There Were T-Shirts??? Where’s Mine?!

I’ve been busy getting school started, sending kids off to college, etc., so I’ve been letting a lot of stories pass me by. I couldn’t let this one go by, however, without comment. It is a rather weird, long, and outdated story from Newsweek which half-heartedly attempts to pit Pope Francis against Archbishop Cordileone. It was almost schizophrenic, but probably more like a kid who got extra credit if he managed to pad his paper enough to get to 10 pages. I know for a fact Newsweek’s little project was started back in May or June, which might be why it’s reporting such old news, but wow! You could have left most of it out, because “been there, done that” BY EVERYONE ELSE! Lots of snipping, so go here for the whole thing:

Popes don’t have batting averages, their work resisting easy quantification: Souls Saved Per Mass, Doctrinal Clarifications Per Encyclical, that sort of thing. But one measure does seem especially telling about the tenure of Pope Francis, and it is the frequency with which his face and words appear on T-shirts. You can announce that Francis is your homeboy or ask, What would Francis do (i.e., WWFD)? Francis-themed T-shirts sport his thrilling response to a question about gays: “Who am I to judge?” There’s one depicting Francis in the style of Shepard Fairey’s famous poster for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, with “pope” replacing “hope.” There’s even an “Atheists for Pope Francis” T-shirt. The Beatles may have been bigger than Jesus Christ, but Pope Francis is bigger than the Beatles.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Pope Francis. That said, I think the liberals and the media like him, because he’s anyone but Pope Benedict. They certainly don’t like him because of his comments on “gender theory” or anything like that, but they seem quite willing to let comments on those things slide and cling to “Who am I to judge?”, which actually had nothing to do with gay marriage.

Let the snipping begin!

Others worried that the newly elected pope had been far too timid during the “dirty war” of his native Argentina, questioning his role in the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests. The New Yorker called him “an Argentine with a cloudy past.”

This is really just the liberal journalists hedging their bets. Can’t you just see the news rooms back then? “Well Bob, he’s a Jesuit and not a European, so we have every reason to hope he’s a liberal. Still, we really should plant some seeds of doubt in peoples’ minds, just in case he turns out to be conservative.”

He has shunned the resplendent vestments of his office, selecting a five-year-old Ford Focus for his vehicle and a modest guesthouse for his quarters; he has made entreaties to divorced Catholics and even suggested that it was not his place to judge gay ones; he has lamented global warming and income inequality, at times sounding like Bernie Sanders’s running mate.

Oh, yeah, the Pope is for abortion, euthanasia, and transgenderism, too. They’re twins! Seriously, come on, guys! Read the documents of the Church. Democrats aren’t wrong in ALL things, just most, and no, Pope Francis differs from them on way more thing than he agrees. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t love us all though!

And here’s where Newsweek really starts falling behind the times. If they were into current news at Newsweek, I would think they’d be focusing on Archbishop Chaput. Maybe they’re going with Newsyear now?

Lately, another Catholic prelate has been making news in the United States, for different reasons. His name is Salvatore J. Cordileone, and he presides over the archdiocese of San Francisco, home to 432,163 Catholics. Nobody in the Bay Area is wearing T-shirts emblazoned with his face.

Wait a darn minute!!! There were t-shirts??? Where’s mine??? I would totally wear one! In fact, the vast majority of my friends (except maybe those I went to Catholic high school with) would wear one, too. In fact, I may start selling them so I can afford a laptop that doesn’t freeze every few minutes!!!

Really, trying to insinuate nobody in the Bay Area loves Archbishop Cordileone would be way, way off base. Even people who disagree with him love him. People who aren’t even Catholic love him. My gosh! Get a grip Newsweek! I thought you were about news more than narrative?

In February, an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle deemed “unnecessary and offensive” his attempt to subject teachers at archdiocesan high schools to an antediluvian morality code that reached into their private lives.

Antediluvian? Nice word. Too bad you don’t know how to use it. I’m pretty sure that most of the Church documents were written after the time of Noah. In fact, a good chunk on sexuality has been written in the last 40 years. No, not antediluvian. Quite modern, really. It’s pretty much a simple morality code that is needed to counter the anti-morality folks who have been left to their own devices in San Francisco for too many years.

“This was done as a real insult to San Francisco,” a gay Catholic told me when I visited the city, which had been accustomed to archbishops who tempered their views on homosexuality with an awareness of the city’s history as a gay refuge.

And yet, it was not an insult to Our Lord and the Church he established. I guess that point might be wasted on Alexander Nazaryan from Newsweek. Methinks he misses the fact that the Catholic Church is not there to assuage San Francisco.

Cordileone has little use for such moderation, and he has paid a price. Whether marching against gay marriage in Washington, D.C., or telling Catholic schoolteachers in San Francisco that gay sex and masturbation are “gravely evil,” Cordileone has been as thoroughly demonized as Francis has been exalted. To hear some tell it, the two barely belong to the same church.

Yeah, he has been so thoroughly demonized that a Facebook page in support of him has more members than his “opposition,” and dozens more join every week (because I watch stuff like that). The demonization attempt has apparently failed with most of his flock.

In the first week of June, for example, the pope paid for dozens of indigent souls to travel from Rome to Northern Italy, to stand personal witness before the Shroud of Turin. Cordileone, meanwhile, was in Manhattan, making a transparent attack on Caitlyn Jenner, whose Vanity Fair cover had made news just days before. “The clear biological fact is that a human being is born either male or female,” he said, adding that the erosion of traditional marriage would result in “a reversion to the paganism of old, but with unique, postmodern variations on its themes, such as the practice of child sacrifice, the worship of feminine deities or the cult of priestesses.”

Well, there’s some selective reporting. Even San Francisco news outlets reported this little story: “Pope Francis Compares Transgender People To Nuclear Weapons In New Book” ( (I’d just like to point out that the improper use of capital letters was not mine! It’s the homeschool mom in me.)

So, Archbishop Cordileone espouses science, history and some Church teachings, and the Pope compares transgenderism to nuclear weapons, yet the media chooses to villainize just Archbishop Cordileone???

While Francis wants to attract new members to the church, doctrinal conservatives want a return to the Latin Mass and a more strident condemnation of non-procreative sexual behaviors.

Two words Newsweek – nuclear weapons!

Francis will make his first trip to the United States this fall, in what will surely prove a voyage rife with adulation; he will no doubt make many Catholics in the Bay Area wish their archbishop was the cuddly Jesuit, not the grim canon lawyer.

Grim? It’s very clear not much time has been spent with the Archbishop!

“Absolutely nothing the archbishop has said is inconsistent with what Pope Francis says and teaches,” says prominent Catholic observer George Weigel, “although it may be inconsistent with media fictions about the pope.”

AMEN, George Weigel! After pages of Newsweek telling us the Pope and the Archbishop are miles apart, they finally (accidentally?) start throwing a little truth in there! It was very little, however, because then they go on to tell some tall tales.

 Cordileone recently bathed the poor too. This past spring, a local CBS affiliate reported that the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, the seat of the San Franciscan archdiocese, had “installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways.”

I’m utterly shocked they didn’t claim that Cordileone noticed the homeless needed washing while he was personally washing the windows and trimming the bushes! For the umpteenth time, use some common sense! The Archbishop isn’t the one who maintains the property and makes such decisions.

Joy is not exactly what gay Catholics experienced upon learning that Cordileone would be their archbishop.

Now that would be true, but for others in the San Francisco Archdiocese, it was downright euphoria! Tears of joy were definitely shed by many of the SF faithful. Granted, the Oakland faithful were crying tears of sorrow, but they got a good bishop soon afterward.

Two years later, the “top anti-gay” is the top target of liberal Catholics in the Bay Area.

Uh, and we think this just started? He wasn’t liked by liberals when he was in San Diego or Oakland, either. Why? Because he wasn’t going to break with Church teachings to please the whiners.

In late April, opponents of Cordileone took an extraordinary measure, placing a full-page advertisement in the Chronicle

Newsweek! Is there ANYONE who hasn’t already reported on this already??? Somebody got to this party super late!

In a statement several pages in length responding both directly and not to questions I sent him, Cordileone told me that “the current situation is not an excuse for Christians to run and hide. Christians are called to be ‘salt and light’ and the church is required to be engaged in society. She may not withdraw.”

And this, my friends, is why we love him so!

 Vatican II was the church of Peter and Paul preparing to enter the world of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Clearly Alexander is a Beatles fan, because this is reference number two. I’m snipping his Church “history” since Vatican II.

Salvatore Cordileone’s Catholicism matured in the church of John Paul II. He studied canon law in Rome but eventually returned to his native Southern California. During the 1990s, he was pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Calexico, on the Mexican border. He was known as Father Sam, wore a beard and appears to have been widely liked.” In a 2009 interview, Cordileone recalled how he would jog along the Mexican border, watching day laborers waiting for a bus to take them into the United States. He spoke about holding an annual Mass “for the undocumented migrants living in the canyons north of San Diego and working in the flower fields.”

But then “Father Sam” became the “Father of Prop 8,” the anti-gay marriage measure that made him a hero and villain.

I’m not sure if this reporter actually realizes it, but he’s pointing out what we’ve been pointing out all along. Archbishop Cordileone is a good man who is being vilified for remaining faithful to the teachings of the Church.

“Prop 8 elevated Cordileone’s stature in the Holy See of Benedict XVI, who had once called homosexuality an “intrinsic moral evil.” Cordileone would use similar language—“gravely evil”

Wrong! Pope Benedict and Archbishop Cordileone didn’t come up with this out of the blue. The Church calls homosexual acts intrinsically evil. Must we go over that again?

“Pope Francis isn’t asking us to change the timeless teachings of the Gospel,” Cordileone told me. “On the contrary, he wants us to be bold in proclaiming them.” This is a diplomatic way of pointing to the disconnect between how some in the secular world see Francis and how the clergy itself has absorbed his bifurcated papal persona.

To nonbelievers, he is a renegade who will soon ordain female priests and fly a rainbow flag from Vatican spires. To more perspicacious observers, he is a skilled custodian of Catholicism’s image who is acutely aware of how his words and deeds will play beyond the Vatican’s ramparts. If he is vastly superior to Cordileone in any single regard, it is that of public relations.

In other words, the Archbishop is speaking the truth!

Nancy Pelosi, the liberal congresswoman from San Francisco, warned Cordileone in a letter that the March for Marriage would be “venom disguised as virtue.” He went anyway.

It always cracks me up that Nancy Pelosi and her ilk think she has any influence on faithful Catholics. Mrs. Pelosi, you are idiocy disguised as a congresswoman.

This past winter, the archbishop took on the allegedly lax morality plaguing Catholic schools,

Wait! Is anyone really under the impression that the Catholic schools in the San Francisco Archdiocese are the bastion of Catholic morality??? There’s no “allegedly” about it. There’s been lax morality all over the diocese for a LONG time!

[I]ntroducing new language into the faculty and staff handbook for the four archdiocesan high schools in San Francisco and Marin County under his direct control. The first draft of the new handbook included more than a dozen “affirm and believe” statements, many of which focused on sex:

[We] reject direct, intentional abortion and recognize that any well-formed conscience always rejects direct, intentional abortion; we are not “pro-choice”

[We] affirm that chaste living necessarily requires abstinence from all sexual intimacy outside of marriage

We accept the Church’s teaching that all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.

Everyone within the Catholic schools would be “expected to arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths.” The new handbook counseled its subjects to “refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true.”

This raised obvious, troubling questions. Would a teacher at a Catholic high school who posted on Facebook about his wife’s successful fertility treatments be subject to discipline? What about a female teacher who tweeted about the blissed-out weekend she spent with her girlfriend in Point Reyes?

Blissed-out weekend? I would hope she’d be fired just for using that term! Maybe, just maybe, it might be nice if teachers (and really, everyone else) kept their immoral private lives private. I think we’ve been saying this all along! And yes, ladies and gents, homosexual relations are immoral according to Church teachings. Surprise!

“Our schools are not seminaries,” complains Sal Curcio, who was raised in the Catholic Church in the Bronx and now teaches religion at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. “Teachers are starting to feel like they have to decide between conscience and paycheck.”

No, Sal. “Our schools” are not seminaries. If you have to decide between your conscience and your paycheck, that’s your issue. The Archbishop is doing his job. How about you do the one you were hired to do, which is to teach the kids Catholicism and not contradict those teachings in public? If you didn’t know that, you might want to crack open Canon Law every once in a while.  It does govern the Catholic Church and all.

And yet they were not mollified, convinced that Cordileone had only hidden his sword behind his back. “He is a cultural warrior in the extreme,” said a retired religion teacher, Jim McGarry. He added that Cordileone “doesn’t represent the tradition; the tradition is much richer than that.”

Hello! They’ll never be mollified. They want complete approval of their lifestyles, and they will try to take anyone down who tells them “no.”  And who are you, Jim, to decide what represents tradition in the Catholic Church?  Sadly, this is the muck we hear from the religion teachers and the reason why we needed a “morality clause.”

As if rehashing of this old news wasn’t bad enough, we’re now going to move onto Star of the Sea, Fr. Driscoll, and Fr. Illo. At this point, rather than spill an ocean of ink myself, I will refer you to my archives:

“Illo has other supporters.”

Yes, he has MANY of them, which is why Star of the Sea is thriving and reached their Bishop’s Appeal quota in a matter of weeks, while the liberal parishes of the diocese still struggle to do so. He’s also raised money to put in an adoration chapel which drives the liberals NUTS! They are just downright afraid of what adoration of the Blessed Sacrament might do for the San Francisco Archdiocese. It’s like sprinkling the devil with holy water. I have little doubt Star of the Sea and her wonderful priests will continue to be attacked, because some folks are just really predictable.

Among them is the Reverend Joseph D. Fessio, an avuncular Jesuit who vociferously defends Catholic doctrine against liberal encroachments.

Is it just me or did somebody get a thesaurus for his birthday?

Liberal Catholics have two options: They can rationalize away some of the church’s sexual morality codes while tuning out others, finding some scrappy foothold on the rock of faith. Or they can leave.

Why do we only have two options? How about the one where they study the Faith, embrace it, make a good confession, and move on? Nobody has to be terminally liberal, and that’s what it is: terminal. Instead, they can embrace the perennial teachings of Christ’s Church and have everlasting life!

Skipping over the USF crony part other than noting that he at least calls the media on their portrayal of “liberal Francis”. There was at least truth with that.

He has done virtually nothing to change the policies of the church to match his more compassionate rhetoric.

Apostasy, though, is not quite as easy as switching your gym membership. Some will remain with the church of their youth, even if its doctrine sometimes feels like a personal affront. I met with the group Dignity SF, an organization of LGBT Catholics, and asked how they could remain part of a faith that seems to loathe them. In response, one of the four men gathered (he asked me not to use his name) read from the writings of a Catholic scholar: “Above the pope as an expression of the binding claim of church authority stands one’s own conscience, which has to be obeyed first of all, if need be against the demands of church authority.”

Umm, can you quote that Church teaching on the primacy of conscience to us? You might want to read it in its entirety rather than the bumper sticker edition. Primacy of conscience has a formula to it that they are missing.

Those words were written in 1968 by Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict and gay-marriage opponent; the “primacy of conscience” argument, as it is known, is often used by gay Catholics to reconcile their faith with the explicit homophobia of the Vatican. Critics, however, charge that the words are being taken out of context.

Right, because they are! Now here’s how easy it is. This link is for you, Dignity SF: Now, do you have a link you can post that supports YOUR interpretation?

Appeals to conscience have also been deployed by doctrinal conservatives who fear Francis is a renegade straying from his flock. Cardinal Burke, often regarded as the most vociferous conservative prelate in the American church, has said he would “resist” any attempts by Francis to liberalize Catholic doctrine on social issues. “The pope does not have the power to change teaching, doctrine,” Burke said.

Holy smokes! Really?! First, Cardinal Burke has rightly formed his conscience around Church teaching. If only Dignity SF would do the same. Next, seems rather lame to report on a situation not likely to happen. “Imagine If” is a fun board game, but it has nothing to do with reality.

Archbishop Cordileone has served food at the Wednesday night dinners. He knows the church is home to gay Catholics, yet everyone I spoke to said he takes great pleasure in the event.

His visits to MHR are hints of a persona more complex than that of the self-righteous homophobe. Another hint was his willingness to meet with gay Catholic groups while in Washington for the March for Marriage last year. “May more bishops follow his lead in personally learning more about Catholic LGBT people and advocates,” wrote New Ways Executive Director Francis DeBernardo. He was not talking about Pope Francis.

Sure, let’s bury these down at the bottom!

Cordileone told me he has learned about the power of “personal encounter.… When you get to know someone on a human level, see that they are human just like you and have similar struggles and the same deepest yearnings, you cannot hate them.” He added, “Most people benefit from hindsight, and I’m certainly one of them.”

Wouldn’t it be totally awesome if the Archbishop’s detractors would take this approach, too?  Might be nice if you also heeded this advice, Mr. Nazaryan, before you call someone grim.

Back to Pope Francis:

Others, though, were less impressed by the decree of clemency. “The supposedly radical change in the Vatican’s approach to abortion is being dramatically overblown in the press,” wrote the traditionalist Notre Dame theology professor John C. Cavidini in the New York Daily News. Cavidini argued that “the change proposed here is pastoral in nature, not doctrinal. It is intended to emphasize that the Church is an agent of mercy, primarily, and not an agent of condemnation.” Abortion remains a sin, it is just that sinners will have a slightly easier time achieving absolution.

More truth!

Certainly, the liberal Catholics of San Francisco would welcome an archbishop in the mold of the current pope.

Mmmm…probably not so much.

But how serious, really, is Francis about discarding the more hidebound elements of Catholic doctrine? Will he ordain female priests? Will he welcome gays? Is his gentle touch merely a personal affect, or does it portend a more significant shift within the Vatican?

In order: he’s not (it’s not possible); he won’t (it’s not possible); we all welcome “gays”; and probably just a personal affect, but only time would tell.

This pope is a superb communicator.

I’m not so sure I totally agree with that, but I don’t think he has an intent contrary to doctrine.

He winks at his two disparate constituencies, like a politician hoping to win votes in the liberal cities with one message and the conservative hinterlands with another. Both sides are made to feel that they are getting the real Francis.

…or maybe he’s trying different ways to bolster the faith of all?

Cordileone, conversely, can be grating, offensive, flat-footed and righteous in the most elemental sense. He knows what God wants from him, and it isn’t flattering headlines.

Worst. Summation. Ever. It’s like he didn’t actually pay attention to some of what he wrote. He did nail the last sentence, though. If only more of our prelates did the same! #cardinalcordileone

3 thoughts on “There Were T-Shirts??? Where’s Mine?!

  1. I’ve been wanting to comment but after reading the Newsweek article in its entirety I have been sputtering so badly that I can’t form the words. Of course it started to lose me at the point where it claimed that Vatican II mandated that the priest face the people. No, sorry Newsweak, it has never been mandated that the priest face away from God.

    Anyway, it’s obvious that the author has never spoken to Archbishop Cordileone in person. Even in edited interviews he has not appeared to be “grating, offensive, flat-footed and righteous in the most elemental sense”.

    Thanks for commenting on this over-long hit piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was very disjointed. I’m reasonably sure my 12 year-old could have done better. I think what happened was that the guy started the piece a long time ago and then the editor through the Pope at him too so he just did a combo piece that didn’t work as such.

    I would have loved to have commented more but it was so dang long. I just had to snip some.


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