Anne Hendershott and Christopher White, both regular contributors to Catholic World Report, explain to readers of USA Today why the fear-mongering over
the installation of Archbishop Cordileone in San Francisco misrepresents
the new archbishop and the teachings of the Catholic Church:
While most Catholics celebrate the arrival of the Most Rev.Salvatore Cordileone,
the new Archbishop of San Francisco, gay and lesbian Catholics have
protested his appointment. One of the leading proponents of Proposition
8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, Archbishop
Cordileone is viewed as the enemy by many within the gay community.
Earlier this week, The New York Times chronicled his arrival with the headline:
"San Francisco's New Archbishop Worries Gay Catholics." Calling the
Archbishop the "top anti-gay" in the Church, those interviewed for The
Times story are expecting the worst.
They shouldn't. Less than 20
years ago these same kinds of headlines warned of the same threats to
the gay Catholic community in San Francisco when Archbishop John Quinn's
tumultuous 18-year tenure came to an end. Archbishop Quinn who resigned under pressure early 10 years earlier than the proscribed age of 75 had long argued for decreased papal authority with more control granted to Bishops.
In reporting the news of Quinn's resignation in 1995, the San Francisco Chronicle warned:
"Archbishop of San Francisco to Resign/His Successor is a
Conservative." Cautioning Catholics that the Most Rev. William Levada,
then, a Portland prelate, was a "theological conservative," the Chronicle
published interviews with Catholic progressives who declared that
Archbishop Quinn was unhappy with the conservative choice to replace
But, progressive fears were unfounded. Archbishop Levada was supportive
of those within the Catholic community that struggle with same sex
attraction encouraging all Catholics to be faithful to the teachings
of the Catholic Church requiring that homosexual persons be treated with
"respect, compassion and sensitivity." And, although Archbishop Levada
later became the principal editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which reinforced Catholic teachings on what the Church views as
the "disordered nature of homosexual acts," he is fondly remembered in
San Francisco as one who treated gay men and lesbian women with respect,
while never compromising church teaching.
Read the entire piece on the USA Today website.