John M. Becker

Prominent Catholics Ask Pope to Fire Anti-Gay Archbishop

Filed By John M. Becker | April 16, 2015 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Catholic Church, dissent, gay marriage, marriage equality, pro-LGBT Catholics, Salvatore Cordileone, same-sex marriage, San Francisco

cordileone-march-for-marriage.jpgA group of more than 100 prominent San Francisco-area Catholics -- including major donors -- is calling on Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the head of the San Francisco Archdiocese and a notorious homophobe, saying his "single-issue agenda" against same-gender marriage fosters "an atmosphere of division and intolerance."

The group made the request in a full-page ad published in today's San Francisco Chronicle. The paper, which calls the move "unprecedented," reports:

The plea follows months of dissent within the archdiocese over Cordileone's emphasis on traditional, conservative church doctrine -- including asking high school teachers and staffers at Catholic schools to sign a morality clause that characterizes sex outside of marriage and homosexual relations as "gravely evil."

In their open letter to the pope, Cordileone's critics say his morality-clause push is mean-spirited and "sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization."

The ad drew swift condemnation from the archdiocese, which said those who signed it don't speak for San Francisco's Catholic community.

The list of signatories includes Brian Cahill, the retired executive director of Catholic Charities, former city commissioner and Boudin Bakery executive Lou Giraudo, retired Swinerton Builders Chairman David Grubb, businessman and former political consultant Clint Reilly and his wife, Janet, San Francisco attorney Michael Kelly, and Charles Geschke, chairman of Adobe Systems and former head of the University of San Francisco Board of Trustees. Also on the list is Tom Brady Sr., father of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady...

"It seems he is going in a direction that is completely opposite where Pope Francis is going and creating an atmosphere of complete intolerance," said Peninsula attorney Frank Pitre who, along with his wife, Diane, signed the letter. "Hopefully, this is going to get someone's attention.''

Nibbi Brothers construction executive Larry Nibbi, who also signed the letter, said the archbishop "is just causing a lot of discord, especially with the young people in the diocese."

"The crux of our worry is that the faithful are going to become very disenchanted and stop going to church because they don't like the message, and the message is not the way they lead their lives," Nibbi said.

More, after the break.

The open letter slams Cordileone for "[coercing] educators and staff in our Catholic high schools to accept a morality code which violates individual consciences as well as California labor laws." It accuses him of rejecting the counsel of his active and retired priests, threatening the future of the archdiocese with his obsessive fight against same-gender marriage, and ignoring Pope Francis's famous words, "who am I to judge."

francis-cordileone-full-page-ad.pngThe ad also says that Archbishop Cordileone installed a pastor at a local parish who "who marginalizes women's participation in the church by banning girls from altar service" and has "inexplicably distributed to elementary-school children an age-inappropriate and potentially abusive, sexually-oriented pamphlet." The Chronicle notes that the pamphlet in question asked kids whether they'd ever engaged in sodomy, masturbated, or had an abortion.

Archbishop Cordileone routinely plumbs the depths of hate-fueled homophobia. Widely known as the "Father of Proposition 8," he leads the U.S. Catholic bishops' unholy crusade against marriage equality, speaks at rallies organized by the virulently anti-gay National Organization for Marriage Discrimination, and has warned Catholics in sexually active same-sex relationships not to present themselves for Holy Communion.

In 2013 he slammed the Pentagon's decision to expand the range of benefits provided to same-sex spouses of active-duty military members, and the archdiocesan Facebook page posted a meme that literally mocked marriage equality... on Holy Thursday, one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar.

And this month, just days before the Supreme Court considers making marriage equality the law of the land, Archbishop Cordileone will travel to Washington, D.C. to attend NOM's "March for Marriage" event, which will implore the justices to reverse course and uphold discrimination instead.

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