Friday, November 23, 2012

Father Geoff Farrow on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's "Meteoric Rise" in American Hierarchy: Aiming for Red Hat as He Targets Gays

More Catholics-in-the-news news:

At his blog site recently, Father Geoff Farrow offers valuable analysis of the "meteoric rise" of San Francisco's new archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in the American Catholic hierarchy.  Father Geoff notes that Cordileone "has arrived with more baggage than San Franciso International airport can handle."  He comes to San Francisco as the self-avowed "father of prop 8," who helped write and finance the legislation that removed the right of civil marriage from gay citizens of the state, whom he has stated that he regards as in league with the devil.

And he comes to his new plum episcopal see with strong ties to his Roman "mentor" Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is, in the view of many Vatican observers, chiefly responsible for Cordileone's  rapid ascent within the American hierarchy.

And here's specifically why Benedict has placed Cordileone in San Francisco, Father Geoff concludes:

Cordileone has had a meteoric rise within the hierarchy from his position as auxiliary (assistant) bishop of San Diego, fueled by the suffering of LGBT people. He was rewarded for his central role in promoting Prop 8 with a promotion to diocesan bishop [CEO] of Oakland. Now Benedict XVI has strategically placed him as archbishop of San Francisco. This is no accident San Francisco is perceived as the heart of the LGBT movement in America and Benedict has sent Cordileone to strike at the heart of our struggle for civil rights, because this pope knows that if the U.S. embraces full civil rights for LGBT people that the world will follow. He is desperately trying to stop that from happening and Cordileone’s past performance promises success in turning back the clock. 

Speaking as someone who knows how church politics work from the inside (and a priest who has spent most of his clerical career in California), Father Geoff suggests that Cordileone is using his new archbishopric as a stepping stone to a red hat.  He'll certainly keep up the attacks on gay and lesbian people in his new position, Father Geoff thinks, since those are integral to his preferment as Burke's boy in the American hierarchy.  And he'll try to lobby the Supreme Court, as he already indicates he's doing, to influence any judicial decisions at that level about gay rights.

What can San Francisco Catholics and others who care about the fate of their LGBT brothers and sisters do about any of this, Father Geoff asks?  His suggestion: let elected officials, newspaper editors, and online networking sites hear your assessment of what Cordileone represents and is seeking to do.

The photo of Cordileone's installation ceremony is by Dennis Callahan for CNS.

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