise for all the other anti Christ perverts. Actions alone count. talking is just blather, simply bull manure hitting the trail.

  • Diane

    Archbishop Cordileone is right and thank God we have him. About the drag queens raising so much money? So what. Money isn’t first anyway, the truth is. God bless the Archbishop as he defends and promotes the truth. He’s one of the Holy Spirits handpicked Bishops for sure.

  • Mart

    Romans 1

    God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

    18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

  • MGM

    Jesus Christ did not come to show up that He was God. He was just among us, loving us, wanting a relationship with us to last a lifetime, showing us how to live our life through eternity, correcting/guiding us of that which might separate Him away from us. HE did not mention anything about “DO COMPROMISE” during His time on earth or anything like that in the bible. He ask only 12 followers, NOT all the community. He never told those 12 to compromise.

    A bishop is standing in persona Christi so should he not compromise, go along with the current of the day. He should speak the truth and stick with the truth. It is not about attendance, its about obediance.



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