My experience at the installation of Archbishop Cordileone

Bishop Marc Andrus has issued this statement on his bishop’s blog:

A post to clarify my experience at the installation of Archbishop Cordileone at St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco.

I was dropped off at the cathedral at 1:30PM by my assistant. After making my way around protestors and showing my invitation to security guards, I was in the lower level area to which I was directed by 1:40.

The instructions the Archdiocese had given my assistant were that I should be at St. Mary’s by 1:45. The service was scheduled to begin at 2.

I identified myself to an assistant to the archbishop, who spoke to someone through a headset, saying, “Bishop Andrus is here.”

I saw the Greek Metropolitan, a good colleague of mine, who was in the same room with me, several Greek Orthodox priests, archdiocesan employees and security guards. I greeted the metropolitan and we spoke briefly.

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. 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.

My intention for attending the installation was to honor our ecumenical and interfaith relations in the Bay Area.

Oct 5, 2012 12:39:03 AM (Pacific)

See our previous post UPDATED, again: Bishop Marc Andrus denied seating at Catholic archbishop’s installation.

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  1. John B. Chilton

    @Rod, just to be clear: Bishop Andrus above is responding to that AP report in which the RC spokesperson says Andrus was late, was going to worked into the seating and left before that happened.

    Andrus says in the quote above that he was not late, he was there when he was told to be, he was with the other ecumenical guests and filed out with them only to be stopped and that he did not leave the holding room until the service had begun.

    The ball is in the RC spokesperson’s court. And the archbishop’s for that matter.

  2. Bill Dilworth

    Maybe at this point they could use a mediator. Maybe the Greek Metroplitan?

  3. Erik Campano

    “I think I understand, and I feel I should leave.”

    This is ambiguous. “Understand” what?

    Wherefore assume the “understanding” here is that the Archdiocese suddenly gave orders to exclude Bp. Andrus? There are a hundred other interpretations of the scene.

    (P.S. Maybe I’m too Yankee for S.F. church politics, but how about just directly asking?: “Hey, it’s 2 o’clock. Can I go upstairs now? … because I’d really like to go celebrate.”)

    Erik Campano

    P.S. Now let us wait for the Archdiocese’s explanation, and pray that it’s honest and conciliatory.

  4. Jim Naughton

    I trust Bishop Andrus’ account, and I think he is capable of drawing accurate inferences from this and the other situations that he encounters in his daily life.

  5. Bonnie Spivey

    I think, along with Jim, that we can trust Bishop Andrus’ account.

    And, the insult from Bishop Codileone was so petty and pathetic that we know Bishop Andrus has already risen above that.

  6. Erik Campano

    I trust him, too, Jim. And you’re right, of course, he is capable of drawing accurate inferences in daily life. In fact, he probably wouldn’t keep bringing up this issue if there wasn’t a strong case that the accurate inference here is that the Archdiocese excluded him. And you may have more details that we don’t.

    However, I also trust, for now, the Archdiocese’s account. It would be ridiculously bad strategy for the RC church to let the situation play out in the way that Bp. Andrus describes, with the inferences that he makes. Invite someone, and then literally not let them through the door? Am I missing something, or does that just sound incredibly weird?

    What also seems strange is that this story arrives in the form of a press release and an AP article about “interfaith tensions about the marriage issue”. The last thing we need are more tension. Did TEC try to work this out privately with RC officials before going to the press? After the event, was there no attempt at some constructive interfaith communication… perhaps even a joint public statement?

    Matthew 18:15, people.

    Erik Campano

  7. Rod Gillis

    Tks John, I appreciate your clarification; but the article form Kansas City reports on the pre-existing political controversy and context. Reading this from the outside, I was asking myself, what else is going on here?

    In my opinion, the report adds context. Note e.g.,below.

    “Meanwhile, interfaith tensions over the marriage issue threatened to mar the Cordileone’s day. The Rev. Marc Andrus, the Episcopal bishop for Northern California and a strong same-sex marriage supporter, reported that he was snubbed when he showed up for the cathedral service, which came three days after Andrus had written an open letter offering a spiritual home to any Catholics who felt disowned by the archbishop’s views.”

  8. Sean McConnell

    There are indeed many local aspects of this story, and some that reach well beyond San Francisco. I have some personal experience with one of Cordelione’s predecessors and with the political involvements of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

    To the article that Rod Gillis mentions, George Wesolek, the PR director for the Archdiocese learned some valuable lessons during the child sexual abuse scandal about how to shift blame, although he misstepped on this one, because there are others who can easily corroborate +Andrus’ experience.

    Beyond that, the Archdiocese has long been considered an important see in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and it has proven to be a reward to men of a certain political, theological and ecclesial perspective, and a launching pad to the Vatican.

    +Bill Swing’s old golf buddy, Cardinal Levada, who recently retired his post as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (where he had served closely with Ratzinger when he held the position) has continued to hold very strict sway over the see. Suffice it to say that Cordelione’s role in crafting California’s Prop 8, and his ability to persuade LDS leadership in Salt Lake City to pay the Prop 8 freight has been highly regarded and rewarded.

    Another Levada gem: Anglicanorum coetibus which allowed schismatic Anglican (and Episcopal Church) laity and clergy to come under the authority of an RC ordinary. That Bull cannot be overlooked here, as some are saying that Andrus was snubbed because he has invited LGBT and other disaffected RCs to come to the Episcopal Church. This has been expressed publicly by many Episcopal priests in California, and is not new. We live in a strongly Roman Catholic area and an area where lesbian and gay women and men have found supportive community. That clash has led some RC priests to seek reception in the Episcopal Church.

    Along with the Vatican’s reward comes some expectation.

    As the US Council of Catholic Bishops continues to claim that there is an erosion of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment (which PR man Wesolek trumpets as his cause celebre), there is work to be done to frame political and social causes as attacks on religious rights. An obvious example is the reaction to the Obama Administration’s requirement that birth control be included in insurance companies formularies.

    In the conference, Cordelione serves as chair of the subcommittee for the defense of marriage. The signal from the Vatican in this appointment should not be overlooked.

    Although I have no direct proof of it, it would not be beyond the pale to presume that certain expectations were expressed to Cordelione at the time of his appointment. A clear distance at the beginning between the Archdiocese and its detractors would simply be good strategy.

    It is clear that Cordelione is going to draw clear lines, as he has already stated publicly that supporters of same-sex marriage should not receive communion in RC churches. The lines have been clearly drawn in the Castro Neighborhood’s Most Holy Redeemer Church (search for that in the NY Times), and it seems only natural that those clear lines would extend to ecumenical relationships.

  9. IT

    I’m glad that Sean mentioned the ordinariate because despite the spin placed on Bishop Andrus’s remarks, they are nothing unusual. People swim the Tiber or the Thames regularly.

    I hope that this raises the profile of TEC amongst those RC who are not happy with being excommunicated or with the “Father of Prop8” being sent to lead their ARchdiocese.

    In my experience, most RC are unaware of how close they are to the Episcopal church in core beliefs and in practice, and this may encourage them to find out more. That would be a lovely irony, don’t you think?

    The FoJ take here:

    Susan Forsburg

  10. revsusan

    File this under “Makes the Heart Sad” … and add it to the list of things that are shocking but not surprising.

    Thanks to Bishop Marc — first for being willing to show up and then for being willing to speak up.

    Susan Russell

    Diocese of Los Angeles

  11. Helpful to read this and I’m still feeling sad and disappointed.

  12. hls

    The public nature of this is what makes me a little crazy. No matter what the differences are between religious leaders, who was snubbed when and where, this conversation and the mainstream and religious media attention it’s getting only tells the world that we can’t treat one another in a civil manner.

    News Flash: In the midst of a contentious state-wide referendum on marriage equality, an Episcopal bishop sits down in a university auditorium with his counterparts from the Roman Catholic, UCC, and United Methodist churches for a conversation about civil discourse on same sex marriage. They discuss how faith leaders can talk respectfully in the public square about an issue where there is disagreement. At the end, they each talk about where they found common ground and what they have learned from and about one another.

    That’s not a sunny hypothetical scenario. That happened in Maine on September 20. It got some good coverage in Maine, but I guess it’s not very interesting to the rest of the world.

    You can watch the whole thing here.

    Heidi Shott

  13. Jim Naughton

    Heidi, thanks for bringing this to our attention again. It is great that Bishop Lane and these other clergy had a civil exchange, but the only reason Maine is in the midst of this campaign is that the Roman Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and the National Organization for Marriage ran a sleazy and dishonest campagin (so acknowledged by the man who ran it) to overturn marriage equality the first time around. This was the campaign in which NOM advocated trying to turn the black and Hispanic communities against the LGBT community, and children against their LGBT parents.

    I think our side responded civily to this sleaziness and got our asses kicked. When that happens, it isn’t well meaning straight people who can keep up friendly relationships with all of their neighbors wo pay the price.

    So I am not as clear as you are on the virtue of treating bullies civilly. I think there are situations in which you need to call them what they are and present a better alternative. I applaud Bishop Lane for what he is doing and Bishops Andrus and Beckwith, both of whom have recently drawn very clear distinctions between our church and the Roman Catholic Church on LGBT issues, for what they are doing.

  14. E Sinkula


    It is of public nature because it was a public event and everyone knew this Bishop should have been present there. All Andrus+ did was say what happened. It was the PR people that tried to cover it up, so why should he not clarify that they were speaking untruths? I applaud and respect Bishop Marc for being honest.


  15. Ellen Lincourt

    Look, this is not the first time the TEC has experienced what could best be described as the RC one-way-street of ecumnenicalism. But we will continue to stick our hands out and try to reach across the divide because as Christians that what we are called upon to do. I am glad to hear from Bishop Andrus. Everyone can draw their own conclusions.

  16. I have no doubt that Bishop Marc’s explanation is accurate. Had I been in his position, detained until after the mass had started, I would have understood that I was not welcome, and I would have left.

    If the usher or whoever did not want to create a disturbance during the service, why wait till after the mass starts to seat +Marc?

    June Butler

  17. Sean McConnell

    Heidi, I don’t see how this implicates Andrus or the Diocese of California or The Episcopal Church in this incivility.

  18. Sean McConnell

    This from the Archdiocese’s Facebook page:

    “First, we apologize to Bishop Andrus, and meant no disrespect to him or the Episcopal Church. He was an invited guest to the Installation, and we regret any misunderstandings that occurred. Bishop Andrus was part of the Interfaith Procession, which had been seated as one of the first groups invited to the Installation near the front of Cathedral. He was brought into a waiting area, and the Cathedral Staff were waiting for the best moment to usher him into his assigned seating without disrupting the proceedings. However when the staff returned to bring Bishop Andrus to his seat, as indicated in his blog, the Bishop had already left. Again we sincerely offer our apology to Bishop Andrus for this unfortunate incident, and look forward to working him, and with the rest of the ecumenical interfaith community in helping to re-build and restore the House of God.”

  19. E Sinkula

    Personally I do not buy this explanation from the Archdiocese’s FB page, but do hope the apology and statement that they “look forward to working him, and with the rest of the ecumenical interfaith community in helping to re-build and restore the House of God” is the truth.

    Ugh. I am so done with the Catholic Church.


  20. Ellen Lincourt

    Well, it appears that they have stopped saying Bishop Andrus arrived late.

  21. tgflux

    It would be ridiculously bad strategy for the RC church to let the situation play out in the way that Bp. Andrus describes, with the inferences that he makes. Invite someone, and then literally not let them through the door? Am I missing something, or does that just sound incredibly weird?

    Ask the folks in the Rainbow Stole mvt, or the prominent RC (forget his name) who publically endorsed Obama in 2008 and was denied holy communion, or the growing number of gay RCs who have been denied communion because knowledge of their marriage became public, or the recent priest who was chastized because (paper reported) he read the Scriptures at his cousin’s same-sex wedding or… (etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum).

    The saddest part of this story is how utterly UNremarkable it is. Kyrie eleison.

    JC Fisher

  22. Clint Davis

    Good Lord, there’s not enough perfume in the world that they can spray on this skunk. Maybe the Catholic faithful will run this guy out of San Francisco like they ran that guy out of Seattle…was it last year?

  23. Rod Gillis

    I find Sean McConnell’s post very informative.

  24. Peter Pearson

    This is indeed sad. Love them anyway.

  25. I am sorry this incident occurred in whatever way it went, and pray that these differences in faith and Church approach, even belief about homosexuality and marriage won’t cause a rift with the Roman Catholic Church by the Episcopal Church in San Francisco’s Bay Area. The event is regretable for all parties. I am an Episcopalian who lives in San Francisco’s Bay Area.

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