A news story was released recently about a group of San Francisco Catholics petitioning to have Archbishop Cordileone ousted for creating “an atmosphere of division and intolerance”. You can read one of the covers of that story HERE for details. What I want to focus on are some of the complaints against the Archbishop.
He is accused of setting “a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization”. Evidence cited to support this is a morality clause that defines extra-marital sex and homosexual acts as “gravely evil”. The problem with the complaint, though, is that the Church has ALWAYS taught about grave evils, their dangers, the need to warn and rebuke our brothers about them, and that these specific acts are such (cff. 1Jn 1:19, 5:16; James 5:13-16, 19; Lev 19:17; Mt 7:5, 18:15-17; 1Cor 5:1-13; Gal 6:1-2; Lev 20:13; Rom 1:27; 1Cor 6:9-10; MT 5:28; etc.). Is it “persecution” to warn people about the gravity of certain sins? No. It’s an act of mercy to point out the sins so that people can avoid committing them, especially when we have media outlets, the entertainment industry, and LGBT advocacy groups trying to normalize sinful behaviors.
Another complaint is that he appointed a Priest at a particular parish who “marginalizes women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service”. Well, what is “altar service” for? Is serving at the altar the ONLY means by which a woman can participate in the Church? No. Women participate in the Church in various ways, just like men do. So, why not as altar servers? Perhaps this Priest recognizes that the purpose of having altar servers is to train future Priests. Since women cannot be Priests, it makes sense that being an altar server would be a task for boys, in this Priest's view. Does this mean that women can’t be lectors, or extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, or greeters, or take up the gifts, or pass the collection basket, or serve the poor in the community, or pray for people, or actively participate in the Mass with prayerful attention and focus on Christ at the altar? Nope.
This same Priest [picked by Cordileone] was also accused of passing around a “pamphlet about sexuality that asked whether [children] had masturbated, engaged in sodomy or undergone an abortion”. That sounds pretty serious on the surface, but first read the pamphlet and see if you see anything in there that’s inappropriate (aside from calling sin “sin”). Here’s the “pamphlet” that was distributed:
We Catholics call it an “Examination of Conscience” or a “Primer to Confession”.
Cordileone is accused of singling out same-sex “marriage” as a sole agenda item. I don’t doubt that he spends a great deal of time and effort combating this serious moral issue of our day. The news is seemingly infatuated with the topic and the LGBT advocacy groups are as vocal as ever about it. So it makes sense that the Church would be putting much focus here. But I have a hunch that it’s not the only item on his agenda. The Archbishop is charged with shepherding Christ’s Flock, and that involves a great deal…including fraternal correction and teaching right from wrong, good from evil.
One “accusation” I actually found humorous was that Cordileone “is going in a direction that is completely opposite where Pope Francis is going”. If this group of Catholics really believes that Francis is heading in a direction of subjective morality, indifference to sin, and tolerance of sinful lifestyles, then they have simply not been paying attention. Sure, the media has portrayed Francis in this way sometimes; but what the media says vs. what the Pope actually says are often two very different stories. The Pops still recognizes sin as “sin” and still teaches us that, while loving the sinner, we must not indulge in sin. That’s the Pope’s message, and it’s Cordileone’s message, and it is the message of the Church for 2,000 years and counting.
Jesus Christ gave us His Church to teach us about Him, preach His Gospel, and lead us to an eternity with Him, where sin cannot enter. We have this life to learn to avoid sin and to become “holy as [Christ] is holy”…“perfect as [God, our Father] is perfect”. Archbishop Cordileone is doing his part to help us find Christ and live a life according to God’s commands. That’s not being “intolerant”; that’s being a loving example of Christ and a servant to the children of God.