Archdiocesan Spokesman Explains Bishop Andrus SNAFU

A follow up to my blog post yesterday re: Episcopalian Bishop Andrus’ allegedly being snubbed at Archbishop Cordileone’s installation Mass following Bishop Andrus’ criticisms of Archbishop Cordileone and the Catholic Church: CNN posted a story about the installation and Bishop Marc Andrus’ non-participation.

According to CNN, asked about what happened Archdiocesan spokeman George Wesolek said, “We would never exclude an invited guest and collaborator on certain issues of importance to the whole community.”

“Bishop Andrus, our guest, arrived before the 2 p.m. start, but after the interfaith delegation was seated in the front pews of the Cathedral. He was asked to wait in the conference rooms below the Cathedral which was the staging area for the 40 bishops, 2 Cardinals and some 250 priests.”

“A staff member was trying to determine how and when to seat him in a way that was appropriate and would not cause any disruption. When they came to get him and seat him, he had left.”

“There was never any intention to exclude the Bishop. We are expressing our apologies to him for the obvious misunderstanding.”

There you have it. The official explanation is that it was a SNAFU. Given all the hustle and bustle of things, including protests and lots of episcopal types, it’s completely plausible. How you square the details with Bishop Andrus’ account is another matter. (Perhaps Bishop Andrus’ final version doesn’t reflect the most primitive form of his summary. Perhaps its final form has been redacted by the Q community or at least colored by its interests.)

From my perspective, it’s a net good thing that Bishop Andrus wasn’t there–although it would have been bad form simply not to let him in, after having already invited him. The best scenario, as I see it, would have been a letter the day before to the effect, “In light of your recent statements critical of the Catholic Church as ‘oppressive’, we do not want to place you in a situation in which you might feel as if you were contributing to the suppression of people’s rights by publicly participating in Archbishop Cordileone’s installation Mass. Furthermore, we want to avoid confusing the Catholic faithful regarding the seriousness with which the Catholic Church takes collective Christian witness on matters of grave importance to our society, such as the right to life of innocent, unborn children and natural marriage. Consequently, we think it best for all concerned that you not attend …”.

But that’s me. I understand that others might think such a response would generate more problems than it solves. In any case, we are moving rapidly toward a period in which the utmost ecumenical frankness will be necessary.

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About Mark Brumley 64 Articles
Mark Brumley is president and CEO of Ignatius Press.